No doubt you’ve heard the expression, “Never visit the sausage factory.” Of course, that’s because most folks just don’t want to see what goes into making sausage.
We’ve all heard tales of lips, ears, glands and all things gristly that, once passed through a meat grinder, get crammed into a casing and loaded into boxes destined for your local market. And while there are plenty of sausage horror stories, most them are just that…stories. Make your own and you’ve got nothing to worry about. “Hey, has anyone seen my Band-Aid?
Turning game meats into sausage is a relatively simple process. You mix lean game meat with something fattier, like pork or feral swine, add some seasonings and smoke, bake or pop it into a low-temp covered grill until it has reached a safe internal temperature. The process does take a little time, but it’s passive time that won’t keep you from mowing the lawn or fixing whatever’s broken at the house. While you’re cleaning the gutters, your ground meat is slowing transforming into something delicious. And you’ve taken some of the game meats in your freezer that would otherwise be taking up the room you’ll need for this season’s epic harvest. Nothing wrong with being optimistic.
I’d highly recommend starting with one of the many sausage “kits” that are available at any of the major outdoor retailers and many butcher shops. They come with instructions that anyone can follow and everything is measured to take out the guesswork. No special equipment is required. You can start with a standard home food processor and turn ground meat into sausage patties, but if you plan to make sausage-making a regular event, I’d highly recommend a couple of things to make production much easier. It also helps to have a helper or two on hand. Not only will you be able to crank out enough sausage for everyone, but the extra hands really come in “handy” (sorry) when it’s time to stuff the casings.
Meat Grinder – Plan on spending around $100 for a starter model. If you stick with it, you’ll want something more powerful, but the cheaper models sure beat the crap out of the manual ones.
Meat Mixer – Mixing the ground meat with cure and seasonings is critical. You can do it with your hands, but a mechanical meat mixer does it better and quicker.
Vertical Stuffer – Once the meat is thoroughly mixed, a vertical stuffer is the most efficient way to transfer stuffing into casings. Unless you have more than two arms, it does help to have one person on the stuffer and another on the receiving end to keep the sausages stuffed properly.
For more information see this video: C.W. “Cee Dub” Welch and Hans Hummel of Hi Mountain Seasonings demonstrate how teamwork makes sausage-making simpler.