Making your own sausages
Nothing quite compares to a plate of delicious sausages, especially when you’ve made them yourself. It may seem a little daunting at first, and there is a bit of an art to it, but once you’ve got the knack, it’s really very easy – and a lot of fun!
1. For a rich, flavoursome sausage, it’s best to use lean pork such as shoulder pork. It’s worth spending a little more on good quality pork meat from your local butcher.
2. As far as we’re concerned, natural sausage skins make the best, juiciest sausages by far. You’ll need to soak the skins to remove excess salt for a couple of hours before you use them, so remember to allow enough time for this.
3. The next step is to select your spices and seasonings. You can be as creative as you like here with your flavour pairings, but if you’re looking for a traditional sausage, a combination of sage, allspice and black and white pepper is a classic. Grind your spices together in a pestle and mortar and put to one side, along with plenty of salt, but be sure to keep this separate.
4. Remove any skin or bones from your pork cuts – alternatively, you can ask your butcher to do this when you buy it. Unless you bought already diced shoulder cuts, slice the meat into cubes small enough to fit into your mincer.
5. We recommend passing the meat through your mincer twice to achieve a finer and smoother mixture. However, if you’d rather prefer a more chunky sausage, pass the meat through your mincer just once. This is all down to personal preference, and there is no right or wrong method here.
6. The next stage is to start combining your sausage mix ingredients together, so add in about half of your previously ground spices and breadcrumbs, and mix thoroughly with your hands. Add some chilled water and continue to mix until you have a stiff dropping consistency. As a rough rule of thumb, you’ll need about 10% breadcrumbs by weight in your mix to ensure it binds together properly. Take about a teaspoonful and fry it off in a hot pan to check the flavour and seasoning, and adjust to taste accordingly.
7. Next, take the blades out of the mincer, attach the stuffing funnel and put in the sausage mix, making sure the machine is on its slowest setting. Take your sausage skins out of their water, and slip them over the nozzle of your mincer. It’s a good idea to leave a good length of casing empty before you start filling it, so do this by keeping your fingers around the rolled casing and feeding out enough length as required.
8.When feeding the meat through into the skins, try not to allow the meat to pack in too tightly, and also try to avoid allowing too much air in either – it’s all about balance, and practice makes perfect. A good tip for beginners is to limit themselves to making about a metre of sausage at a time, ensuring there’s enough empty skin at either end, which will make it much easier to handle.
9. Once you’re happy with the length of your sausage, tie off each end of the empty casing, and then gently squeeze the skin at the desired length intervals so that there’s enough space between the sausages to twist them off a few times, creating individual links. All that’s left to do now is to decide whether you want to fry, bake, grill or barbecue your homemade sa