Greetings from a newbie

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Greetings from a newbie

Postby Tasso » Sun Apr 06, 2014 3:22 am

Tasso from Texas here, DFW area.

I've wanted to learn to make sausages in casings for a long time, both fresh and smoked, and now I'm finally starting to do it. I've made bulk unstuffed fresh breakfast sausage and chorizo a few times, but I never got up the nerve to stuff any sausages into casings until a week ago. I've also made a few different kinds of cured meats, such as tasso, corned beef, pastrami, pork chops, Canadian bacon, and turkey. Tasso was the first thing I tried, hence why I chose it for my forum name. But I've made them each only a few times, so I'm still very much a beginner when it comes to curing. And when it comes to sausage, I'm even more of a beginner.

Last week I made four pounds of Italian sausage, half sweet and half hot, and stuffed it into hog casings. I used the DeWied Homepack Hog Casings. I'm not sure what size those are, as it's not listed on the package, but they seem to be the right size for Italian sausage. I'm happy with how the sausages taste, but they don't look that great. I had a hard time getting a consistent density and thickness. The sausage ended up too tight in places and too loose in others.

I hope that I can learn a lot on this forum, and contribute as I grow in experience.
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Re: Greetings form a newbie

Postby nmroute66 » Tue Apr 15, 2014 5:10 pm

Hello Tasso. I too am very interested in learing to make sausage. I have NO experience and discovered this site while trying to find classes. I attended a 2 hour class last week with our local Cooperative Extension. It was fun and now I have the bug to learn even more. I was hoping to find a week long retreat or something along those lines. the two hour classes are great to peak your interest and give you a sneak peek but that's about it. How did you start learning?
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Re: Greetings form a newbie

Postby Tasso » Wed Apr 16, 2014 1:37 am

Hi nmroute66. I added a post to your "Wanting to learn" thread that will hopefully inspire you to jump right in and give it a try. I'll go back to your thread and make another post to list some resources that I found useful.

I recently traveled along the path of route 66 on a trip from Dallas to Albuquerque. I got off of I-40 a couple of times following some of the remaining sections of historic route 66. I enjoyed the peaceful and relatively empty desert terrain. It was like being on another planet, compared to what I'm used to. Albuquerque, nestled there in the Sandia mountains, is lovely.
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Re: Greetings form a newbie

Postby Wunderdave » Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:12 pm

Tasso, welcome to the forum.

Don't get discouraged, you will get better at stuffing casings as you practice. I wasn't clear what you were using to stuff. If you're using your grinder or KA mixer, you're going to be in for a frustrated time. Spend the $100 on a crank stuffer ASAP if you don't have one.

One tip I have learned is when you're first loading the stuffer tube with casings, express a little bit of sausage out of the tip of the tube so there's a turtle head poking out. That sausage will lubricate the inside of the casing and make the tube easier to load.

You may want to have someone else crank while you feed the casings with your hands until you get the hang of it.

I attended school at Tulane and so am well familar with Tasso and have made it a number of times. It's one of my favorite projects.
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Re: Greetings form a newbie

Postby Tasso » Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:01 am

Wunderdave, thank you for the welcome.

I have a vertical stuffer. It's a Uniworld USSC-DL7, 15lb capacity. It's huge, and in retrospect, I believe I'd have been better satisfied with a smaller stuffer, maybe 10 lb capacity. Mine works well, but it leaves almost exactly a half pound of sausage in the elbow and stuffing horn at the bottom of the cylinder when the piston bottoms out. I just made the excess into a couple of nice big 4 oz patties.

I'll give your extruded sausage lubrication idea a try next time. It seems like that might help. I tried putting some water inside the casing, but that didn't have much effect as far as I could tell. They were already thoroughly soaked and I was feeding them out of a bowl of water anyway.

I've done some more reading and watched a number of youtube videos since my first stuffing attempt, and there are two things I did that I think may have hampered me. One is that I had the casings pushed all the way up the long stuffing horn. I think I should have positioned them closer to the tip so the meat coming out of the horn could push the casing off the tip more easily. The other thing is that I believe I was cranking too slowly. I kept stopping and starting instead of just cranking at a constant rate of speed.

Since you went to Tulane, I bet you are familiar with Chaurice, too. I've decided that Chaurice will be my next sausage. Then after that, I'm thinking Boudin. Once I am confident of my ability to stuff the casings consistently, I'll try a basic Polish style sausage so that I can learn the process of properly drying, smoking, and showering a smoked sausage. Once I get the hang of smoking sausages to yield a good appearance and flavor, I'll be ready to tackle the sausage of my dreams, my beloved pecan-smoked Andouille. There is no sausage I love and crave more. That is my driving motivation.
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Re: Greetings form a newbie

Postby NCPaul » Wed Apr 23, 2014 4:11 pm

Welcome to the forum Tasso. :D Those are some great projects you have in mind.
Fashionably late will be stylishly hungry.
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Re: Greetings form a newbie

Postby Wunderdave » Wed Apr 23, 2014 8:16 pm

Oh man I love making andouille with fresh onions and garlic....
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Re: Greetings form a newbie

Postby BriCan » Wed Apr 23, 2014 9:41 pm

Wunderdave wrote:Oh man I love making andouille with fresh onions and garlic....


I don't recall seeing the recipe ........ :oops: :cry:
But what do I know
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Re: Greetings form a newbie

Postby Tasso » Thu Apr 24, 2014 5:36 am

Wunderdave, I'd like to see your recipe too.

For my first Andouille attempt, I plan to more-or-less follow the recipe and process from the Nola Cuisine blog, after adjusting seasonings for my taste. Here's the link: Andouille Sausage Recipe. It's worth a mouse click to go see the picture of the sausage there. That is a perfect example of what I expect a good Andouille sausage to look like.

Here is the recipe from that link:

Andouille Sausage Recipe

5# Pork (I prefer a Boston Butt) Trimmed of tough connective tissue and cut into 2 inch cubes.

Combine the following in a bowl:
2 tsp of Cayenne or to taste (Remember, if you make it too hot, every dish you make with it will be too hot! Start off with a little, you can add more after you taste the finished seasoning)
1 Tbsp Paprika
1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Garlic
1/8 Cup Fresh Ground Black Pepper
3 Tbsp Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt
1 Tbsp Fresh Thyme leaves, chopped
1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1 healthy pinch Cure #1 (our “abundance of caution” chicken little society of bloggers would like you to know that their healthy pinch, or correct amount is 1 tsp. of “cure” per 5# of meat, which my “healthy pinch” is just a hair shy of….sue me!) (By the way, my upcoming Andouille Recipe contains no cures**stay tuned** posted 03/13/12)
1/2 Cup Ice Water


Of course, I plan to accurately calculate the amount of cure #1, as I don't think using a "healthy pinch" of a nitrite cure is necessarily safe, or likely to lead to a repeatable recipe with a known and constant amount of cure. And to further the end of repeatability and consistency, I plan to express the recipe ingredients I eventually settle on in metric quantities rather than in volume measures.
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