The leaves are falling, temperatures are dropping, you have to dig through your closet to find your hoody and wait you have to wear real shoes outside? Yes the inevitability of fall arriving and summer ending certainly does have its downfalls. It also brings one of those great celebrations where we as Americans are really not sure of its origin or importance, but we do know it involve lots of drinking and lots and lots of delicious foods. Oktoberfest is more of a festival than anything else filled with all of lives joys, good beer, friends, drunken singing and of course sausage. As your polishing off your 14th Brat of that weekend at one of Boston's Oktoberfest celebrations you may wondering what makes these thing so damn tasty and maybe after another stein or two your feeling bold enough to take on the venture at home. I say go for it, so what if you don't have a casing machine, you don't need it. Simply follow these 7 tips below and you end up with a delicious patty, link or puck of some quality homemade sausage. Whats the wurst that could happen.....
1. Fat – Sausage is all about the fat its what makes the rougher cuts of meats so flavorful and juicy. Aim for between 30-40% fat when choosing meats to create your sausage. Pork shoulder equals about 30% fat. If needed you can added skin or eggs yolks to increase the fat percentage.
2. Salt – The key to any dish really, not enough and it will taste bland you want to taste that delicious sausage you’ve worked so hard on. I’ve found 9 grams per pound of meat is the perfect about of salt
3. Toast Your Seasonings – This may seem obvious to some but the few extra minutes spend toasting and grinding whole spice realses the inner oils and makes your sausage incredible fragrant. Go ahead and toast and grind some coriander, tell me it doesn’t smell like fruity pebbles
4. Buy whole cuts of meat – If you can buy shoulders or bellys and butcher them yourself this is the best as you can see the fat on the meat to give you a better understanding. After they are butchered it is best to cube and season your meat in the fridge 1 night before grinding. Don’t have a grinder ask you local butcher to grind the cuts youd like and season overnight in your fridge.
5. Keep cool – Literally, cool temperatures are vital to create a quality sausage. Warm temperature don’t allow the meat to bind together, which in turn doesn’t allow you to add much liquid to you sassauge mix resulting in a dry hunk of meat. In between steps it is best to allow the meat to cool in the fridge or freezer. PRO TIP: Chill meat in a thin layer around the outside of a metal bowl and throw it in the freezer to 15 minutes if it is crusty but not frozen it is perfect
6. Make a small test patty – After all the work you’ve put in the worst thing would be to have a under or poorly seasoned sausage. To prevent the mistake of making a dozen brats to only find out you forgot to add salt, saute a small test patty to check for seasoning
7. Enjoy yourself – There is a reason why almost every culture around the world has their variations of sausage 1 because they delicious and 2 because it takes low quality cuts of meat that some could call scrapes and turns them into something amazing. So play around with different seasoning, animals, cuts of meat and even techniques, (see boudin noir for the truly bold). As long as you follow the first 5 steps listed and odds are you end up something absolutely mouthwatering. Now go grab yourself a beer as you'll need something to wash down all that meat with.
Want to enjoy the wonders of homemade sausage and other scratch cooking made from farm fresh ingredients but don't have the time to do it yourself. Check out our upcoming Guest Chef events on October 25th and November 8th, featuring local chefs cooking with local food for a intimate and unique dining experience. As always we love to know what you'd liked to see on the menu so feel free to email us at TBDfoods@gmail.com with any questions