February 02, 2003


Yesterday morning I decided to drown out the sounds of CNN with that of a meat grinder. Bratwursts, to be specific.

Used about 3 pounds of pork belly, and another 2.5 pounds of beef chunk rib meat. You need sausages to be around 30% fat. Chuck is fairly fatty (around 20%) and pork belly is uncured bacon, so it's probably closer to 50% fat, sometimes more. It's an easy way to obtain fat content in sausage. Most commercial recipes call for "pork jowl fat" which if you ask for it will get you nothing but strange looks from most butchers. Pork belly is cheap and widely available at Asian meat counters. Plus, I love saying "pork belly" especially if I can say "pork bellies are up in active trading."

I ground the meat once through the coarse plate, sprinkled with salt, a pre-mixed seasoning, and a cup and a half of water. Then ground again through the fine plate, mixed the whole thing up with my hands, and prepared to stuff. You mix the seasonings in after the first grinding because this gives you some free blending as you do the second grind.

I used medium pork casings -- boy were these long! I figured I'd need two, so I cleaned them out. I couldn't even fit all of one of them on the stuffing tube. But, I need not have worried -- what I could fit managed to hold all six and a half pounds of the sausage -- wow. This was around 2 dozen links or so.

I froze 3/4 of the batch and cooked up the rest by simmering them long and slow in a mixture of chicken broth, onions, butter, and hot sauce. I then quickly grilled them to color the outside and then returned them to the broth. This is a fairly traditional way to cook brats. Ate on buns with homemade potato salad that was heavy on the mustard.

Why special? You try stuffing 6 pounds of sausage yourself via a KitchenAid. One hand on the sausage to keep it from falling off, and the other feeding sticky meat mixture into the too-small opening. Today, I got on line and purchased a push stuffer -- which holds 3 pounds of meat at a time, meaning that basically two pushes would have gotten all of the meat stuffed.

I've decided to add homemade sausage to my standard set of BBQ batches, and if I'm going to do this, the stuffer is an absolute requirement. I honestly think I'll make sausage much more often this way.

Posted by dowdy at February 2, 2003 11:55 AM