A Food & Travel Blog

Sausage making 101

Food, Producers | 13/06/2011 | By

 

Tonight for dinner, we’ll be having sausages and mash.  Not just any sausages, mind you, but beautifully tasty sausages made with nothing but fresh, free-range Berkshire pork and seasonings – no fillers, cereals or preservatives.  And do you know how I can be so very sure of this?  Because I made them myself!  Much to my excitement,  Richard Gunner, of Feast Fine Foods, was kind enough to invite me to one of his first sausage making classes recently, which he is holding in the Central Market Kitchen, in Adelaide.   As a result of requests from many of his customers, Richard has introduced a range of classes for the avid home butcher.  The classes  include both pork and lamb butchery classes, which are both proving very popular, but it was the sausage making class that caught my eye.   The classes are held in small groups and there is no room for slackers – this is a total hand-on experience, with loads of scope for plenty of personal creative expression.

Unlike many of the cooking and food demonstration classes I have attended, this one was particularly “bloke heavy”, with the boys outnumbering the girls 8/5 – a fact not lost on one who has a husband who is notoriously difficult to buy gifts for.   A voucher for one of these classes would make the perfect gift for the man in anyone’s life and the boys in our group were completely engaged right from the very beginning.

Course mince on the left, finer on the right

The class starts with an introduction to some basic knife techniques, especially the art of sharpening a knife and keeping it that way – imperative for safely working with  large joints of  raw meat.  This was followed by a demonstration by Steve, the butcher,  of how to bone the shoulder of Berkshire pork which we were to use.  He then proceeded to put the meat through the mincer, showing us the two different textures used for sausage making.  For the traditional “paste” sausage that we generally see wrapped in bread at barbeques the mince is put through twice, to give it a smooth consistency, while the meat for the more textured gourmet sausage is only put through once.

There followed detailed conversation about the optimum fat to meat ratio and the desirability of some fats over others.  The pork we were using had the perfect amount of fat, so no more was added but for leaner meats added fat is necessary and I was surprised to learn that this can be either animal fat, including chicken fat and skin, or coconut cream!  The issue of seasoning was then addressed and it came as no surprise to learn that Feast sausages are flavoured as naturally as possible with salt, herbs and spices.

As Steve mixed the meat, salt, spice mix and iced water together to make the sausage filling, Richard filled us in on the various sausage skin options available and the desirability of one over another, before  introducing us to the business end of the evening – the sausage filling machine.  The wet skins (we used sheep gut) is concertinaed up over the nozzle at one end, the meat mixture is pushed in at the other and clamped down with a plate, then a crank is turned steadily to feed the mix into the tube of skin.  This is where the real “hands-on” aspect of the evening began as we all took a turn – with varying degrees of initial success, but much laughter.

 

 

This is how the pro's do it

At this point we were divided up into groups of three or four to begin work on our own sausage creations and instructed to come up with our own blend of flavours. If you attend a daytime class, you are able to go through the market and make your own selections but, as mine was an evening class, there was a dizzying selection of fresh products, spices, herbs and nuts provided.  There were a few things there that came as a surprise to me and my companions and I quickly scooped up some fresh pears, fresh ginger and some unexpected bottles of pear nectar and made off with them to our corner of the kitchen.

Sleeves were rolled up, gloves donned and we got busy weighing salt, iced water, chopping, mixing and tasting, with one eye on the rest of the class.  Some seemed to get over-excited, putting as many flavours into their mix as they could manage, while others clearly gave it a lot of thought.  The group of blokes next to us impressed with their blend of orange (juice and rind), pistachios and dates – my favourite next to our own pear and ginger combination.

Mixing ...

 

Stuffing...

 

Filling!

The final challenge to rise to was the linking of the snags which wasn’t as easy as it first looks, but was eventually mastered.

 

As the sausages were completed Richard ran around and grabbed one of each of our snags and fried them up so we could all have a taste and compare our efforts and, for first-timers, I think we all did quite well.  There was clearly some pretty serious interest from some of the participants in making this more than a once only experience.  All one needs to mince up meat is a good stand mixer with the correct attachment, or the old fashioned table-clamped kind and Richard will gladly help out by sourcing the skins and a sausage filler for those who are keen to expand their skills at home.

These classes are perfect for those who are eager to take the next step towards taking control of their food, or just to satisfy some curiosity about how our food gets to us.  Richard and his staff are helpful, informative and generous with their skills and knowledge and work hard to make sure everyone get the most out of what is a great class.  And the best part – no one goes home empty-handed.  We all toddled out of there bearing two kilo’s of sausages we had made ourselves, plus a bag of Feast’s fantastic pork and fennel sausages – brilliant value for an entertaining evening.

