by John Lindsay, 1907 Meat Company
It’s 4-H season and, if you’re like me, you’re making room in your deep freezer for a pig (or three) and trying to decide what to do with all that delicious pork. If you don’t know, 4-H is a great organization which helps train future farmers. If you’re interested in finding ways to get involved such as buying animals raised by these aspiring farmers to support their endeavors, visit http://oces.okstate.edu/payne/4-h.
So if you’ve found yourself in possession of a plethora of pork, fear not, for today I’m going to teach you the basics of sausage-making. In order to do that, we’re going to use my friends recipe for Salsiccia Napolitana, or Neopolitan sausage, though you may know it as hot Italian sausage. There are people who say sausage of this type without fennel is not real Italian sausage, the answer is northern Italy uses a lot of fennel, so the sausage that hails from there is traditionally made with it, but this is a recipe for Neopolitan sausage, which hails from Southern Italy where a lot of garlic and pepper is used instead. The recipe for the hot Italian has also been adapted into mild and sweet versions for American tastes.
Notes on making sausage:
So, Oklahoma is hot. Pork fat doesn’t like heat because, when it warms up (whether by ambient temperature or by human hands, which stay at a blistering 98 degrees), it starts becoming softer and unworkable as far as sausage-making goes. Therefor, as soon as your meat comes out of the refrigerator, you are working against the clock. You still have a comfortable timeframe of about a half hour to mix the spices into the meat and get it into casings, but it’s important to have everything ready beforehand and to stay on task.
If you’re casing your sausages, by sure to follow all manufacturing directions. If they’re natural casings, be sure to place them into cold water to prevent them from bursting because of drying out.
4 1/2 lb. Pork butt
1/2 lb. Pork fat back
5 tsp. Salt
3 Tbs. Paprika, hot
1 Tbs. Sugar
2 tsp. Garlic, powdered
1 tsp. Pepper, white, ground
1 tsp. Cayenne pepper
1 tsp. Coriander, ground
1/4 cup Water (or ice to help keep it cool) (approx.)
32 mm Hog casings
As with all cooking, it is best to assemble all ingredients first. This practice is called mise en plaise. After you have everything together, mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl. Mix them well for even coverage.
1) Take the meat and place it in a large bowl, taking care to break up the meat as you put it in so that there is more surface area for the spices to stick to.
2) Add in the spices. Folding the spice into the meat, treating the meat like a bread dough, is the best way to prevent the final product from becoming tough or rubbery from too much handling. Midway through mixing the spices in, add in the water to help with the binding.
3) When you’re done folding, you may desire to make patties out of your mixture. You can also use an ice cream scoop to shape it into meatballs. You can freeze them on a cookie sheet and toss them into a Ziploc bag for easy retrieval. Or, as planned, you can case turn and them into delicious sausages links.