Sausages

Guide to Various and Easy Sausage Making at Home

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Writer / Enthusiast / Meat Curer / Forager / Harvester | About Tom

For decades, immersed in studying, working, learning, and teaching in the craft of meat curing, now sharing his passion with you through eat cured meat online resource.

Often, sausage-making guides only show one way of making sausages. However, sausage is a category that can be divided into different types.

As someone who knows how many variations of sausages are made, I wanted to provide more helpful content.

I want to show you how to be as helpful as possible with the most straightforward equipment and explain the intricacies of sausage-making at home.

Sausage Making Essential Information

To be as helpful as possible, you will find the variations, simple tips, most accessible equipment, and common sausage-making mistakes. Here is what will be covered.

  • Types of Sausage
  • Ways of Cooking Sausage
  • Easiest Sausage for a Beginner
  • Equipment
  • Simple Steps to Sausage Making
  • Types of Casings
  • Key Ingredients
  • Key Components of a Great Sausage
  • Sausage-Making Tricks and Tips

Types of Sausage

  • Uncased
  • Cased

Uncased

Below, you will find a guide to how an un-cased sausage is made very popular in Montenegro (across Serbia) – Ćevapi

You do nearly every step like a cased sausage, apart from stuffing it into the actual case.

Cased

A cased sausage could be raw and stuffed into the casing. The simplest kind of cased sausage.

Many stuffed cased sausages are cooked, baked, hot smoked, or simmered. Such as traditional bratwurst, other variations are hot dogs, which are also emulsified (below more on this).

The most known style of sausage is one that has a sausage casing. Sausages such as bratwurst, hot dog, or pork, and fennel sausage – are all “cased” sausages. Casings can vary, mainly natural or synthetic – more on casings below.

Most sausage casings used for direct-heat grilling or cooking in a frying pan are natural casings (made from animal intestines such as sheep or pigs).

However, other casings do exist for different purposes; a hot dog, which is a type of emulsified sausage, uses a synthetic case, which is often made from collagen through a manufactured process.

Emulsified

Adding cold water and ice and extracting the myosin from the meat with salt is a way to create a uniform texture, such as that of a wiener or hotdog (oil binds water to make a consistent texture, like mayonnaise).

Another way to make it is to grind it several times through small-diameter mincing plates (2-3mm). Extracting myosin, which is a natural binding agent.

For someone beginning, I would not suggest emulsifying a sausage. To begin with, it is a far more involved process.

Easiest Way to Make a Sausage

Let’s focus on a sausage that’s easy, careless sausage. Then also a super simple pork or beef

The goal is 20-30% fat to lean meat ratio. This will mean moist sausage; without 20% – you will have a dry texture.

The most accessible meat to use would be pork shoulder. It has more fat in the muscle area than other parts of the pig (depending on the pig).

Beef chuck (shoulder also from bovine) and brisket have an excellent fat ratio.

Ćevapi / ćevapčići – Caseless Sausage

It can be incredibly easy to make sausage, when you buy minced pork meat, salt, and spices. With no equipment, here is a sausage with no casing.

Steps:

  1. (If Needed) Grind/Mince Meat (Beef, Pork, or Lamb)- 80/20 Meat/Fat Ratio, 3-5mm diameter grinding plate
  2. Measure and Mix Salt and Spices
  3. Create the Bind, Knead Meat for 5-10 minutes
  4. Shape into Sausage Shape Desired.
  5. Refrigerate and Cooking When Needed

Based on the assumption, you aren’t going to buy any sausage-making equipment and want to try making a pound or two.

When cooking a well-made cased sausage, it holds moisture and fat in. Which gives that wonderful juicy mouth feel.

Like any sausage, you still have to create what’s known as the bind; I will elaborate more on this below, as this is one of the most essential factors in making an exceptional sausage.

Binding is how the meat sticks together. This can be done naturally just by reacting the meat and salt. The idea is to get a tacky texture to the meat.

The most straightforward ancient technique of checking the bind is once the ground meat, salt, and spices have been kneaded And worked around so that it is sticky. A flat pancake patty is made and then stuck to the palm of your hand. If it sticks for at least 30 seconds, then you have a good sausage bind.

