Homemade Sausage: What You Need to Make Your Own
Chopped, salted and minced meat, stuffed in casing: all at home, in your very own kitchen. What could be more pleasant than sausage? Without doubt, people love their sausages: smoked, fried, pickled, dry, wet, pork, beef, chicken, horse, duck, liver, tripe, muscle, *ahem* other parts *ahem* and of course, seasoned thoughtfully with one’s own carefully selected blend of herbs and spices that serve as a salumist’s signature of sorts.
Today at Niblack Foods, we’ll be discussing all things sausage: from some of the most popular ones internationally, to how to make sausage at home. As always, we’ll begin with a little history lesson: this time, on the origins of one of the world’s favorite methods of preparing meat.
It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Wurst of Times: A Brief History of Sausage Making
Our own word for these unctuous, rich, and salty emissaries of flavor derives from the Latin word salsus – meaning “salted” (and also the root of English “sauce”). Gary Allen, the author of Sausages: A Global History clarifies the salty necessity & origins of the sausage:
“Sausages were created originally for two reasons: One, to make use of every little piece of the meat, so nothing is wasted, and two, by using salt and smoking, it was a way to preserve it”
While no one can say for sure who first had the idea to enclose minced meat in a casing, the earliest-attested written record referring to sausage comes in the form of a Mesopotamian inter-language dictionary written on 24 clay tablets that gives the translation for 800 different food & beverage terms in the Sumerian & Akkadian languages. Thought to be approximately 3,700 to 4,000 years old, these tablets have enriched our understanding of the richness of the cuisine of the ancients. However, the fact that our oldest extant record of sausage making dates back 4,000 years or to that region doesn’t necessarily mean that the first wiener was consumed at a Babylon Braves ballgame in the Fertile Crescent. In fact, sausage-making is likely much older and may have been first practiced elsewhere as a way of quickly preserving less readily usable cuts of meat by hunter-gatherers, meaning that humans have been making & enjoying sausage for longer than every structure, ruin, and nation currently in existence!
How Do I Make Sausage at Home?
Perhaps you’re a hunter, fresh off of deer season, or maybe you’ve just been prowling the butcher’s section, right next to the pharmacy and the bread aisle. Either way, you too can participate in the long-running tradition of preserving your own meat with seasonings. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with store-bought kielbasa or frankfurters, there lies a certain charm in making your own bespoke bangers. Recipes do vary, but there are a few constants and rules of thumb to keep in mind as you consider preparing your own charcuterie:
Everything You Use Must Be Cold
Because of the nature of certain fats, all of your meat, grinder feeders, bowls and other ingredients need to be virtually ice-cold. It’s recommended to place all of these ingredients and appliances in the freezer for an hour before you fire-up your Andouille assembly line. A warm sausage is a messy and slippery sausage that doesn’t blend or take shape properly due to the increased pliability of the fat. Keep it cold, just like your favorite beverage (all apologies to coffee connoisseurs!)
You Must Soak the Sausage Casings
While processed (but natural) collagen casings do exist, the most popular and traditional sausage casings are in fact the intestines of a cow, sheep or pig. While not a particularly pleasant thought, these dried “sub-mucosa” are the time-honored, classic skin that most sausages come in. Found at many grocers and delis, these casings must be re-hydrated for malleability; so that the mixture can easily be piped into them, otherwise, they’re prone to breakage.
Select a Quality Spice Blend
A selection of diverse herbs & spices is essential to adding a certain je ne sais quoi to your sausage. Because of the array of cuts of meat, fat and other seasonings (like garlic or fennel) added to the vast majority of salamis, bratwursts, and pepperoni, a spice blend is an indispensable tool for tying the deli together. Niblack Foods offers an assortment of artisanally-blended sausage seasonings crafted in Rochester, New York by their in-house Lead Expert Blender. From mild or hot breakfast sausage blends with hint of exotic zest and aromatic dried herbs, to authentic and traditional Polish Kielbasa, Beef Salami, Mild, Sweet, or Hot Italian or pepperoni, you won’t have to hem & haw over proportions, amounts or picking a spice that doesn’t quite mesh well with other ingredients. Let Niblack handle it, and focus on the fun part: how the sausage is made!
Hit the Links and Score a Hole-in-one with Niblack’s Sausage Seasoning Mixes!
Whether it’s pork, beef, venison – or even chicken – sausage you’re looking to make, sausage making is an ancient, fascinating, and positively tasty enterprise. The myriad varieties of meat, seasoning mixes, and equipment offer endless possibilities: leave it to Niblack Foods to help you get started making one of the world’s most popular & customizable foods and more at our online shop & blog!