Many years ago when I was a boy (but not so long ago that dinosaurs roamed the Earth as my youngest child would believe), my mother made some homemade
sausage patties. They were delicious and in some ways tasted better to me than store bought ones.
Over the years in as an adult (and being the cook in the family), I've made my own sausage patties off and on, which are very easy to do.
For several years now however, I've always wanted to try making other sausages that are stuffed in casings, ranging from breakfast pork sausages to
dried hard salami.
I finally got around to getting a sausage stuffer from Weston. It's a 5 pound stuffer that came with 3 gauges of tubes. I was dithering on what to
try and make first, when my youngest son, who's 10 suggested that I make homemade Slim Jims.
I thought the idea capital! I love Slim Jims myself, and a quick search on the internet provided for many different recipes to choose from.
My first problem was curing salt however. There are no stores in about a 50 mile radius here where I live that sells any kind of curing salt. They
sell canning and pickling salt, but salt for curing meats needs sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite for what I wanted to make (no curing in the
breakfast sausages needed).
So I ordered some Tender Quick from Morton online, a 2 pound bag, and it arrived shortly there after.
We got our meat ground up, all the spices and the curing salt added, then set it in the fridge for about 3 days so the meat could cure.
Finally we could set up the sausage stuffer and make our Slim Jims! I have a dehydrator that I was going to use to dry them out after that.
So I put everything together, and put the 19mm gauge tube on the stuffer. I was using collagen casings that I slipped over the tube. I lubed it up
with cooking spray (you can use food grade silicon spray too), and I started to stuff.
Or that is I tried to.
First, I had NO idea how hard it is to stuff ground meat through a 19mm tube!
Second.......I then found out that I need to MOUNT my sausage stuffer! (so that's what those 4 holes in the 4 legs are for!).
So there we were, my wife trying to hold it down while I was pushing on the suffing lever for all I was worth......and the meat was barely coming
I got about two 6 inch links made before giving up. Without the stuffer being mounted, it was not going to happen.
So I replaced the 19mm gauge tube with my largest one, and stuffed a mahogany case instead. Went a lot smoother, and it's now in the oven at 200 deg
for about the next 6 hours or so, drying out.
I guess for the smaller gauge stuff (pepperoni, Slim Jims, etc), I need to build a heavy duty stand and get it mounted, so I can put my full 250
pounds behind that lever.
Never thought that making something that's rather fattening would require you to have a heavy duty work out!