Summer means BBQs and no BBQ is complete without a good old fashioned snarler! The fact is, not all sausages are created equal and unfortunately many are made with all sorts of additives and fillers, so we decided to get some tips on making them ourselves. Doug Jarvis kindly invited us into his butchery in Papamoa to learn some of the tricks of the trade.
We are making traditional English pork sausages, so start with shoulder pork, skin removed. Doug says the shoulder provides the best flavour with just the right balance of meat and fat. Fat, Doug points out, is essential in a good sausage because if they are too lean they will be dry.
The pork is chopped into measurable pieces which are in turn fed into the mincer.
Your mincer should have a couple of different plates which will vary the coarseness of the ground meat. We are using a medium plate today.
When the meat is minced it is time to season it. Doug adds salt and pepper, maize and a few secret ingredients.
Ice water is then added and everything is thoroughly mixed by hand before being left overnight for the flavours to marinade.
We started with 9kgs of pork and are adding 600g of seasoning. If you are making sausages at home chances are you won’t be making this amount, so the equivalent ratio is approximately 60–70g of seasoning per kilo gram of meat and then 220mls or just under 1 cup of water.
The next day Doug adds and thoroughly mixes in ground maize (approximately 160–170g per kilo of meat). The addition of the rusks turns our pork sausages into traditional English sausages.
If you don’t want to add the rusks you will need to reduce the amount of water you add.
Doug says, “You know a good sausage meat when it is sticky.”
The sausage mixture is then put through the mincer again. This second mincing helps to bind the mixture.
Tip: Wet hands make handling the sausage meat easier.
There are two types of sausage casings available, a natural one made from animal intestines or those made from collegian. Doug prefers to use the natural ones.
Interesting fact – As natural casings are made from intestines, different animals produce different sized casings. For instance, we used hog casings for the traditional sized English sausages, when a sheep casing would be used to make smaller breakfast sausages.
Filling your Sausages
Thread the casings onto your sausage stuffing nozzle. Note that the different nozzle sizes relate to the size of the casings you are using. Knot the end of your casing and then carefully start to fill it with your sausage meat.
Doug has a big powerful machine for this, which, as Melissa discovered, takes a fair bit of practise to master.
The trick is not to overfill the casing, which will cause it to burst, or under fill it resulting in small thin sausages.
Once you have successfully filled your casing and now have one long sausage, you need to twist or tie it into individual sausages. To see a master in action click here to view a clip of Doug in action.
If you are using collegian casings you need to tie each sausage. Natural casings allow you to twist the casing to create individual sausages. Use your thumb and forefinger to carefully pinch the sausage and then twist the casing.
The completed sausages are then hung in a chiller overnight to allow the skins to dry out.
For some inspiration on the huge range of sausages and flavours, make sure you get into Doug’s butchery in Papamoa, he might even share some tips. Or you might decide to leave it to the expert!
Doug Jarvis Traditional Butcher
Shop 30, Palm Beach Plaza, Papamoa