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Learning the way of the Sausage

September 20, 2013 | Cooking, Preserving | 11 comments | Author:

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Sausage making. It’s something I’ve wanted to learn to do for simply ages.  I secretly dream of a parallel life where my main gig is crafting incredible sausages and charcuterie…

Maybe one day. In the meantime, it’s time to learn the way of the sausage, from scratch. 

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Recently we needed to reduce our small sheep flock. There’s been no rain this winter, and our small flock have rotated through all the pastures we have available.

The solution: lamb and mutton sausage time.

The end of winter is possibly the most non-ideal time to butcher sheep. They’ve just come through a winter on meagre pasture, and there’s little fat on them. But for sausages, that doesn’t matter so much.

And making the most of what we’ve got in each season is how we roll around here.

Happily we had the amazing chefery of Danni Soper to direct the sausage making process. Which we kindof made up as we went along. It was the first sausage-making session for all involved.

First dedicated sausage-making session, that is. We’d made blood sausages during our full nose-to-tail pig butchering session last Summer. But if you’ve ever made blood sausages, you’ll know that’s quite a different affair.

So. Sausage technique.

The tricks include: keep the meat cold, add interesting and delightful flavourings, and get on with it, or it will go on forever.

And wine. Do not forget the wine…

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Danni chose the flavours, and we did two batches: date and pistachio, and caramelised onion, almond meal and fig.

The skins we used came from our local butcher – cleaned pig intestines. We also got some synthetic (but apparently ‘natural’) skins that were thinner, but we didn’t like those much.

Regarding the fat content, we added some of Rose’s lardo (cured belly fat from our pigs) to one batch, and winged it with the other. Both turned out fabulously.

I think the secret with sausage making is to experiment, and keep trying them, until you discover what makes the perfect sausage for you.

It’s not very tricky once you have the basic bits (mince, flavours, skins, sausage maker). You can do small batches of different types. It’s all very fluid, and you learn quickly.

Perhaps the best bit with fresh sausages is that you get to cook and eat them straight up (or freeze them for later), unlike the ‘gosh i hope we did that right’ waiting factor of charcuterie like salami and all the rest.

In short, if you’re interested in skilling up in making tasty, wholesome meat products, I rekon you should start with a sausage day.

It’s fun, the results are delicious, and it’s a gateway to the delightful lands of home-cured meats, that lie beyond.

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Sausage-making resources that we found helpful:

There now seem to be a bazillion sausage-making books in addition to the above.

But seriously, just grab the basic ingredients and equipment, organise some friends and some wine, and give it a go.  The way of the Sausage will come to you too.

>> More posts about home-made edible goodness

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Hooray for Danni Soper, the most relaxed pescitarian chef ever. Also thanks our sheep for providing the sustenance, to Ormiston Free Range for the lend of their sausage maker, and to Perry Street Meats in Mudgee  for hanging our lambs for a week,  and being generally lovely butchers. 



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11 COMMENTS


  • Alacoque September 20, 2013 at 8:05 am | Reply

    I love it when making the food is as just a communal affair as eating it. Would love to get a group of friends around to attempt this.


  • wade neumann September 20, 2013 at 9:44 am | Reply

    And how easy is the butchering when it’s all going into sausages?!! It’s our “go-to” when we have an extra carcass on the hook and limited freezer space.
    Do you like the book above – a recommendation on any others kirsten??


  • R September 20, 2013 at 10:30 am | Reply

    I love that you thank the sheep. Good work.


  • ourhomesteaddream September 23, 2013 at 7:24 am | Reply

    I litterally just spend a day yesterday with my friends learning how to butcher chickens and it was a fun experience(Not killing the chickens but learning a life skill and feeling like I was doing something worthwhile). I really want to try making sausage. Maybe if I get some male goats from the next breeding I might try to make some chevron sausage if that exists? I love sausages!


  • rabidlittlehippy September 23, 2013 at 8:43 am | Reply

    Ourhmesteaddream, I think if you can envision chevron sausages then they exist! And thanks for the idea. We have a goat whom we are hoping to breed in a fortnight (she lost premature twins in early August) and we plan to keep any doe kids for future breeding but the boys I was stuck.
    Kirsten, I love your respect for your animals. I too thank our chickens when they are culled as does my husband who does the actual deed. I also love that you make the most from what they provide. Not sure how I’d go with blood sausages but I adore the concept. Again, a continued inspiration, thank you.


  • Anthony September 24, 2013 at 7:31 am | Reply

    My experience with goat sausages is that goats tend not to carry enough fat to make good sausages by themselves. You may need to acquire some pig fat to add. I have tried to make really lean sausages from both goat and kangaroo, but they ended up like rubber.


    1. milkwoodkirsten September 24, 2013 at 7:36 am | Reply

      mmm goat rubber. Yeah good fat content seems to be a key factor…


  • Will Barton September 25, 2013 at 10:43 am | Reply

    I can give you a bit of advice for goats that I’ve learnt through my very limited career making vension sausages.

    The venison (harvested from the wilds of Victoria’s high country) is incredibly lean; through the cuts there is virtually no fat. The beast was also male, albeit young, so the meat was not as tender as it otherwise could have been. Along with the usual cuts – backstrap, rump etc, we minced a lot because of the damage to the front quarter from the bullet.

    To overcome the lack of fat in the venison we added pig fat (you can use shoulder as it has a high fat content but you need more of it per kilo of venison/goat). I can’t tell you the ratio because we kept adding it through until it felt about right and you’d probably have to do the same for the goat because it will vary in its own fat content from deer.

    Unfortunately I missed it this year, but Griffith (NSW) have an annual sausage festival that I imagine would be a valuable experience for anyone keen on delving into the dark arts of making delicious sausage morsels.


    1. milkwoodkirsten September 25, 2013 at 10:52 am | Reply

      Excellent – thanks Will!


  • nallekarhu September 30, 2013 at 7:18 pm | Reply

    Reblogged this on Nallekarhun blog.


  • El November 16, 2013 at 5:48 pm | Reply

    Is this sausage for cold storage, or preserved sausage for room temp storage? Would either of the books mentioned tell me how to preserve meats for room temp storage without added ‘chemical’ preservatives. Are the techniques suitable for subtropical and tropical climates? My grandparents and inlaws talk about ham and bacon that you hung from the rafters (in Brisbane and south west Qld), but it probably had nitrate added (saltpeter). I am happy to buy books etc. but I don’t want to buy 10 books and find I don’t have the info I am after. Also, if you get around to trying meat in the pressure canner it will be great to hear the results.
    All the best. El



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