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The homemade sausage project: the balance of texture and flavour

Photo: Chain of homemade sausages

Photo: Chain of homemade sausages

Danny and I were given a mincer and sausage making attachment for the Kenwood Chef this Christmas. This was the final step in our homemade sausage making dream. I’ve fancied making sausages for months but have held back since Hank tipped that having the right equipment was essential in the long run.

Living near Newmarket, the award winning sausage making capital of England, the yen to produce our own must be floating in the air. Since I caught the bug I’ve researched Newmarket sausage making. This involved lots of stops at Sam’s stand for sampling and chats.  Sam only serves Musk’s bangers and burgers in his pork range. He confided that Musk’s only use organic free range pork for their products. No wonderd they taste so good.

Sourcing the meat was not a problem as The Carter Street butchers only sell organic free range pork. So in between reading up on sausage making on my mobile during my lunch breaks from work I motored over to Fordham and ordered a couple of shoulders of pork.

When I went to collect them, I could hardly totter away from the shop. Fred’s shoulders of pork were small, weighing in at around 750g. These were heavyweight whoppers at around three kilos each. They also had a good fat to lean ratio of about 20%. I sliced each shoulder into three and popped them in the freezer.

Sunday was earmarked as the inaugural sausage making day. Unfortunately Danny was away so it was just me and the Min Pins at the cliff face. I’d unfrozen a kilo joint and chopped the pork.  Seasoned with a basic mix of salt, pepper and a few herbs and spices the pork had been marinading in the fridge overnight. Using the heavy gauge profile I added the breadcrumbs as I minced the meat. Then I fried a tiny doll sized burger about 2cm in diameter and 1cm thick, to test for taste.

I started to tweak the mix for flavour. Frying a doll’s burger at each stage despite the impatience of my three small tasting assistants, who wolfed the remains of every sample down without comment. Each one equally good in their opinion and why wasn’t I cooking the lot in one go?

The journey from good to my perfect banger took about two hours. Lots of trips into the dark garden with the Min Pins to collect herbs by torch light. Eight doll’s burgers later we’d got the mix just right, so I passed the mince through the heavy gauge profile again. This can help mix in the herbs and spices. In retrospect this gave the perfect consistency and texture, refining the chunky mince into a country style mince.

However, geed up by the fun of an electric mincing machine, I selected the medium mincing profile and passed the mince through again. In a rush of enthusiasm I made my first chain of sausages and hung them in the larder for the flavours to develop.

The joy of cutting off a couple of sausages for supper was balanced by the disappointment of that first longed for bite. The final pass through the mincing machine had ruined the texture of the meat, this somehow affected the flavour. So I’ve discovered that a decent sausages has a perfect balance of texture and flavour, both enhance each other and it’s essential to get this just right.

The Min Pins didn’t agree.

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  1. Sausage making is easy and the more equipped, the easier it’ll be. I started out with a 5# manual grinder with a stuffing horn attachment. It worked okay on the salami sized sausages and for stuffing ground meat freezer bags but boy, was it a lot of cranking.

    The great thing about making your own sausage is the variety of sausages you can make and tailor to your taste buds… like garlic, mince up another clove or two. Same with pepper, salt, onions, fresh parsley, whatever.

    I’m going to be making some Texas Hot Links in the near future and can’t wait to throw them on the grill. 🙂

    Have fun!

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Julie

    Thanks for the tip. We are enjoying our Kenwood sausage adaptor so far. Incidentally we bought our skins from and they are superb.

  3. The Kenwood sausage adapter works well and is a good investment. If you don’t want to be the attachment sells reasonably priced hand crank devices plus all the other bits you need eg sausage sleeves

  4. OOh sounds very technical! I’ve been toying with the idea for some months now & thought of making skinless as I don’t fancy the sound of the casings(!) It’s probably not really worth us buying the equipment as we don’t eat a lot of meat, particularly sausages etc. Sounds like I may struggle witout equipment though. If I do ever get round to it I’ll let you know how I get on. I do a vegetarian sausage roll from Delia’s Christmas book and no-one ever guesses it’s not meat. I’ve just had her vegetarian cookery book for Christmas & there’s a similar recipe for sausages as opposed to sausage rolls so I will try those.

  5. While the sausages look pretty, I am guessing there were two issues: First and foremost, you overworked the meat. Next time coat pork that has been cut into 1-inch chunks with your salt and spices, then put into the freezer for an hour. Take it out and grind it once through whatever gauge you want; bangers would need the medium grind IMHO.

    Breadcrumbs? Seems like blasphemy…

    Also, you know you cannot re-freeze your sausages now – next time buy the pork shoulder, make sausages, vacuum-seal them (or wrap well in another manner) THEN freeze them. You’ll have sausages any time you want then.

    One more thing: If you are trying to make an emulsified sausage (like a hot dog), read up on it first — it can be VERY tricksy. One thing you’ll need to know is that everything that touches the meat, as well as the meat itself, needs to be as cold as you can stand it. Put the grinder in the freezer, the bowl, the other tools, everything. Warm meat and fat will fall apart and be fit only for the MinPins…

  6. Perhaps I didn’t pay attention to earlier posts but what did you use as the casing? and how did you find the Kenwood sausage attachment fared? Sausages is something I would really like to make but feel I might make a pigs ear of it! I have a Kenwood and if you think the sausage attachment is a good investment I might just spend some of my Christmas money on one.

  7. I’m a vegetarian, but my husband is not and he loves his meat, we have discussed buying a sausage maker for him, as, at least then you can make up your own recipes and you know exactly what is going into them, I think, if you are going to eat sausages, it is a very good idea to invest in a sausage maker.

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