|Basic Sausage Making Process|
This can be broken down into 4 main steps:
One thing we advocate is that you must keep your meat as cold as possible throughout the sausage making process. Before and after each step of the process refrigerate the meat and keep it as stiff as possible without actually freezing it. When grinding the meat, if you use warm or soft meat, it tends to be mashed through the grinding plates, turn mushy and lose all of the juice in the meat. You will also notice that once meat has been ground there is far more surface area for bacteria to develop, which is another good reason to keep it cold.
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Grinding the Meat
Make sure that you cut your meat to fit the size of your grinder funnel. Then refrigerate the cubed meat. Get the grinder and dishes for the ground meat setup on your work surface. Take the meat out of the refrigerator and grind, working as quickly as possible. Cover the ground meat and return to the refrigerator or freezer, to chill down again.
Adding of Spices and Flavorings
We use two different methods of adding spices to the sausage:
Put the meat back into the refrigerator once you have finished adding the spices.
Stuffing the Casings
Follow the instructions for Preparing Casings for Stuffing depending on which casings you are using.
After flushing the casings we like to keep them in a bowl of warm water next to the sausage stuffer. The warm water keeps the casing lubricated when you feed it onto the stuffing horn. Select the stuffing horn that is best suited to the thickness of the casing you are using. Find the end of a casing and slip this over the end of the stuffing horn. Push the casing over the stuffing horn towards the sausage stuffer, so that it forms an accordion-like pleat. Keep the casing wet throughout this process or it will not slide back on the stuffing horn very easily.
Leave some of the casing hanging over the horn. Start stuffing the sausage meat into the casing. You will need to regulate the flow of sausage into the casing, which will determine how tightly packed the sausage is. If you try and pack the sausage too tightly the casing will burst. If the casing does burst, tie it off at that point and start again. To regulate the flow of sausage hold the casing on the stuffing horn with your thumb and forefinger. Increasing or decreasing finger pressure on the casing will determine how tightly and consistently the sausage is packed.
As the sausage comes out of the stuffing horn, you can tie the ends at regular intervals or make links by twisting the sausage. Sausage like Boerewors is made in one continuous piece, which is coiled for storage.
After stuffing the sausage into the casings, we like to hang the sausage. This allows the casings to dry properly as well as gives the flavors in the sausage time to develop. We turn the central air conditioning up full until the house gets really cold. Cover a broom handle with aluminum foil and straddle between two chairs. Hang the fresh sausage over the broom handle until the casings are dry. Make sure that the sausage stays cool, or bacteria will develop. If the sausage has a lot of liquid it will drip from the casings as they dry, so you may want to put something down on the floor to catch the drippings.
When freezing sausage, you should place the sausage in zip-up type plastic bags. Use a straw to suck out as much of the air as possible. Seal the bag and freeze the sausage quickly to lock in the flavor. We use a vacuum sealer for this purpose which works very well, and makes for an attractive presentation if you are dishing out sausage to your friends as gifts.