You then form the mixture into approximately middle finger-shaped sausages, and some Serbian countries like to make the shape square. This allows the meat to be cooked more efficiently on a grill, fry pan, or flat plate.

A round diameter works perfectly fine as well.

Cevacipici Ingredients for 1 pound / 450 grams

  • Meat 80% Lean – Beef, Lamb, Veal, Pork
  • Fat 20% Pork backfat/pork belly (up to 35% fat)
  • Fine Sea Salt 1% – 1 level teaspoon
  • Pepper 0.5% – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Optional 0.5%- paprika, garlic

(1/4 teaspoon of baking soda can be added for slight fluffiness if desired)

While Sarajevo-style ćevapi (Sarajevski ćevapi) are the most popular, Banja Luka-style ćevapi (Banjalučki ćevapi) differ from all others because they are prepared as a meat tile typically consisting of four ćevapi connected in a row. They are usually made just with ground beef, salt, and pepper, just like Sarajevo ćevapi, but ground veal and garlic are sometimes also added to the mix.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%86evapi

Equipment for Sausage Making

If you have whole muscle chunks of meat (like pork butt/shoulder, beef brisket etc), you have two processes to deal with: mincing/grinding and Stuffing. Below are options for these tasks.

  • No Casing, No Stuffer Needed
  • Simple Plastic Bottle Top
  • Manual Grinder/Stuffer
  • Attachment Mixer Stuffer
  • Grinder – Stuffer
  • Vertical/Horizontal Stuffer

Simple Plastic Bottle Top

More straightforward to watch a 2-minute video:

Manual Grinder/Stuffer

For small batches or infrequent use, manually wind to grind the meat; some come with tubes for stuffing.

Attachment Mixer

Kitchen Aid or one known brand; others exist, such as kitchen mixers with accessories to grind or stuff sausages.

Again, this would be for small batches because an electric system pushes through the meat after the grinding when you’re doing the stuffing.

The electric movement can heat the meat, which is not ideal for sausage making, but it’s OK for small sausage runs, say under 5 pounds or 2.5 kg.

Grinder (Can Have Stuffer Tubes)

As I learned and progressed with sausage and salami making. I now use a dedicated grinder or mincer As the first stage of making sausages. This does have a staffing tube option, but I’ve never used it since I used a horizontal stuffer.

There are some key components to consider when getting a sausage grinder or mincer.

If you’re looking for a grinder or mincer, I have highlighted the key features that you want in a machine that will last and perform a decent job. Please find the article link here.

Vertical/Horizontal Stuffer

For 10 pounds/5 kg of sausage or more in one batch of sausage, home enthusiasts should look at getting a sausage stuffer. With two people, we have been able to produce 160 pounds or 80 kg of sausage and salami over a weekend using a 16-pound / 8 kg stuffer.

This also depends on the diameter of the sausage casing, if you’re making very narrow 10 to 15 mm diameter Slim Jim’s sausages, it can take twice as long as using a whole casing that 30 to 35 mm.

I wrote a more detailed article on investing or not sausage stuffers here.

Simple Steps for Sausage Making

  1. Grind/Mince Meat – 3/5mm diameter grinding plate
  2. Add salt and spices
  3. Create the Bind
  4. Stuff into Casing
  5. Prick Sausage for Air Bubbles
  6. Tie or Link
  7. Hang and Dry
  8. Cook When Desired

Grinding and mincing the meat is relatively straightforward. It should be chopped into chunks of about 1 to 2-inch cubes, and it should be kept only slightly above freezing so it doesn’t heat up during the grinding process.

When adding salt and spices, finer ingredients are often better for even dispersion. But once you learn the basics, more prominent, chunkier spices or herbs could be used.

Mortar and Pestle or a Spice Grinder can help with this task also.

Working the meat with the salt and spices to create the binder is one of the critical steps to success. Bowel cutters and other meat mixing devices do exist although they are semi-commercial or commercial investments.

Hands with or without gloves is the most common way to do this at home.

