Friday, November 27, 2015

Making Apple Cider Vinegar

Delicious homemade apple cider vinegar in 3-4 weeks!


Ingredients:
Apples
Dry yeast

Tools:
Fruit crusher
Fruit press
Cheesecloth
Knife
Plastic or wooden spoon
Cooking pots
Cooking thermometer
Stainless steel funnel with removable strainer
Plastic or glass bottles with lids

Instructions:
Choose apples that have a high sugar content and that are fully ripe. Examples include Gala, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Fuji and Jona Gold. You can cut the apples into small pieces but this isn't necessary if you have a crusher. After crushing, press the apples in a fruit press and filter the juice through a piece of straining cloth. Set aside 1 qt. of juice and pour your dry yeast in. After stirring the yeast until it dissolves, add the mixture back into the rest of the apple juice.

NOTE: Adding yeast to activate fermentation is not essential, but will speed up the process. Pour your juice into containers and fill them to about two-thirds. Cover with cheesecloth and put them in a dark place. The temperature should be around 60° to 80° at all times. Stirring the apple cider vinegar once a day for 3 weeks is recommended, tasting it for desired flavor each time. Full fermentation will take about 3 to 4 weeks. Once at your satisfaction, filter the apple cider vinegar through a cheesecloth to remove the mother of vinegar, this filtration will stop any more fermentation from taking place.

Pour your vinegar into a large pot and cook it over low heat, stirring frequently, until the temperature reaches 140°F to pasteurize it. Once the vinegar is cooked, use a funnel to pour the pasteurized vinegar into clean glass bottles. Put the lids on the bottles and set them into a hot water bath to further sterilize them. Allow the bottled vinegar to cool and store it in a refrigerator.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

How to Make Apple Butter


Apple Butter is a tasty and healthier alternative to butter, and can be used in combination with or in place of regular butter in a variety of recipes. It's also delicious on toast or in a variety of baked goods.

It all starts with freshly pressed apple juice, and here's how we do it:

Prep Time: Under 15 min
Cook Time: About 25 min
Makes: About 2 cups

Ingredients:
4 pounds of tart/sweet apples (think Granny Smith)
1/3 cup fresh pressed apple juice or cider 2/3 cup maple syrup (or use dark brown sugar)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Ground cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, or any other spices you like (to taste)

Instructions:
Begin by peeling and coarsely chopping the apples. You can also use a fruit crusher to mince them to the perfect size. Place all the ingredients in a large heavy bottom pot with a tight lid. Bring it to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently and being sure not to burn the bottom of the pot.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the apples soft and mashable--approximately 15-20 minutes.

Remove the apple mixture from the heat and puree with an immersion blender or with gentle pulses from a food processor.

Store it in the fridge in an air-tight container and use in within 2-3 weeks. It won't take that long. It is delicious on toast, muffins, pancakes or in a variety of dishes. Enjoy!

Friday, November 20, 2015

How to Make a Dry Curing Chamber

When doing research into dry curing, I soon realized how precious little there is on the subject. The dry curing method I am referring to is the hanging of sausages filled with choice meats, saltdextrose (or sugar), fresh spices and sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate (Insta Cure #2) in a controlled environment with relatively low temperatures and high humidity. Ideally, this is done where the climate permits, which is why Italy has for so long produced the best dry cured (salumi) products, and for the same reason San Francisco has become the unofficial U.S. capital of Italian salumi. Some of the traditional dry cured meats include sopressata, capicola, prosciutto, pepperoni and the leader of the pack, salami. Being in Buffalo, NY this would have been perfect to do in the winter months, but we tend to crave salami even in the summer. Most people live in climates and environments that do not have ideal temperatures and humidity for prolonged periods of time. So, we have to create them. Once the controlled space has been created, it won’t matter where you live or what season it is. You can have dry cured pepperoni, salami, capicola… you name it. That was one of the main reasons for making this curing chamber: It will take the climate in your location virtually out of the equation by letting you create your own micro-climate.