Feast Fine Foods next sausage making class will be held at the Market Kitchen on July 13 at 1.00 pm.  Check here for details or call your local store.

 

Lambs’ Ears and Honey was a guest of Richard Gunner and Feast Fine Foods.

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Comments

  1. Alissa @ Not Just Apples
    13/06/2011

    I’ve always wanted to make my own sausages – now we’ve got a meat mincer, so we’re one step there :)

  2. The Food Sage
    13/06/2011

    Well, you’ve certainly set a high bar there – making your own snags! I thought i was good for making my own sage & onion gravy. Go girl!

  3. cityhippyfarmgirl
    13/06/2011

    Now that would be fun! That would be oodles of fun. Love the sounds of your pear and ginger combination too. Do you think you will make them again?

  4. Cakelaw
    13/06/2011

    How cool that you made your own sausages! I have never done this, and I am a little wary of mincers after watching Masterchef this evening. Great job!

  5. Amanda
    13/06/2011

    Alissa – if you’ve got the mincer you’re half way there!
    Food Sage – the gravy sounds like the perfect accompaniment.
    Brydie – I’d be reluctant to try to stuff the skins without the proper kit, but it really was a great blend.
    Cakelaw – missed Masterchef, what on earth happened??

  6. nesta finch
    14/06/2011

    what a grand adventure. I’m impressed that you got to experiment with flavourings and additions. Did you learn how to do that clever linking thing?

  7. Amanda
    14/06/2011

    Nesta – I did, indeed. But don’t ask me to repeat the feat, because I doubt I’d remember how to do it.

  8. Helen Paige
    14/06/2011

    Ah..fond memories…

    My father owned a butcher shop, so helping dad make sausages was not necessarily seen as a ‘treat’ – but good fun nevertheless. We also (unfortunately had to help dad clean the skins!) and trim the meat for the sausages, as well as mix, and turn the sausage machine to fill the sausages. Dad was pretty quick with the ‘linking’ as you can imagine. He was very proud of his sausages – and he had people travelling all over the country to buy them! He used to entertain the kids by pressing the sausages and squeaking like a chicken…well they laughed anyway! , Dad was a real entertainer! Helen

  9. Kate
    14/06/2011

    I am sure it was great but I just could not handle and touch that mince.

  10. Mandy - The Complete Cook Book
    14/06/2011

    Oh what a fun evening out and you are clearly a natural – your sausages are perfect. I agree, a gift voucher for one of these classes is ideal for a man.
    :-) Mandy

  11. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    15/06/2011

    Making sausages sure is fun :) I actually made some in the Barossa Valley recently at Moorooroo Park! So much fun and tasty too.

  12. Maria @ Scandifoodie
    15/06/2011

    I think that is so fantastic. If you’re going to eat meat then you might as well do it properly! ;-)

  13. Anna Johnston
    15/06/2011

    Now that does sound fun, and what an awesome present, great tip Amanda, I’ll keep that in mind for the blokes in my life….., fingers crossed that someone in The Berra is teaching this fun sport too huh.

  14. Joanna
    16/06/2011

    Brian would love to do that course! And I would love to sample the results – maybe I should find a sausage making course as a present for him like Anna says above. He was very happy using his mincer the other day… links next ;)

  15. Amanda
    16/06/2011

    Helen – I expect that linking would not be the mystery to you that it as to me.
    Kate – we wore gloves, so it wasn’t too “hands on”.
    Lorraine – it was a fun evening.
    Maria – It is a good way to get closer to the source of your food.
    Mandy, Anna & Joanna – I was instantly struck by how much the blokes enjoyed this – it really does seem to be a great gift idea for any food-inclined men in your life.

  16. sarah @ For the Love of Food
    16/06/2011

    Thanks Amanda! It’s my partner’s birthday this weekend and I was really stumped for what to buy him. I have just now purchased the lamb butchery class thanks to your article.

  17. Amanda
    16/06/2011

    Sarah – Great! I’ll be interested to see how he enjoys it.

  18. Kitchen Butterfly
    24/06/2011

    Star, star, star….this would be one of the highlights of my culinary journey – casing sausages! I made merguez (lamb) sausages last week, uncased…so I don’t consider them real ‘sausages’.

    I love the flavours – pear and ginger sounds heavenly. Is that you in the photo? Gorgeous!

  19. Amanda
    24/06/2011

    No – not me. A more photogenic classmate.

  20. Jenn Brigole
    25/06/2011

    Wow! I don’t have that much knowledge about sausages and that mix of orange, pistachios and dates is quite an intrigue for me. But am sure you had a lot fun and learned quite a lot during these lessons. Let us know if you make another blend of your own. :)

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