How to Make Sausage at Home: Instructions, Equipment, Recipes

| 11/5/2013 10:55:00 AM

Tags: making sausage, meat grinder, Tabitha Alterman,

Homemade sausages were a traditional peasant food — a way to make efficient use of all parts of slaughtered animals. Four steps to making homemade sausageSausages come in two varieties: fresh and cured. Both are possible to make yourself, but curing sausage at home requires some special ingredients and conditions.

The initial steps of sausage-making include grinding chunks of meat and fat, and mixing in flavoring and preserving agents, such as herbs and salt. Next, form the sausages into patties or stuff them into casings — the final step in making most fresh sausages. At this stage, you can choose to smoke or dry the sausage. (To learn more about curing sausages, we recommend Home Sausage Making by Susan Mahnke Peery and Charles G. Reavis.)

Here’s how to make fresh, homemade sausage.

Sausage-Making Equipment

Scale. Most sausage recipes call for specific weights. The meat needs to be weighed after being cut and trimmed at home, so buy a little more meat than you’ll need. If you’re processing meat from your own animals, you’ll definitely need a scale.

Meat grinder. All meat grinders include chopping discs. Manual hand grinders require elbow grease to operate. Electric meat grinders range from an attachment for your stand mixer to commercial grinders — worth the extra cost ($50 to $100) if you foresee making a lot of homemade sausage.

Casings. Sausage casings, sometimes called sausage “skins,” may be natural or synthetic. (Natural casings are usually sold packed in salt, and will last one to two years if kept refrigerated.) Natural hog casings are made from the cleaned intestines of hogs, and their diameters typically range from 1 1⁄4 to 2 inches. Sheep casings are the smallest in diameter, and beef casings are the largest, with diameters up to 4 inches. Synthetic casings are usually collagen or plastic, such as those used for summer sausage, or fibrous, such as the muslin used on many salamis. Some are edible; some are not.

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