The parts list shows each product used individually, its estimated cost, whether or not we carry the item, our recommendation for its use and why the product is needed in the first place. 

First, we need something that will provide hanging space and keep a cold temperature. What better than a refrigerator? People are always selling their old fridges - open up the local classifieds or Craigslist and you’ll find one in no time. A quick peek through and I found at least 5 in and near my hometown with prices ranging from $50-300. I would go for a middle-of-the-road, maybe $150 one. The majority of refrigerators sold are “frost-free,” which will not be a problem because the automatic defrosting will be countered by the humidifier and the humidity controller. The fridge we have has the freezer in the bottom portion, which also turned out to be a major plus in the construction of our chamber. Refrigerators that have the freezer on the left or right side of the fridge provide less room for hanging large diameter salami or prosciutto, so I would recommend the models with the freezer under the fridge portion. I would also strongly recommend you purchase a refrigerator with a "ground" (it should have a three-prong plug).


1
2

First thing: We gutted the fridge of all its loose shelves and lockers. Even if it appeared clean, we used an antibacterial cleaner with bleach. Try to get into the corners too, since the conditions for "bad" mold growth will be introduced into this relatively small space and we want the good mold to form on our products’ casings and not some potentially dangerous foreign mold. 

At this point we tested the refrigerator without the temperature controller to see what the lowest (warmest) setting is and ours was around 38°F, which is too cold. We plugged the fridge into the temperature controller and set the temperature to 46°F. The fridge turned on once the temperature rose 2° above 46°F. The cooling compressor kicked into gear and the temperature started to steadily drop. When it got to the set temperature it turned off again. The cycle continues for as long as the batteries are working or the unit is plugged in. And without fail, the temperature stayed close to the temperature we set it to. The controller has a cooler and heater setting, as well as a °C or °F setting, and wide vs. narrow temperature variance setting (read instructions thoroughly). 

The first invasive procedure: We have to be able to hang meat from something. A couple options come to mind. We can do it large smokehouse style, drill in some shelving brackets on the side walls and when ready, hang the salami off of the resting wooden (or metal) dowels. Another option is strategically putting screw hooks into the ceiling of the fridge then hanging the products off the hooks. Problems here would be the hooks' permanence and more likelihood of the product pulling the hooks out (make sure the threading on the hooks is thick). But, if done right, I think the screw hooks could be satisfactory. We decided on the brackets. Whatever you use, secure it well. With the amount of relative humidity and length of time per usage, you will want to use stainless steel screws, brackets, hooks, etc. or ABS plastics. 

Next we are going to cut out a large opening in the fridge/freezer divider. This will provide us with more usable space. This section will be the new home of our humidifier. The side walls and door typically contain nothing more than insulation, but be very careful not to damage the cooling system (it may have wiring, who knows. Unplug entire unit before digging around). When buying a used refrigerator, there is little hope that the seller will still have the manual or siagrams that it may have come with originally. Ours didn't. The refrigerator we have has a light fixture in the precarious portion of the feezer where we want to cut a large hole, so this is what we did. Find the model number of the unit - ours was "596.69142991" and we found it on a plate/label on the ceiling of the fridge in plain view (pictures 3 & 4). The manufacturer's name is also on the label. Jot it down, locate it from the list on appliance411.com and when you enter the respective model's site, there should be a model # search. Our fridge is a Kenmore, so we went to searspartsdirect.com, entered the model #, a little navigating and we got exploded schematics of the inner workings of our unit (the parts, components, location of wiring, etc.). Some models may not be as lucky, but it's not a major problem if you remember (if you plan on doing any cutting) to do it with surgical gentleness, patience and care. You may not want to do any expanding of the area in your refrigerator. That's perfectly fine, actually even better; why bother fixing something that's not broken. If this is the case, skip the whole procedure. All you basically need are the items in the parts list but even so, read through the rest of the tutorial for additional tips on dry curing.

