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.
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…
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.
Sausage-making resources that we found helpful:
- Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing by Michael Ruhlman is great for all things sausage-like
- Preserving The Italian Way by Pietro Demaio is also fabulous (and Australian)
- The Book of the Sausage by Anthony and Araminta Hippesley-Cox is a gem, but out of print
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.
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.