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.

 

DSC_0006
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.

 

DSC_0012
Home School classroom turned sausage production room.  The next day, I got to learn how to use a steam cleaner.
DSC_0019
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. “

 

DSC_0021
“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.
DSC_0014
We ground the meat once, through a course die half frozen and into a bowl floating in ice. The grinder barely got warm.
20140414-195236.jpg
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.

 

DSC_0025
My fingers have never been colder. My confidence was beginning to falter.

 

DSC_0038
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!)

 

DSC_0035
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.

 

DSC_0034  DSC_0036

DSC_0039
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.
DSC_0051
A third party entered into the fray, ready to help despite his limited age and experience.

 

DSC_0055
The youngster was game, but demanded gloves.

 

 

DSC_0057
“Dad, this kind of looks like poop.”

 

DSC_0060

 

DSC_0074
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.
DSC_0075
There’s no shame to admitting to a draw.
DSC_0078
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.

DSC_0079

DSC_0069
I wanted to quit.
20140414-195435.jpg
Ran out of twine, Oliver’s kite string was commandeered. That’s what happens when you bail on us for Sponge Bob.

 

DSC_0082
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.

 

DSC_0049

DSC_0042
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.

 

20140414-195301.jpg
In the 7th hour, we didn’t care how the sausage looked. Hungry, tired, with shaking fingers we battled on…

 

 

20140414-195508.jpg
Blocks of ice lined the bottom of the cooler and we finished. 100 pounds of sausage stuffed and tied. Tomorrow we’d smoke.

 

20140414-195601.jpg
The next day we are ready to smoke. It’s supposed to rain, but we braved the elements.

 

 

20140414-195701.jpg
Our initial setup which would be fine tuned to meet our needs.

 

20140414-195733.jpg
Smoke is already rolling up even before our roof goes on.
20140414-195753.jpg
Small fire, we would later add more wood to speed the process
20140414-195821.jpg
View from above as the roof went on.

 

20140414-200014.jpg
Our original window was pool towel. Then we found one more piece of tin.

 

 

20140414-195917.jpg
Scene from behind the towel. Magical.

 

20140414-200142.jpg
We soon switched to this marvel of engineering which allowed us to see the temperature inside our smoker without opening the window.
20140414-200202.jpg
Monitoring the internal temperature of the sausage, we slid the wire thermometer into a thick link inside.
20140414-200235.jpg
Almost done
20140414-200336.jpg
The sheet metal above the fire (oak and pecan) prevents direct heat cooking.
20140414-200416.jpg
Threw on some ribs because I hate to waste smoke
20140414-200520.jpg
Pulling off the goods

 

20140414-200602.jpg
About to take an ice bath to stop further cooking.

 

20140414-200303.jpg
Artsy.
20140414-200711.jpg
Sausage on Deck

20140414-200817.jpg

20140414-200752.jpg
Chillin
20140414-200917.jpg
Function over form.
20140414-200935.jpg
Rain actually helped the process–kept the smoker cool.
DSC_0095
Gazing longingly into your own smokehouse while it’s smoke embraces the sausages you made is one of life’s finer treasures.
20140414-201011.jpg
It started raining and we had to make adjustments to our master of engineering.
20140414-201723.jpg
The view through our window
20140414-201757.jpg
A gastronomic peep show
DSC_0093
We had to test some of the product.
20140414-201848.jpg
Victory.
Advertisements

10 comments

  1. Sausage making always turns into a slog. I thought it was just us. We oven roasted our last year, but they came out super dry. These look amazing. I love your DIY smoker.

  2. Amber, the smoker worked perfectly. Next time, all I would change is the rebar I used to hang the links. It’s too rough and tore a few. I only have about $50 dollars into my smoke house, but really how can you put a price on love?

  3. As we are about to embark on the sausage making road this was a great post. We are going to simplify things: We’ll provide the meat (beef in our case though venison and pork sounds yummo) and contract out the sausage making for payment in sausages. We’re also about to build a small smoker for fish, out of a cooking oil drum – smoked some catfish last week and were very happy with the results.

  4. They look really good indeed ! And that smoker looks the best! Am loving it! We have a bunch if building sites not far from us.. Am sure they maybe able to ‘ donate’ a few parts for a smoker like yours. Cool!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s