3

4

With the schematic diagram we now know where these wires are going and where to be especially careful when cutting (picture 5). We simply used a box cutter to cut the plastic and a large knife for the insulation. As mentioned earlier, the interior of the walls will be almost entirely insulation, so when cutting, it will get everywhere (pictures 5 & 6). The wiring diagram showed us where the wiring is, but it didn't say at what depth they are so when I was cutting the plastic surface with the box cutter, of course, I sliced 2 wires that lie just beneath the surface. No problems. I needed to splice and elongate the wires anyway so that I can hide them along the sides before covering the exposed areas. All I used was insulated wire, butt connectors, crimper and electrical tape. The insulation will also now be exposed around the cut out area. This can be covered with plastic wrap, hot-glueing plastic (ABS) strips over it, forming stainless steel over and screwing it in. You can use any food-safe materials to simply cover the exposed area. We have a lot of scrap metals in our shop so I used stainless steel, made them into large C brackets, locked them tightly into place with stainless steel screws and filled in the cracks with food-grade silicone sealant. If using this method (stainless steel), make a channel in the insulation (away from the metal), tuck the wiring into the channel and seal the wires with foam insulation to prevent accidental contact with the metal. Once held in place in the insulation, use liquid foam insulation to permanently keep the wiring away from the metal. The hole we cut was large enough to allow free flow of mist out of our humidifier into the chamber.


5

6
The aging/curing/fermenting chamber is completed. In both pictures above, the temperature controller is located on the top-left outside wall. It came with a bracket for installation. The controller will keep the internal temperature steady. The humidifier will produce moisture to the levels we need (more accurately with the humidity controller) The picture on the right shows a different humidity controller than is available through the Sausage Maker, but both do the same thing. Distilled water is highly recommended for the humidifier as it doesn't have calcium and metals, plus it is easier on the filter and humidifier in general. I cut a notch in the refrigerator's gasket for the thick cables (cords) to pass through without breaking the door's seal. The thin wires from the probes are simply pushed against the door's gasket when closed; moisture escaping through the tiny space it creates is insignificant. The HygroThermometer is on top of the unit, held in place with two simple homemade L brackets. The chamber is ready for use.

Use this tutorial loosely. If you don't have a bottom cooler, don't sweat it - just purchase a smaller humidifier or use food-grade sodium acetate or put inch-thick table salt on a wide tray with enough water to just saturate the salt or pipe in the moisture from outside the refrigerator. The humidity in this sort of chamber (using the humidifier) is not constant. It typically will rise quickly and then slowly (15 minutes or so) drop to the point before the humidity controller turns it on again. You could see fluctuations in the 10 to even 15% range. That may seem pretty extreme, but the humidity will mostly stay around its set level and for most recipes it will work just fine. Anyway, the humidity controller helped a lot in keeping the humidity close enough to what we wanted and is a great product.

Now that the unit is complete, it is time for the "dry run." Test your chamber thoroughly and document the results without any meat. What range is the temperature inside experiencing? How about the humidity? Keep good records of the testing because they very well may come in handy later on. There may have to be tweaks along the way and it likely will not be perfect. But what we want is not perfection; we want a dry curing chamber that gets the job done. So once you are satisfied with the dry runs, it's time to get it started with an actual recipe. You will notice that many dry curing recipes demand a warm and moist environment (incubation) for a couple hours or even days before they are put in a cool one. The temperatures in those recipes are unlikely to reach beyond 90°F, so a hot plate may be overkill. What we did for our recipe was put two 75W incandescent light bulbs inside (not too close to the walls) and plugged them into the temperature controller which we set to heat, and then set our high temperature. The bulbs were connected to outdoor weatherproof lampholders to protect from exposure to the humidity. We strongly recommend you use weatherproof holders and/or bulbs. Now that you have a chamber of your own, start with a less demanding recipe such as pepperoni before going into something like a large-diameter salami. The very long, 6+ month recipes for products like prosciutto or capicola may be difficult to duplicate with this relatively small unit. DO NOT TRY such demanding projects before becoming completely knowledgeable and experienced on the subject of dry curing.


