Once a month I have Butchery Day. I get in all the meat I need for the month and then process it. Actually, what I should say is that I get in all the meat I need for thecats for the month, and the little bit I eat myself, and process it. It isn’t a day I particularly enjoy as I have to spend hours slicing and dicing cat meat (they get a halfway decent steak to eat, for which which I have negotiated a good bulk price with the butcher). I have to take regular breaks – not so much because the work is tiring, but because my mind starts to wander while I am slicing and dicing and I need to concentrate so that I don’t take off the tip of a finger (this has happened many a time, and I’m a particularly dab hand at snatching back the tip of finger from the cutting board, pushing it back on, wrapping it securely and then refusing to look at it for the next ten days – most of the fingers on my left hand are tipped with little scars). So lots of boring slicing and dicing.
This month is special. I love my sausages, but good sausages (as opposed to the cheap nasties you buy at the supermarket), while not hard to find, are getting more and more expensive – and I can never quite get the taste I want. So I have decided to make my own.
It looks easy enough. I even had most of the equipment I need (a KitchenAid Mixer and a grinder attachment for it). I’ve had to buy in a funnel attachment for the grinder (cheap) and I’ve had to buy in casings for the sausages. The only casings I could get easily were collagen casings rather than natural gut casings. I could get natural gut casings from my butcher, but that would doubtless alert him to the fact I am making my own sausages and, as my butcher considers himself the king of sausage making, that might piss him off slightly and he might decide I won’t get the special price for the cat steak any more. I need to tread carefully in this enterprise. So I bought $30 worth of collagen casings online which will give me enough casings for many hundreds of snags and which won’t tip off my butcher (although he may be wondering about the bulk order for pork I put in this month!).
Having acquired the ingredients, all I need then are the ingredients – some pork belly, some bread crumbs (which I made yesterday), and some spice mix (already made and mixed – I am going to use a pork rub spice mix I keep on hand).
I have read up on what I must do. Like preserving I need to keep everything scrupulously clean.
And cold. Today is going to be a cold day and I won’t be able to have the fire on in the kitchen when I am working the meat. Brrrrr. Cold is necessary not only because it stops nasty organisms growing in the meat mix, but the pork meat is easier to work when it is cold (the fat won’t clog up the grinder). I will need to grind the pork twice, which needs to rest in the fridge in between the various grinding and mixing stages.
So I will let you know how it all goes. I may not make the sausages until tomorrow (spending most of today on the cat meat and the prep work for the snags – the grinding, perhaps), but I am looking forward to my very own snags!
Here is the recipe for the pork rub (which I will also use to spice the sausages). I use this whenever I roast pork and it gives the pork a lovely, lovely flavour.
3 teasp of dried onion
3 teasp of onion powder
6 teasp of thyme
6 teasp of salt
3 teasp of ground allspice
1 and 1/2 teasp of nutmeg
1 and 1/2 teasp of cinnamon
6 teasp of sugar
3 teasp of pepper
This makes a bulk supply of the mix, so I keep it in an airtight glass jar and just shake it to mix again before I use it. It is one of the most valuable spice mixes in my kitchen. When you use it, just spray the pork with oil, then rub the mix in all over. Just yummy.