Stuffing is often a feeling especially with natural casings we want to not under or over stuff, you don’t want to completely type although you don’t want to completely lose because you have to tie often or link the sausages together which will play but more pressure on the casing. Pricking as your stuffing can also be a more efficient tip.

You can use either a sterilized needle or pricking devices to save a lot of time if you’re doing large amounts of sausage using a multi-pronged sausage pricker, I’ve found through experience.

Here is a link to a butcher showcasing linking sausage:

Types of Casings for Sausage Making

Natural Casing

Pig or hog casings would be the easiest for a sausage-making beginner to work with. They are more forgiving than the other smaller types of casings, which are sheep casings.

Collagen

You also get edible collagen casings, which quickly burst when cooked with direct heat. If you are poaching these types of sausage, they might be less likely to burst.

Just know there are edible and non-edible versions of collagen casings. Collagen casings are generally used for hot dogs since the hotdog is straight sausage.

As a tip, most hog natural casings will be curved in shape like a banana.

Fibrous is another form of sausage casing, which is for other formed types of sausage produced and not an edible casing.

Critical Components for Sausage Making

  • Meat
  • Binding
  • Salt
  • Fat

Meat

Pork shoulder is ideal for sausage making, since the ratio of 20 or 30% fat to meet exists in most of the shoulder or America is called the pork butt.

For leaner meat, pork fat can be challenging in some Western countries, so pork belly can be an alternative.

Beef brisket is also relatively high in fat content, and mixed with beef shoulder chuck steak can also be a good combination.

Many classic recipes for sausage that are hundreds of years old have combinations of beef, pork, and veal. Sometimes, Lamb is also used.

Veal has a mild flavor, and lamb has a strong flavor in general.

There are cultures like Italy and Spain that use straightforward ingredients, just salt, pepper and pork, for making sausages, whether focusing on the breed and quality of the pig used.

The Butifurra Sausage of Spain is so celebrated that the festival is used every year for this pork, salt, and pepper sausage and specific breed, in relation to the European black pig, I believe.

Binding

There are shortcuts in the modern world when it comes to binding sausage. Some use additives to create a tackiness to the meat artificially.

This can sometimes create a jelly-like texture, as opposed to a meat texture, with the natural casing and the pop of the skin when grilled.

Often, when you think the sausage has had enough, at least another five minutes of mixing is needed.

Salt

Salt weight instead of volume is a constructive tip!

Find sea salt or other types of salt acceptable to use. Many table salts have additives such as anti-caking agents or have been iodized. For a cooked grilled sausage, this is fine.

We would not want to use a course or rock salt since the distribution would not be as thorough throughout the meat.

Fat

If you can get hard pork back fat and good quality, this is a key ingredient to make any sausage better.

Potbelly is mentioned as a good alternative; in some cultures where pigs are found across southern Europe, sometimes all of the oil is used as an alternative. I have tried poultry sausages, like turkey sausage, using olive oil as an alternative fat.

Here is a link to fat and sausages, where I explained this in more detail.

Link back to sausage making ‘resources’

(other critical links to all the different sausage topics)

Sausage-Making Tricks and Tips

As someone who has been making sausages for decades, I have some key tips that aren’t often discussed.

Air Bubbles Under Casing

Ensure the casing is an excellent bind to the meat and any air bubbles that come out pricked before the sources are hung and dried.

Stuffing

It’s tough to describe in words, but really, you want it to be tight but not firm. If you press the casing after stuffing it before tying it, it should have a little give to it.

I guess it is one of those things that you only get better at with experience.

Natural Case Preparation

Soaking for a minimum of half an hour for sheep or pork casings, pork casings up to about two hours, although overnight is acceptable in the refrigerator. These casings are naturally preserved insult and last approximately 12 months. I just checked the date, and it’s on the packaging.

Drying Natural Casing After Stuffing

If you want to get a natural type of “pop” from a sausage when it’s grilled.

You have to let the casing dry in the refrigerated area or after stuffing. Overnight up to half day is suitable time for this, you need to have a also dry ash environment which often fridge creates.

If you’re exploring ideas on cooked sausages here is a link to apply for a of sausages from across the world that I have studied, explored and tried.


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