7

For anyone who wants to start a hobby of dry curing or even has a beginner's knowledge of the subject, we STRONGLY recommend reading a complete yet understandable book on the subject. The Sausage Maker has recently made available a book that covers the subject's intricacies with language that doesn't discourage the beginner nor oversimplifies the complexities involved. Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you the newest Sausage Maker favorite: The Art of Making Fermented Sausages by Stanley and Adam Marianski. Hope this tutorial was helpful, or at least got you going in the right direction!

-Sausage Maker Mac 

Recipes from the Sausage Maker

Follow the links below for detailed instructions on making some of our favorite sausage and barbecue recipes!

Have you created a masterpiece using one of these recipes or developed your own, perhaps inspired by Sausage Maker products? Tell us about it!


Sausage-Making Equipment Explained

When our founder, Rytek, first started making sausages with his parents as a youth, his tools were limited to a simple knife (for chopping the meat) and a funnel (for stuffing the casings). Today, we offer equipment that is not just affordable, but is built to serve you and your family for years to come. Let us take the mystery out of buying meat processing equipment, and help you find just what you need, nothing more, nothing less. 

Meat Grinders are powered by a hand crank or a 110V electric motor. Meat grinders are used to chop, mince and grind whole pieces of meat into a ground form. A variety of different sized grinders are available depending on the scale of your projects. By feeding meat into the top of the moving grinder, a rotating corkscrew auger advances the meat toward the blades. Both manual and electric meat grinders have the ability to stuff sausages to an extent, using a stuffing tube. Grinder plates are circular disks of metal with a honeycomb appearance. The holes in the plate vary in size, and can easily be changed out by unscrewing the locking ring on the end of the grinder. Grinder knives are used in conjunction with the grinder plate and work to chop meat before it is extruded by the auger. 

Sausage Stuffers are powered by a hand crank or a 110V electric motor and controlled by a foot pedal. Mostly used in commercial and high volume settings. Sausage stuffers are the next step after buying a meat grinder for those who are serious about stuffing sausages. They allow the user to fill sausage casings without further chopping or smearing the meat, leading to a better texture and a more uniform product. Sausage Maker created the very first stainless steel vertical sausage stuffer. Our vertical stuffers, manual and electric alike, operate on the same principal. After filling the cylinder with ground meat, a piston pushes the meat toward the bottom and it is extruded through whatever size stuffing tube you’ve attached.

Smokehouses serve the dual function of both enhancing the flavor of, and curing, meats. Our smokehouses are specially designed for hanging hams, sausages, poultry and fish as well as for making jerkies. A smokehouse works on a very simple principal: Chips or sawdust from hardwood trees (such as cherry or hickory) are wetted and placed in a small metal pan. The sawdust pan is placed in the smoker on top of a small burner, which slowly burns the sawdust and releases smoke. By adjusting the thermostat and utilizing the dampers, the amount of smoke and heat can be controlled depending on the project. 

Fermenting Crocks have channels around the rims that are filled with water to create a seal, keeping air out but letting gasses escape. Brining crocks do not feature a water channel (air-tight seal). Sausage Maker was one of the first companies to introduce European fermenting crocks to the U.S. market. They can be used for fermenting a variety of healthy and delicious veggies, as well as for brining some types of meats. 

Dehydrators are used to dry fruits, veggies and meats for longer storage, or to achieve a different texture/taste. We offer both plastic and stainless steel dehydrators with different capacities depending on needs and preferences. After thinly slicing fruits, veggies or meats, they are placed on the dehydrator trays, and the dehydrator is set for the desired amount of time. Once the dehydrator is running, a small fan and a heating element work together to circulate a large volume of warm air around the food. After foods have been thoroughly dried, they can be stored at room temperature for a number days or even weeks.

The Sausage Maker online store and our two physical locations offer all the sausage making supplies you'll need to start making and serving your own delicious sausages. As always, feel free to contact our customer service department with any questions about the equipment that's right for you!

