Of Sausage and Law

There are a number of old sayings that sum up roughly to “you don’t want to see how sausage or laws are made.” Perhaps this is true if poor ingredients are used but it need not be that way. You can use top quality ingredients and you’ll get top quality sausage, and perhaps laws too.

When we make sausage we use good meat. There are no snouts, ears, eyeballs, organs or the like in the mix. We do not grind in the bones. Rather we use quality de-boned ham, shoulder and other delicious pork. One sausage maker with over 50 years of experience told me that our hot dogs taste so good because we use good quality meat as the foundation. Good ingredients means delicious hot dogs, kielbasa and other sausages.

I’m not going to tell you how to make sausage here, that’s another discussion and there are some excellent books listed at the end of this article. What several people on the Kickstarter asked about are what are the various types of sausage we make now and what kinds of sausage do we plan to make once our on-farm meat processing facility is completed so that is today’s topic.

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Note that some butchers sell ‘sausage’ which is spiced ground meat but not linked or even pattied. To me that is simply spiced ground and should not be called sausage as it causes confusion. When I think of sausage I think of links or at least patties and I find that this is true of virtually all of our customers too. If it is going to be called sausage then it should be in links or at the very least patties. Our Hot Dogs, Hot Italian, Sweet Italian and Kielbasa are all linked and in natural casings.

I also am of the mind that the ingredients list should be kept very short. Don’t make mud by over spicing or blending in too many different things. Keep it simple.

Making Now

  • Hot Dogs – Linked, 7 per 1 lb package – These are our premier sausage. I began with a German beef frankfurter recipe for my foundation. I changed the meat to pork, the sweetener to maple syrup which is traditional in our region and eliminated the nitrates, nitrites and other artificial ingredients. The result was an all natural pastured pork hot dog that is juicy, delicious and healthy. The natural sheep casings provide a delightful snap when you bite into them. But that’s not all – We smoke these hot dogs which gives them an extra unique flavor. Excellent for bonfires, chopped into chili, corn dogs or just a quick meal. Ingredients: Pork, Water, Non-Fat Dry Milk, Maple Syrup, Salt, Spices. Made with natural sheep casings.
  • Hot Italian Sausage – Linked, 2 per 1/2 lb package – I started with a traditional recipe again but doubled the hot spices for a more intense flavor. Again, no nitrates, nitrites or the like. Just good meat and spices. In natural hog casings. Excellent for spaghetti sauce, sausage subs, stir fry, goulash, breakfast, etc. Ingredients: Pork, Salt, Red Pepper, Fennel and Paprika. Made with natural hog casings
  • Sweet Italian Sausage – Linked, 2 per 1/2 lb package – This is a traditional sweet Italian recipe made with our all natural pastured pork. In natural hog casings. No nitrates, no nitrites, no MSG or the like. Excellent for spaghetti sauce, sausage subs, stir fry, goulash, breakfast, etc. Ingredients: Pork, Salt, Fennel, Black Pepper and Sugar. Made with natural hog casings
  • Chorizo Sausage – Linked, 2 per 1/2 lb package – A traditional fresh pork Spanish sausage. No nitrates, no nitrites, no MSG or the like. Just good meat and spices. In natural hog casings.Ingredients: Pork, Chili Pepper, Salt, Spices, Garlic Powder, Spice Extractives and Hog Casings
  • Kielbasa Smoked – Linked 1 lb to 1.5 lb packages – In natural hog casings. Excellent for eating fried with saurkraut, in chili, goulash and sandwiches. No nitrates, no nitrites, no MSG or the like. Ingredients: Pork, Water, Rice Flour, Maple Syrup, Salt, Fresh Garlic, Black Pepper. Sodium Erythorbate. Made with natural hog casings. No MSG. [2017 Note that some of our formulations have changed such as our kielbasa which no longer includes Sodium Erythorbate.]
  • Kielbasa Fresh – Linked 1 lb packages – In natural hog casings. Excellent for eating fried with saurkraut, in chili, goulash and sandwiches. No nitrates, no nitrites or the like. Does contain MSG. Ingredients: Pork, Salt, Dextrose, Spices,Monosodium Glutamate, Garlic Powder. [2017 Note that some of our formulations have changed such as our kielbasa which no longer includes MSG and dextrose.]
  • Breakfast Sage Sausage. – Bulk 1 lb packs – These are in patties for frying pans but we also do them as links sometimes. Delicious with eggs fried, scrambled and as an egg & sausage sandwich. Ingredients: Pork, Sage, Salt, Black Pepper, Sugar, Cloves.

In the Future

Once we have our brine room, smokehouse and curing rooms with proper temperature and humidity controls we’ll be able to do all sorts of other interesting charcuterie including:

  • Smoked Kielbasa – One of my favorites – rarely in stock right now.
  • Breakfast Maple Sausage – With real maple syrup!
  • Pepperoni
  • Summer Sausage
  • Salami – Various types
  • Pork Jerky

If you would like to make your own sausage at home it is quite easy. You can order whole cuts such as ham, Boston butt, picnic shoulder, pork belly or jowl and then grind them by hand or with a home power grinder. Chill the meat before grinding and between each regrind. Or you can simplify it one step by ordering ground pork which is made from the above. Then spice it and mix it by hand before stuffing it into casings which can be found at most hunting stores and online from companies like:

  • Some good books on sausage making from my library:

    Outdoors: 72°F/48°F Sunny
    Tiny Cottage: 69°F/66°F

    Daily Spark: “The making of laws is like the making of sausages— the less you know about the process the more you respect the result.” ~Attributed to Otto von Bismarck but it may have originated a century earlier.

    All ingredients are subject to change as we adjust formulas over the years as we continue to improve the recipes. Rest assured, we’re a NoWeirdStuff.org farm.

