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How Do They Get the Sausage Into the Sausage?

June 29, 1997|JOAN DRAKE

An electric mixer with grinding and stuffing attachments is the ideal equipment for sausage making, but some fine links can be turned out with a hand grinder and either a hand-stuffing machine or oversized funnel. The difference is the cost and amount of muscle needed to push the meat mixture into the prepared casings.


Edible natural casings for sausage come from the intestines of sheep, hogs and cattle. They're sold dry-salted and/or brined.

Check ahead with your butcher--the casings may need to be special-ordered. Refrigerate or freeze them until ready to use.

Before being stuffed, the casings must be washed thoroughly and soaked for about a half hour. Add a tablespoon of vinegar for each cup of soaking water to increase the softening of the casing and make it more transparent. Leave the casing in the solution until ready for stuffing, then rinse again and drain, running it gently between your thumb and index finger to squeeze out the water.


Meat grinds better when well-chilled. Cut it into 1-inch cubes, trimming off and reserving the fat, then return it to the refrigerator for a half hour before grinding.

For safety, never taste the raw meat mixture; instead, fry a small patty to check whether the seasoning is correct.

*Electric Grinder: Mix the seasonings with the meat before pressing them through the grinding mechanism with the plunger.

*Hand Grinder: Use the fine disk and press the meat through twice, adding the seasonings between the two grindings.

* Food Processor: Process the meat just to a fine dice and mix in the seasonings after all the meat has been processed.


Gently feed a cleaned casing over the stuffing attachment or funnel until the end is almost even with the attachment or funnel opening.

The casing should be filled firmly but not to the point where it will burst. Maintain an even diameter by molding the link with your hand. If air bubbles occur, pierce with a fine needle or knock it out with the blunt end of the knife.

As each link is filled and twisted, either tie with kitchen string immediately or wait until all the links are stuffed. Should a hole or tear appear in the casing, just tie off the sausage at that point.

Arrange the finished links in a single layer on a platter or tray and refrigerate at least 2 hours for the flavors to blend.

After preparation, be sure to wash hands, equipment, utensils and surfaces that have come in contact with the raw sausage with hot soapy water and rinse well.

* Electric Stuffing Attachment: Turn on the motor and feed the meat mixture through until it's flush with the opening. Turn off the motor, pull a little of casing off the attachment and tie it into a knot. Start the motor again and continue stuffing, twisting the casing to create the desired size of links.

* Hand Stuffing Machine: Depress the plunger until the meat mixture is flush with the opening. Pull a little of casing off the tube and tie into a knot. Continue forcing the meat mixture into the casing, twisting to create the desired size of links.

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