The Beginner's Guide to Sausage Making

The Down-Sell Promise:
Sausage making and especially meat curing projects such as dry curing sopressata or making your own cured ham can be intimidating when first starting out. The last thing you want is a company telling you that you NEED equipment or tools that you actually could have done without. 90% of the time, specialized equipment is for making a job easier, not necessarily making a better or tastier finished product. If there is minimal effect on product quality, we will recommend what is most economical... because that's what Sausage Buddies do, buddy.


So put the wallet away and let's talk sausage:

Intro to the Intro
If you're doing your homework then you've probably already read about Homer's Odyssey mentioning sausagewhat is actually in hot dogs (spoiler: not eyeballs), statistics on worldwide consumption of sausage and somehow ended up in the weird part of YouTube. None of that matters anymore... because you ended up in our comforting, sausage-finger embrace. Welcome home.

Pick a Recipe, Any Recipe
There are so many sausage recipes its downright crazy. Before getting into the more complex preparation, curing and cooking methods, lets get a foundation in fresh sausage. This is a sausage that is going to be eaten the day-of, refrigerated for a few days or kept in the freezer before thawing, cooking and eating later. Fresh sausage is not smoked, it is not fermented, and not dried/aged (AKA dry cured). It is the ultimate basic recipe. Trouble deciding? Check out our recipes page! All fresh sausage recipes will be titled so you can identify right away which to pick from. Or see our seasoning list for ideas.

Spices or Seasoning?

Once a particular recipe has caught your attention, check that the key components are listed: 1.) main ingredient (usually meat), 2.) spices, 3.) casing. These are the 3 components that make up sausage recipe. Nothing more, nothing less. Remove the casing and you have burger. Remove the meat and you have chitlins. Remove the spices and... I dare you to call that sausage. Spices are often blended together to create seasonings. We currently carry over 70 recipe seasonings that you can make without buying individual spices and making the blends yourself, usually in the $8-15 range and they make 50 pounds! BUT, if you are feeling daring and want to make your own sausage recipe blend, we love and support your tenacity! Before carving into your savings at the grocery store for a shot-glass of ground mustard, see our spice list and prices... just be sure you're sitting down. If you want to use that 4-year-old jar of ground paprika in your cabinet, first check for spice bugs (it happens...), then taste a small amount on your finger. If you don't make a funny face, they probably lost their flavor. Don't even think about using it in your batch; garbage in, garbage out. Don't use less than 2% salt... meaning if you're making 5 lbs sausage, you should have 0.1 lbs (approx. 1.5 oz or 3 TBSP), and not more than 3% (which is 2.5 oz or 4.5 TBSP) fine salt. And the salt should be non-iodized, if possible. It won't have a significant impact for a small fresh sausage batch, but it is best practice to use non-iodized. Stay away from sea salt and the magic pink Himalayan stuff for now. Trace minerals in sea salts can affect the taste (not in good way) and the only pink-colored salt you should have nearby if making sausage is Insta Cure #1 (more on cures in an advanced lesson). If you already have limited edition Tibetan monk-mined salt, please take care to label and separate from Insta Cure or other curing salt.

Meat Selection!

We've heard it so many times: "I wanted to make great sausage, so I bought pork tenderloin (or beef sirloin), but it came out dry, flaky and tough!" Don't make this mistake. Sausage needs fat. Plain and simple. It needs at the very least 20% fat content. If you have dietary restrictions, there are fat alternatives, but certainly no substitutes. With sausage, pork is king, and every Sausage Maker's cut of choice is pork shoulder (AKA Boston butt, AKA pork butt). Before you have a giggle-fit, the "butt" is referring to the front end of the animal... not the rear. Ask or look for "untrimmed." This will have a what is referred to as a "fat cap," which is a layer of fat on one side. You can use this layer to add fat to your grind if the muscle is not well marbled (too lean). For beef, use beef chuck, which is also the shoulder portion. These cuts will give you between 20-30% fat content, which is perfect. For chicken and turkey use at least 1/2 thighs in recipe and remainder use breast. 

