This monthly cooking series features husband and wife team Barry and Kelley Courter.
Barry and Kelley Courter’s first attempt at making sausage from scratch might not be perfect in every way, but they tasted great and were pretty close to the right shape. They grilled the sausages and served them with grits, grilled onions, mushrooms and peppers.
If you want to learn more about making your own sausage, Main Street Meats is hosting a "Sausage Making 101" workshop on June 16 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. The class costs $60 and, by the end of it, you will get to sample the finished product, as well as take some home. For more information, visit mainstreetmeats.squarespace.com/shop/sausage-making-101-1.
• BARRY SAYS: Kelley and I both love trying new things when it comes to food, whether it's a new dish or a completely new type of food. I've wanted to try making our own sausage since watching Julia Child do on television years ago. There's just something earthy about it, and you know exactly what's in the sausage when you make your own.
• KELLEY SAYS: I recently got a new food mixer with a sausage-making attachment, so we decided to give it a try.
• BARRY: We did a lot of research on the process, looked for recipes, and we spent a fair amount of effort tracking down the casings. We wanted to use the natural variety and were somewhat surprised that they are not readily available locally, even at area butcher shops. A few sporting goods stores do carry them. We ordered enough for about 100 pounds of meat for about $20 from Walton's meat supply company out of Kansas.
• KELLEY: The casings were easier to handle than I imagined, though they did take a little getting used to.
We learned a couple of things in the process. You need to cut out any sinewy or lumpy fat pieces from the meat because it will clog the grinder. And it is important to fry up a small sample before stuffing the casings to get the right flavor.
I didn't realize how much seasoning it would take to get the right amount of flavor. We adjusted it three times. You can always add, but you can't take out.
Also, at least in our case, it took two people, with one of us feeding the sausage attachment on the grinder and the other working the casings to remove any air and to get the right shape.
But don't forget, you can always make patties if you don't want to fool with the casings.
All-in-all, it was a fun process and the result was a good sausage. I look forward to trying some different recipes.
• BARRY: Oh, I definitely want to try it again.
6 pounds pork
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons roasted fennel seed
Handful chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons fresh chopped chives
1 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons paprika
3 teaspoons salt
5 tablespoons rustic Italian spice (you can find this blend in most spice aisles)
Cut the meat into chunks small enough to fit into your grinder/processor.
We used the grinder's larger diameter disc and the larger-sized tube for stuffing the casings. Grind the meat, then add the ingredients. It is highly recommended that, at this point, you fry up a small sample to taste and add more spice as needed.
We ended up using about six to eight feet of casings for the amount of meat. Rinse the casings in cold water to remove the salt they are packed in. Run water through them as well. Let them soak in cold water and vinegar -- one teaspoon of vinegar to each cup of water -- for 15 minutes.
Use a little vegetable oil on the grinder tube to make loading the casing easier. Leave the end of the casing open with a couple of inches extra to allow air to escape. It can be tied off before cooking. Push the meat through the attachment, making sure to avoid any air pockets. It helps to have an extra person when doing this.
You can either twist the sausage into links during the process or once the casing is full.
Cook the meat as you would any other link sausage. We did ours on the grill.
Contact Barry and Kelley Courter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 42757-6354.
Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...