Last week, my friend Ellen came over and we made sausages. This was a first time for both of us, and I felt we penetrated a new level of foodie-ism by attempting this feat of harnessing active yeasts and bacteria’s pertinent to MEAT.
While we've dabbled in kim chi, yogurt, kombucha, etc. neither of us have before messed with meat. “It could be dangerous, we could get botulism, e. coli or salmonella.” No, we did it. Here is our story.
Ellen brought over pork butt she bought from Langley Farm Market. We hand cut it, mixed all the spices for 2 different types of sausage, one a fresh chorizo, and the other a garlic, fennel and thyme sausage, the latter which we are air curing in a refridgerator set at the lowest setting, 4 degrees.
We chose not to use nitrates. While they are a naturally occurring product of drying, smoking and curing meat, nitrates added to cured meat today are a preservative, synthetic, and not of great benefit to our health. This does indeed add a chance that the air cured meat will fail, but we are fearless and not afraid of failure, for we will march on in the quest of DIY, after the burial of tainted meat, of course.
Garlic, fennel & thyme sausage.
|Fennel seed, fresh thyme, peppercorns, sea salt, to be ground and mixed with garlic marinated white wine, then added to the meat. |
|Mix with gloved hand.|
The chorizo spice mix consisted of these ingredients:
1tsp. cumin powder
4 Tbsp. ancho chili powder
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. toasted onion
2 tsp. oregano
4 Tbsp. sea salt
½ tsp. white pepper
In a food processor, mix:
¼ C. red wine vinegar
4 cloves fresh garlic
2 chipotle chilies
…..and tequila. About ¼ C.
Add dry spices to wet. Mix into meat.
|Should anything have fallen to the floor, Olive was ready and waiting. CUTE ATTACK!|
There is the pro way to do this and there is the “first time at home, don’t know yet if I want to invest in the equipment” way, you can guess ours. Despite using this make shift method, we were very happy with the way things turned out. Here’s what you need:
1 bag of casings, soaked. (Pig intestines)
A funnel with a 1” diameter spout.
Parchment paper to work on.
The end of a wooden spoon to stuff the meat through the funnel. Though in the end, our hand worked best.
The key to a successful cure is to have as little air inside the casings with the meat as possible and, super clean work surfaces.
We yielded approx. 1 dozen of each type of sausage in total. We made them various lengths and sizes according to casing width. The air cured sausages were hung in a mini fridge on 27 September, and will cure for a month.
With the fresh sausages, I froze half and ate half within a few days, on pizza or in a breakfast scramble.
Here we are, a week and a half in (8 Oct) and the cure is drying out nicely. Moisture is collecting in the pan, and the fridge is smelling like garlic, not rancid meat, which is a good sign! I may post updates on how its doing throughout the month.