Ye Olde Meat Grinder

Same basic design for over a century, chops big pieces into little pieces that can more easily be stuffed into casings or worked into a fancy-ah meat-ah ball. The grinder is explained in depth in our Equipment Explained post, which gives you tips on choosing which is right for you. We carry both manual (turn-crank) meat grinders and electrics. If your house has electricity, save yourself and use the electric style. For brevity's sake, let's just focus on the grind. Essentially, there are fine, medium and coarse grinds. These grinds are dependent on the size of the grinder plate's holes. Fine (1/8-3/16"), medium (1/4-3/8") and coarse (5/16" and up). Typically you want a grind that is not too coarse or you'll get chunky bits, and not too fine and paste-like. The all-around best and naturally the most common grind is 1/4". You can buy plastic-wrapped ground meat that is 80/20 too (meaning 80% lean meat and 20% fat), a bit less fun but perfectly fine in a pinch. OR you can use a sharp knife and chop, chop, chop until you have your "grind"... this is the pre-industrialization way, also the lose-your-fingertip way, not TSM recommended. A grinder is one of those necessary pieces of equipment, especially because it does the work FAST, and when handling/processing raw meats, time out of refrigeration needs to be minimized. Also a great-to-have item is a spacer plate - if you aren't on market for a sausage stuffer (...yet) then you will need this for sausage making with your grinder. It just creates a larger opening for ground/seasoned meat to pass through easier, prevents the auger from falling out and does not re-chop/cut your meat. 

Bringin' It All Together

Spices/seasoning? Check. Ground meat? Check. Water, beer, wine? Not just for human enjoyment... When mixing the spices together with the ground meat, it is important to also add liquid at about 1 oz per pound of meat. Anywhere from a cup to a pint per 10 pounds of meat. This will help in two ways: 1.) disperses your spices much better into the ground meat than dry pouring and 2.) adds moisture. The juiciness comes from the fat content, but a little water can go a long way as well. Get your mixing gloves on and mix enthusiastically for 5-10 minutes (like kneading dough, it will begin to set into what is called the "primary bind"). You'll know when it is ready because all the water is absorbed, the meat has become very clingy (difficult to mix), will either change color (typically much duller) or develop a sheen... AND if you look closely it will have little mountain-like peaks when pulled apart (more about Myosin protein extraction saved for advanced lesson). Before moving on, take a tablespoon's worth of your mixed meat onto a small dish and microwave for a few minutes... exact time is tricky, but start with 4 minutes and increase if not ready. This will give you an idea of what the sausage will taste like; missing a that garlicky zip you wanted? Not too late to add some. How about spiciness - more cayenne, maybe more salt is needed? This should be your only time tampering with the recipe and mixing in extra anything. Adding a few ounces of water with the additions will help it better disperse, but don't add more than a few ounces of water. 
*C
oncerned about undercooking? Use a trusty rapid-read thermometer when removed from microwave spear the center and if 180F, give it a moment to cool and eat.

Half-Time!

OK. Great work! Almost there... at this point, if meat has been out for over 20 minutes in room temperature, wrap it in plastic wrap or food grade container and place it in the fridge for an hour. There is no reason to cut corners and take unnecessary risks here. Take this time to do some cleaning while the meaty bits haven't dried to the equipment yet. Also... take a look down. In the fun of it all, a meaty bit may have hit the floor while you were grinding and wiping sweat from your brow. This is prime time to open, rinse (inside and out) and soak your natural casings (hog home packs used for this guide, beef collagen available for pork restrictions) in tepid water until ready for stuffing. **Fast Forward in Space-Time.** 

Intro to Stuffing
Okay, so we're ready for stuffing. Apply the casings on the tube of your choice. Casing should be loose enough to easily pull off, and you can get quite a bit on a standard tube. Stuffing can be accomplished one of 3 ways. The Crazy Way: with your hands and a funnel/horn, thumbing the meat into the casing... yikes. The Economical Way: putting the ground meat through the meat grinder again, this time with the spacer plate (mentioned earlier) attached and knife removed. If this is the path you have chosen, place the meat and grinder assembly (plate/spacer, knife, auger, head/housing and tray) in the freezer instead of fridge for an hour prior to stuffing. The Best Way: The sausage stuffer is an investment that you will find invaluable for future sausage making endeavors. It will keep your grind the consistency you want, prevent air from being forced into casing and make stuffing a quiet, efficient and fun part of the process. But for your first batch, you can give 'er a go with your meat grinder. It's good to have knowledge of the different options you have available. 

