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Sausage Three

Sausage Three is a mild Italian (like me). The recipe is based on one from Ruhlman's Charcuterie. Deviations and observations:
  1. This was the first in the series to feature genuine Pork Backfat, an elusive commodity that I failed to find on many occasions. The road to backfat success began at the excellent Prather Ranch shop in the Ferry Building Marketplace. They didn't have it, but referred me to The Fatted Calf on Fell Street. What a find. That place is awesome. They gave me the usual "I don't know, I'll have to check in the back," but then the guy actually emerged with an entire slab of the stuff! I bought two pounds, chopped them into half pound bricks, used one for this sausage, and froze the rest for Sausage Four and beyond.
  2. The balance of the fat came from the pork roast the I trimmed up, and was supplemented with...
  3. Some pecorino romano cheese. I don't remember exactly how much, but it could have used more. Everything could always use more cheese...
  4. I forgot the sugar. I always forget something. Didn't really miss it, though.
  5. I also forgot the lemon zest. This wasn't in the recipe, but is the one Italian sausage making tip that my father (who is 50% more Italian than I) has handed down to me from his own ancestors. 
  6. This recipe called for paprika, to which we can credit its nice reddish hue. It looks nice, but I associate such an appearance more with spicy or hot sausages, so I think I'll leave it out next time. 
  7. This recipe called didn't call for any little bits of green stuff. Seems like there should be some parsley or something like that.
  8. I used medium hog casings, from the same salty package as the previous two creations. There are still plenty left.

A word about meat-goo vacuum lock

The meat grinder comes with a handy wooden thing (eloquently called a "stomper" I believe) to push the meat down the tube and into the grinder. Usually, you need to first grind the meat, then season, then push it through again to stuff the casings. In the stuffing phase, the meat is a gooey paste... it is easy to push down, but pulling the stomper back up and out is actually quite difficult, because the meat-goo forms an air-tight seal, and the stomper acts like a piston, creating a vacuum that wants to suck the goo backwards through the grinder. So I came up with a BAD IDEA: instead of the nicely formed stomper, I tried pushing the meat down with the back end of a wooden spoon... This worked great until the handle was caught by the rotating auger, and snapped off an undisclosed amount of wood. So one of my sausages had some extra fiber that I never was able to find. 

Photo Essay

Sausage Three