dude food :: episode 5 :: sausage party

This time on Dude Food, I’ll show you how to make your own Italian sausage at home. The basics for making this sausage are the same for almost all sausages – you season chunks of meat and fat, grind it, then stuff it into hog casings. It’s that simple, and the variation between different types of sausages relies on the types of meat used and the seasonings.

To purchase sausage making equipment and supplies, visit sausagemaker.com or butcher-packer.com

And I can’t recommend the purchase of “Charcuterie” by Michael Ruhlman enough. When it comes to Dude Food, it’s the bible.

NOTES:
• Make sure you cook some of the finished sausage before stuffing. This recipe goes light on salt, so you might want to add more. Just be careful not to over-salt. You can always add it, but over-salting is hard to recover from.

• Soak the hog casings for at least 2 hours. The longer they’re in water, the more pliable they become, and it makes it easier to get the casing over the stuffing tube.

• Keep your workspace clean. Clean everything that comes in contact with the meat and the casings. This includes your workspace (counters, cutting boards, etc.). And wash your hands a lot.

• It’s important to keep the meat between 35-40 degrees when grinding and mixing. Otherwise, the texture of the sausage will become mealy. Heat is not your friend, so keep the meat cold at all times.

• If you don’t want to invest in a grinder, you can ask your butcher to grind the pork shoulder and pork fat for you, as long as the meat being ground is near freezing. You made friends with your butcher, right? If not, go buy that man a beer.

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13 Comments

  1. Once again, you impress me with your commitment and dedication. I love fresh homemade Italian sausage, but could never imagine going to the amount of work. I do however have some good recipes for you once it is made… :-)

    • Thanks as always, Bob. Wanna talk about commitment and dedication – your show, every week. I can’t keep up with that kind of schedule. That’s what I admire.

      Bring on the recipes. I’ve been making sausage all month, dude. Curing a grind of beef short ribs for hot dogs tomorrow. My first run at hot dogs.

  2. Was I supposed to get all hot and bothered watching this?! (I hope the MPAA doesn’t catch wind of that opening! ) Great post, Phil. So cool to watch the whole process especially because I’ve never tried it but I want to. Thanks for all the tips, links. I have one of those hand meat grinders just like the old Italian grandmas! But I’ll probably get the attachment for my Kitchen Aid. By the way I LOVE sausage and peppers! Bravo.

    • Thanks for taking the time to watch, Charles. Any time you want to get your hands dirty making sausage, let me know and I’ll come down and we’ll do it together. It’s a lot of fun, and stuffing is the easiest part, once you get those casings over the stuffing tube.

  3. Whew… and I’m spent… best Saturday night I’ve had in a while. If only I could get some homemade sausage and fried eggs in the morning.

    Another great episode Phil!

    • Thanks for watching and commenting, Adri. And thanks for having a sense of humor about it too. :-)

  4. Oh baby YES YES YES!

    OK so a few questions:
    1) What wine did you use? which wine would you suggest? would it be across the board for sweet or hot sausage?
    2) You showed rolling the sausage into links and then go to the stove to cook a single link but how do you cut the links so they don’t open up?
    3) I need to find a decent butcher where I just moved. I also need a stuffer.. uhh heh he he stuffer.

    Your opening scene is hands down the most disturbing yet the greatest and funniest I have ever seen on a cooking show. This is why I watch Dude Food, you’re not afraid to be a dude for TV err internet TV

    • Duly noted, Spoon. I’ll add it to the show notes. These are all good questions.

      1) I use whatever wine I have open. When it comes to red wine, I prefer Pinot Noir or meritage/bourdeaux blends that tend to be fruit forward. Whether making sweet or hot sausage, I’d use the same wine. You could even use white wine if that was all you had. Or skip the wine if you don’t want it in your sausage. It is YOUR sausage, after all.

      2) I obviously didn’t wind the sausages enough in the video, as you see. Some of them came un-rolled. Usually, it’s a good idea to roll them 8-10 times per link. One thing I did fail to mention (and will include in the notes section) is that you need to let the sausages sit at room temperature for about an hour or so, covered. This allows that casing to dry a little. This makes it easy to snip the links and start cooking them.

      Usually, I wouldn’t make sausage and start cooking it immediately. I’ll let it sit in the refrigerator for a day or so before I start tapping into it. Gives the sausage time to set, and for the casings to dry up enough to keep the ends from bursting open.

      I am by no means a sausage master, but you don’t have to be to make good sausage at home. Simply follow some simple rules (like keeping that meat near frozen when working with it so you don’t break the emulsification of the meat and fat while mixing) and you’ll be just fine. Just remember to season lightly, and taste before you stuff. You can always add. It’s impossible to take it out.

      • Don’t kid yourself, you’re a sausage master :) you LOVE the sausage.

  5. oh dude, you made me lose my shit at work! well done, sir sausage.

    This took me back because I believe the first or second episode of the podcast was the ol’ sausage party episode. finally we get the see the sausage in action! Oh!

    Ruhlman’s “Carcuterie” is a true classics. It should be in every serious kitchen.
    Dude Food is totally hitting its stride. Cheers, Phil!

    • Nik, you truly have been listening from the beginning. I wondered if anyone would call me out on using that title twice. I’m truly honored that you caught that.

      Email your address to me at phil [at] mylifeasafoodie.com — I’m going to send you a special treat, my friend. That was a great thing to read.

      Glad you got a good laugh. Thanks for having a sense of humor, and for your continued support of the podcast and videos.

  6. Hi Phil,

    What stuffer do you use? Also, do you like it? I am debating on which one to get and the cost of these things seem very high compared to other kitchen appliances.

    • Hey Chris

      Here’s a link to the stuffer I’m using:

      http://www.sausagemaker.com/51200sausagestuffercastiron3lb.aspx

      As you can tell in the video, it stuffs sausages damned quick if you really press on it. I slowed it down for the obvious reasons (wouldn’t have been funny if it just shot sausage out). The larger stand stuffers are total beasts, and I’d buy one in a heartbeat if I were making sausage in large bulk.

      If you own a KitchenAid Stand Mixer, I highly recommend the grinder attachment. It does a pretty respectable job grinding meat. It’s not the greatest grinder option, but it’ll do – especially for the money, and the fact that you don’t have to grind it yourself.

      But by all means, stay the hell away from the “sausage stuffer” attachment that accompanies this thing. I can’t tell you how many hours of my life I’d like to have back trying to stuff sausage with that thing. It works, but it’s like pushing molasses up a hill.

      Good luck, and thanks for your support of Dude Food.


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