Taking Shape!

In simple terms, you are going to feed meat through a tube and into a casing. Here are some tips on the stuffing phase of the operation:


For Grinders: It is best to do this fast. Grinders can warm up in a few short minutes and we can't let the meat quality be impacted (this is why the components were in the freezer). Once your grinder is ready, apply the casings. Typically you won't be able to get MUCH on the tubes because often stuffing tubes are conical for grinders. This is supposed to lessen backups but it really limits the amount you can apply. A kitchen grinder should not be running for more than 30 minutes at a time, and neither should you... take a break, you both earned it. When stuffing and making links, fill to about 3/4 to allow for more tension later when twisting into links. You will notice a significant amount of air is forced in with the meat. This is normal and can be annoying - it is a drawback of grinder-stuffing but manageable. When your rope, loop or links are done, you can pop the air pockets with a sterilized sewing needle or sausage pricker.
For Stuffers: Fill the cylinder with your seasoned burger meat (yes, you absolutely should set some seasoned patty-making ground meat aside for burgers). With every dual handful, pack it down into the cylinder. I like to make softball-sized meatballs and forcefully slam-dunk them into the cylinder with a loud Splat! This is not only a fun exercise that baffles new observers, but also has the effect of forcing out trapped air by squeezing it out on impact. When the cylinder is full, leave head-space (2") for the piston at the top, and base secured to your table with C-clamps. Apply casings to stuffing tube. When stuffing links, leave some room to relieve tension when linking by stuffing about 3/4 full. If making rope, fill to about 90% capacity. Filling to 100% will quickly be followed by the popping sound of a burst casing and sausage meat ending up on the table instead of in the casing. If this happens (and it will, happens to us ALL), simply place the bursted amount of meat into a little bowl and refrigerate for restuffing or cooking later. Don't forget to prick out the casings with a needle or pricker.

Trouble Applying Casings? Take an end and open it with your fingers. Before sliding it over the tube, with a casing end pull about 8-10" of it out of the container, open the end with your fingers and dip it into the container of water, allowing some water to enter. This will create a constant source of lubrication by creating a little pool inside the casings, so as you apply/slide more onto the tube, it will keep lubricating. A neat trick that helps 9 out of 10 times when casing sticks and seems immovable on stuffing tube.

Cooking, Storing, Eating

Far be it from us to tell you HOW to cook the sausage... It's up to you if you want to pan-fry, deep-fry, boil, broil, grill, smoke, steam, shoot microwaves at it or any other creative way you envision. Just be sure to cook the sausage to an internal temperature of 165F, that's it. Storing is best done with vacuum seal (tip: Place sausage in vacuum bags, then into freezer for an hour before vacuum sealing. This will prevent smushing/flattening of links). 

That's All, Folks!
Lots of text but, we promise, there is really nothing to it... Making your FIRST batch you will encounter and learn the best way that works for you. Just remember to keep the meat below 41F during handling and bring it over 165F when cooking. It is absolutely like riding a bike. You will be able to recall all the steps involved in a clear and systematic way, and it only gets easier and more fun and rewarding. Speaking of rewarding, you will be amazed at home cheap you can make better-than-store-bought sausage at home. It will pay for itself in dollars and smiling faces. Enjoy!

If you have ANY ANY ANY questions, don't hesitate to ask! We are waiting with our ears in the ON position and are ready to help. There are no silly questions. Better to ask than to wonder, right?

1-716-824-5814
customerservice@sausagemaker.com