Americans love hot dogs and sausages as much as French fries. Making your own sausages at home would be a fun and satisfying project.
Grilled, steamed or put in between a sliced bun, the hot dog’s main ingredients are chicken, beef, pork or a mixture of them.
Commercial hot dogs may also contain ingredients such as ascorbic acid, citric acid, flavoring, sodium nitrite etc. You can read the long list of ingredients here.
Any type of muscle meat can be used to make sausages. Sausages can be grilled, boiled, steamed or fried in a skillet.
It would be great indeed if you can make your own sausages at home. You can have total control over what goes into your sausages. Garlic or paprika? Fine.
You wish to use trimmings and other deboned meats from farm slaughtered livestock? That’s great too.
You can control the amount of fat in your sausages as well as maximize the freshness of ingredients used.
Homemade sausages are healthier and tastier.
Have you tried putting homemade raw sausages as toppings on your pizza? Baking your pizza together with these raw sausages greatly enhances the flavor of your pizza.
Fresh sausages seasoned with your favorite herbs as well as spices and cooked just before serving is heavenly.
Making your own sausages for your next tailgating party seems a wonderful idea.
Get ready your meat grinder and sausage stuffer for some home sausage making fun. It’s not as intimidating as you thought.
If you do not have a stuffer or perhaps you do not wish to stuff the seasoned ground meat into casings, then patties are great too.
If you wish to smoke your sausages, then you’ll need a smoker.
Grind, spiced and stuff, cook or smoke – the 3 main steps in sausage making.
What Goes Into Making Good Tasty Sausages?
It can be prepared from one kind of meat or a combination of meats
Inexpensive cuts such as beef plates, chuck cuts, and pork jowls and shoulders can also be turned into tasty homemade sausages
Pork butt / pork shoulder is the recommended choice if making pork sausages. This is because it has the right amount of fat versus lean meat for the perfect fat content ratio in the sausages.
The meat can be coarse or finely ground
Water content in the sausage should not exceed 3 % of total ingredients
Ground meat in sausages should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 155° F
Salt is added to enhance the flavor of the sausage. Salt also acts to preserve the sausage from microbial spoilage.
Salt helps to extract the soluble meat proteins. The extracted meat protein forms a film and coagulates during heating. This helps to bind the meat particles together resulting in a firmer texture for the sausage
Sugar is used to enhance flavor
If using spices, make sure they’re fresh. Most spices lose their natural flavor when held for six months or more at room temperature. Premixed spice blends are great too.
Sausage Making Appliances/Accessories
You’ll need an accurate thermometer, a calibrated scale, a meat grinder and a sausage stuffer as well as casings.
You can get an attachment such as the one for the KitchenAid stand mixer.
A retro style old fashioned hand cranked grinder works great too. The electrical meat grinder makes grinding meat hassle-free.
You can get the old fashioned hand crank type or get the electric piston sausage stuffer. However, with the electric type, you can do the job faster and with fewer air pockets.
You have a choice of natural or synthetic casings
Natural casings are edible and permeable to water and smoke. These form a natural curve shape to your sausages. They can be twisted to make links.
As for synthetic casings, you get a choice of fibrous or collagen casings.
Synthetic casings made from collagen (beef hide) are also edible. These synthetic collagen casings form straight sausage links with no curves.
Synthetic fibrous casings (plant fibers) have to be removed before eating.
You can buy hog casings from your local butcher. Hog casings are actually the cleaned and salted intestines of the pig.
Hog casings (22mm diameter) – bratwurst, Italian sausage, Polish sausages, breakfast sausages etc
Sheep casings (with smallest diameter) – breakfast sausages etc
Beef casings (biggest diameter) – salami etc
Synthetic collagen casings – Made from animal protein
Synthetic casings – These are uniform in size, ranging from 3/4-inch to 6 inches in diameter. Good for sausages that are cooked in water eg braunschweiger.
For a 5 pound batch of sausages, you’ll need about 15 – 18 feet of casings.
Just like baking a cake, accurate measurements are essential in sausage making. You’ll need the right amount of meat for your sausage recipe.
Make sure that raw meat stays below 40°F during processing
Internal temperature of sausage must reach 160°F to be considered completely cooked.
Tips For Successful Home Sausage Making
- Keep meat at under 40°F when you’re working on it
- Slightly frozen meat makes for easier grinding
- Remember to add salt. It is a very important ingredient for successful sausage making.
- Make sure the cut and seasoned (salt and spices) meat is cold (as near to the frozen state as possible – 30 minutes to an hour in the freezer will do the trick) before grinding. This is to prevent smearing – prevent the separation of the fat from the meat protein.
- Your grinder and any containers for holding your ground meat must be very cold to the touch too. Refrigerate them before using.
- After grinding your meat, freeze them again. Take out the cold meat, add any remaining spices/herbs. Add ice cold liquid for example cold ice water or cold white wine/white wine vinegar to the mixture. You want to get a smooth paste. Mix thoroughly using either a mixer or a spoon. The mixing is completed when the mixture starts to get sticky and bind together.
- You can use these as patties if you are not not stuffing them.
- As for the sausage stuffer, make sure it’s cold. Soak the casings in warm water (to remove salt and smell) for at least 30 minutes before using.
- Leave about 6″ of space at the tail end of the casing for air bubbles.
- When linking sausages, twist one link in a clockwise direction, the immediate next link in anti-clockwise direction and so forth. Links will hold if done this way.
- When stuffing is done, hang the stuffed sausage links up to dry. This will need about an hour or two.
- At this drying stage, use a sharp needle to poke out any visible air bubbles.
- If smoking sausages, keep the surface of the sausage slightly moist for easy penetration of the smoke into the casing. However, too moist a surface will end up with streaking
Raw homemade sausages should be consumed within seven to 10 days under refrigeration (35° to 40° F). Frozen ones can be kept longer for 4 – 6 months in freezer bags.
Cooked smoked sausages can be kept for about 2 – 4 weeks in the refrigerator.
Sit back and relax with a hot dog bun while watching your favorite show.