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  • About Walter Jeffries

    Tinker, Tailor…

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    18 Responses to Of Sausage and Law

    1. Phoebe says:

      Do you think you will offer paleo, GAPS or SCD friendly sausage and Bacon in the future? Maple sugar instead of white sugar? Celtic sea salt in the place of salt? The Italian are very close options.

    2. Alice Kaspar says:

      Chorizo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mexican sausage to brown and mix with eggs! YES! Please. Without snouts and glands.

      I found a recipe here:
      http://homesicktexan.blogspot.com/2009/01/making-my-own-mexican-chorizo.html

    3. Kristin says:

      What’s wrong with snouts & glands?

      • Glands can give a bitter taste to the meat, sausage, etc.

        Snouts people react negatively to, bad PR, and they are such little bits they simply go with the heads to the head buyers or to our dogs. Dogs gotta eat too.

    4. Attila says:

      You (and the old sausage maker) are right! The good sausage (and ALL olther foods) starts with good quality raw materials, and no other supplements. I was really surprised when reading the label of a factury-made sausage-like object, because it contained even potato starch. Since then we make our own sausage either from home slaughtered pigs or from pork we buy from home slaughter.

      We make Hungarian sausage (salt, paprika, pepper, garlic, caraway), and are satisfied with the result. Not only cheaper but better quality, than the one you can buy in the shop

    5. eggyknap says:

      I knew people used sheep casings, but didn’t know pork casings were also used. Can you tell this Luddite the difference between the two (other than the obvious “one comes from sheep, the other from pigs”)?

      • Diameter. It’s all about size. Sheep small intestines are just the right size for the classic hot dogs. Hog casings are just right for most sausages. Beef casings are much larger and used for some big sausages and such.

    6. S. L. says:

      I hope you make lots of different tyes of sausage. Varity is good.

    7. Someone asked about a recipe to make summer sausage. Although I greatly enjoy sumer sausage I have never made it so I don’t have a recipe to recommend. Here are three of the books that I have for sausage making that I would recommend:
      Home Sausage Making Techniques
      Great Sausage Recipes
      Home Production of Quality Meats and Sausages

    8. George Wages says:

      I love your web site. I live in Arkansas and raise large black, red wattles and just got my first pair of Berks. Also raise ducks and about 150 sheep. Its 9.00 pm and Iam on my way back out to the barns. My question is How do you have time to produce this wonderful page? I barely have time to read it
      REGARDS. GEORGE

      • Mostly I write at night as a way to relax, to record thoughts of the day. If I’m monitoring a sow out in the field I might write. Mostly I write in my head and then when I get some computer time I just type it up – I’m a fast typist. A lot of the blog articles are ways that I keep track of how we do things. We look back at old ones to check things at times. The thing that does suck up time on the blog is if I have to change web server hosts and do maintenance stuff like that. Less interesting but still has to be done. This is why I try to stay with a web host, software, hardware, etc for as long as possible.

    9. Val Vetter - Piney Woods Ranch, Winnsboro, Texas says:

      Hi Walter and Holly,

      Hey – I know in your other blogs you mention that you don’t use MSG in your meats except the Kielbasa – where it’s in the “mix” already, and that most of your products don’t have nitrates or nitrites. I also read that part of the reasons you’re building your own butcher shop is to control this yourself.

      Personal beliefs about MSG, Nitrates, and Nitrites aside (some people just want what they want based on what *they* think they know!) I was curious if your current meat processor won’t work with you on this.

      We use a local, state-inspected meat processor who didn’t know “organic” from his elbow – BUT – being a family-owned, smaller company – they were VERY willing to work with us – to the point of even being willing (with some assurances on our part) to buy organic sausage seasoning mixes and ham/bacon cures. Turns out, we know several other small raisers that use the same processor – and when they found out we had organic seasonings in stock, they were happy to use them as well – solving any worries about the processor being “stuck” with cases of 5 different mixes of seasonings that nobody wanted.

      Anyway, just curious if your processor told you “This is what he use and if you don’t like it, you should build your own place!” – which I’m very happy to say that ours didn’t! After all, I’d hate to go through all the trouble and expense of raising a CNG pig – only to have the processor add a bunch of unpronounceable ingredients to our fine meat!

      V

      • We actually have two kielbasas. One is done by the butcher we work with and their formulation has the MSG. The other is my own formulation which has no MSG and is smoked. This is done at the same smokehouse we do our hot dogs, again my own formulation on that.

        The butcher we work with weekly is a small family owned operation (Adams Slaughter in Mass) but they are so busy that they don’t have time to do special batches right now. The issue is the time it takes to do the necessary HACCP plan, keep the batches separate and that their smokehouse is already running at full capacity.

        With the secondary smokehouse we do large batches of 300 lbs at a time to get smoked kielbasa and hot dogs done our way with our formulations. It is about a once a month thing for us because the batches are large and it is an extra drive.

        Personally, we have no sensitivity to MSG or nitrates/nitrites so they’re not an issue. The recent research says they’re not an issue in normal consumption. But we have customers who want it without so we make it without either for them.

        When we have our own smokehouse setup we’ll be able to do all sorts of interesting things…

    10. Adam DeGraff says:

      Quick question. I notice you don’t use nitrites/nitrates, which is wonderful. I am interested in fermented sausages and cured hams and bacon. Do you know of a safe way to makes these delicacies without the use of sodium nitrate or nitrate? I know the FDA says NO. But mine would not be for sale. Just for my family, from our pastured pork. I’d love to cure or ferment (without the nitrite/nitrates), NOT freeze or refrigerate, and then eat without cooking. Any thoughts or references you have come across in your charcuterie studies?
      Love your blog and website. Thankful for all you share!

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