How Sausage and Laws are Made


“The less the people know about how sausage and laws are made, the better they sleep at night.” – Otto von Bismarck

Beautiful ground pork, from a pig that was walking around this morning.

We carnivores generally love sausage. After all, it consists of delicious pork, and nothing but pork, in a convenient, tubular form, and its spices and seasonings are usually more complex or interesting than, say, a plain hot dog. Originally, meat was made into sausages then hanged and dried in order to preserve it for the winter. But now that electricity and refrigeration are available in most of the world, we can make sausage for the pure enjoyment of it.

Natural hog casing is essential to good sausage.

Before I started making my own sausage — about a year ago — I always viewed the process as some sort of mysterious, apocalyptic secret that only veteran German butchers knew. And while I am still certainly not going to win any sausage-making contests, I have learned that making your own, homemade sausage is a very enjoyable process that is not as hard as you might imagine. The following recipe makes 10 kilograms (about 22 pounds) of delicious garlic sausage. If you have an interest in this art, you might want to invest in a good-quality manual sausage stuffing machine, which can be found relatively cheaply. Also, you can have your butcher grind your pork for you, but if you want to be involved from pig to plate, you can buy a manual or electric grinder online.

A good but inexpensive sausage stuffer is easy to find.

* Electric or manual meat grinder. Optionally, you can have your butcher grind the pork for you in advance. Grinding it yourself makes it all the more homemade and special though.
* Manual sausage stuffer. These can be found relatively cheap.

Seasoning and spices.

* 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of fresh pork from the back leg, with about a 20% fat to meat ratio. Lean pork does not work well in sausage. Any good butcher can do this for you. If you want to grind it yourself, ask the butcher to cut it into cubes for you. If not, ask him to grind it once.
* One large bunch of fresh hog intestine casing. This will probably come salted. Ask your butcher where to find it: he will probably have it himself.
* 1 cup of salt.
* 1 1/2 cups of freshly-ground black peppercorns.
* 1 1/2 cups of freshly-ground coriander seeds.
* 1 tablespoon of freshly-ground, dried red chili peppers.
* About 20 cloves of fresh, minced garlic.
* 1-2 cups of water.
* Soak the casing in cold water for a few minutes, then remove the water, refill it, and do this about three times to get rid of the excess salt on the casing.

1. Mix the salt, pepper, coriander, chili peppers, and garlic in a bowl and set it aside.
2. If you are grinding your own pork, make sure it is very cold (but not frozen), and grind it once.
3. Mix the seasonings thoroughly into the ground pork, continuing to make sure that the pork stays very cold, but not frozen.
4. Add the water to the meat and mix it in thoroughly.
5. Making sure the meat is cold and the casing good and moist, stuff the meat into the casing using the stuffing machine. Be careful and slow, and when each segment (link) reaches about six inches or so, pinch the casing to create another link.
5. Once the pork is stuffed into the casing, twist the individual links so as to seal them off from one another.
6. Refrigerate the sausage overnight to allow the flavors to mingle.
7. When you are ready to cook them, just grill them like you would any other meat, and enjoy these savory, delicious sausages with maybe a little English stone-ground mustard.

Pure porcine beauty,

I admit that this process is not always easy or simple, but believe me that it is worth the trouble. These sausages are delicious, flavorful, and beautiful. And the best part is that you have made them all from scratch, with your own two hands. Have a barbecue (a cookout in my native New Orleans lingo) and invite your friends. Pair the sausages with a strong IPA ale, and you will enjoy a very special culinary experience.