Dueling Sausage–A Photo Odyssey
Not surprisingly, German Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck–the only man who is known for turning down a chance at a
sausage duel to the death–had this to say, “Laws are like sausages. It’s better not to see them being made.” To that I say fooey. Here’s a ringside seat for the duel between 2 rookie sausagemen and 100 pounds of free range meat.
This meat grinder, a 1 3/4 hp Cabela’s Commercial Grade Grinder is the real deal. Silver skin is no match. My old grinder would produce a meat “paste” and would get really hot.
Home School classroom turned sausage production room. The next day, I got to learn how to use a steam cleaner.
Early in the bout, the tag team pair were confident bordering on cocky, “We have plenty of time to build the fire, we should be smoking in about 2 hours. “
“Cutting the meat up in cubes, measuring the spices and grinding the meat is the long part. Stuffing, tying and smoking will go quickly,” said me before a I was properly educated.
We ground the meat once, through a course die half frozen and into a bowl floating in ice. The grinder barely got warm.
This part was tough. There is a thing known as the “primary bind” where you mix a liquid with your ground meat. The liquid needs to be ice cold. This is 100 pounds of ground meat, half frozen and it was brutal on our hands.
My fingers have never been colder. My confidence was beginning to falter.
The tray guard did not last long. I don’t suggest you remove it, but we lost a screw in the process and it was deemed useless. (Special Prize in one sausage!)
The easy way to explain how you put this a casing onto the stuffer attachment is not appropriate for younger audience, so lets just say its kind of like rolling a water balloon onto a garden hose.
The most difficult aspect of the whole project was tying the sausages. We mistakenly thought it was necessary, now I’ve learned it’s not. Never again will I tie.
A third party entered into the fray, ready to help despite his limited age and experience.
The youngster was game, but demanded gloves.
“Dad, this kind of looks like poop.”
So we started at 12:30. It’s now 11 pm. I’m guessing we aren’t going to smoke’m tonight. Let’s make some giant spiral sausages.
There’s no shame to admitting to a draw.
A stand alone devoted stuffer would have sped things up , but the grinder’s sausage attachment was pretty fast after we got the hang of it.
I wanted to quit.
Ran out of twine, Oliver’s kite string was commandeered. That’s what happens when you bail on us for Sponge Bob.
At this point, form was thrown out the window. I just wanted to be done. Fortunately the last batch was in the hopper. We could see the end.
I failed to notice the “hang and dry for two hours” portion of the recipe. We were left scrambling for rods to hang them from.
In the 7th hour, we didn’t care how the sausage looked. Hungry, tired, with shaking fingers we battled on…
Blocks of ice lined the bottom of the cooler and we finished. 100 pounds of sausage stuffed and tied. Tomorrow we’d smoke.
The next day we are ready to smoke. It’s supposed to rain, but we braved the elements.
Our initial setup which would be fine tuned to meet our needs.
Smoke is already rolling up even before our roof goes on.
Small fire, we would later add more wood to speed the process
View from above as the roof went on.
Our original window was pool towel. Then we found one more piece of tin.
Scene from behind the towel. Magical.
We soon switched to this marvel of engineering which allowed us to see the temperature inside our smoker without opening the window.
Monitoring the internal temperature of the sausage, we slid the wire thermometer into a thick link inside.
The sheet metal above the fire (oak and pecan) prevents direct heat cooking.
Threw on some ribs because I hate to waste smoke
Pulling off the goods
About to take an ice bath to stop further cooking.
Sausage on Deck
Function over form.
Rain actually helped the process–kept the smoker cool.
Gazing longingly into your own smokehouse while it’s smoke embraces the sausages you made is one of life’s finer treasures.
It started raining and we had to make adjustments to our master of engineering.
The view through our window
A gastronomic peep show
We had to test some of the product.