The dictionary describes Sausage (sau·sage ˈsôsij) as a noun meaning: an item of food in the form of a cylindrical length of minced pork or other meat encased in a skin, typically sold raw to be grilled or fried before eating. minced and seasoned meat that has been encased in a skin and cooked or preserved, sold mainly to be eaten cold in slices, "smoked German sausage." The term aged sausage encompasses a wide variety of options, techniques, and varieties. The SL150 Home or the SL520 Pro Edition Steak Lockers are capable of creating the temperature and humidity settings required in step 11. Below is a process to produce a small batch of simple aged sausage inspired by Hank Shaw’s salami recipe.
Aged Sausage Made Simple
- Steak Locker dry age refrigerator
- Wide hog casings (38-42 mm wide)
- 4 pounds pork shoulder or wild boar meat
- 1 pound pork fatback
- 51 grams salt
- 6 grams Instacure No. 2
- 12 grams sugar or dextrose
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh garlic
- 1/3 cup red wine
- 1/4 cup distilled water
- 5 grams FRM-52 starter culture, or T-SPX culture
- Hog casings, preferably 38-42 mm wide casings
Aged Sausage recipe
Step 1: Start by laying down 1/2 to 2/3 pounds of finely diced pork. To fit all of the meat in your grinder, cut the excess fat and meat into manageable pieces. Trim the silverskin and sinew as much as you can.
Step 2: Place the chunked and chopped fat in different refrigerator containers. Meat that has been salted should be placed in the refrigerator overnight. Myosin will get more developed as a result, giving you a tighter bind when you stuff the connections later.
Step 3: Place the fat and your grinding tools, such as the blade, coarse and fine dies, in the freezer the following day. Mix half of the black pepper, the garlic, and the Instant Cure into the meat. Add that to the freezer as well. Allow everything to cool until the beef reaches about 28°F. Because of the salt, it won't solidify when frozen. This normally takes 90 minutes. While you wait, put the red wine in the refrigerator and soak about 15 feet of hog casings in a dish of warm water.
Step 4: When the meat and fat are both cold, remove them and combine them; but, for the time being, keep the diced fat apart. Half to two thirds of the mixture should be ground using the grinder's coarse die. Run the fine die through the remaining material. I do this to vary my grind, which, in my view, results in a nicer texture. Depending on how I'm feeling, I occasionally mix 3/4 fine and 1/4 coarse. Varying is the key.
Step 5: While you finish cleaning, put the meat and fat back in the freezer. With the distilled water, dissolve the starter culture. You can stir the beef mixture once it has cooled to below 35°F. I combine the combination with the diced fat, the remaining black pepper, the red wine, and the starter culture mixture in a large plastic bin and stir it by hand for two to three minutes. If you do this, the combination will be chilly enough when your hands start to ache from the cold. Alternately, you can combine everything in a large stand mixer and blend on low for 90 to 2 minutes. I like mixing by hand.
Step 6: While cleaning, place the sausage in the refrigerator. To cleanse your casings and check for leaks, run some clean water through them. All except one of the two foot to 30 inch casing lengths were placed back in the water. Onto your sausage stuffer, thread the one.
Step 7: As you get ready to make the aged sausage, place the sausage in the stuffer. Leave a "tail" of 4 to 6 inches of casing dangling from the stuffer's edge; you'll use this to tie the sausage off later. Utilizing your fingers to remove any air from the casing and to control the flow, begin working the meat into the casing. I want straight links that are between 10 and a foot long. Repeat with the remaining casings and sausage after removing the link from the stuffer.
Step 8: Now gently squeeze the meat into each casing while keeping an eye out for air bubbles. In order to disinfect it and puncture the links in order to release any trapped air, heat a needle or a sausage pricker in the flames of your stove. You don't need to use a particular butterfly knot for hog casings, so tie off both ends of the link in a double or triple knot. Then, tie a loop of kitchen twine to one end, making sure the twine knot is underneath the casing knot you just formed. This will stop the twine from coming undone. On a wooden rack, hang your sausages with "S" hooks or similar hardware.
Step 9: You must keep your links warm and moist in order for them to ferment. In order to achieve this, I place a humidifier beneath the dangling sausages and tent the entire setup with large waste bags that I have slit open on one end. I sprinkle my sausages with water a few times a day as well. By doing this, the casings are kept from hardening. For two to three days, hang your sausages at room temperature (65 to 80°F).
Step 10: Your sausages must now be dried. They should be hung between between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 80 to 90 percent humidity. You'll typically need to place a humidifier under your links. For the first two weeks, I also spritzed them with water once a day. Reduce the humidity to between 70 and 80 percent after the first week of hanging. After the third week, reduce it once more to 65 to 70 percent and maintain that level for a total of 5 to 10 weeks after the sausage was placed in the chamber.
You now have dry aged sausage. To store long-term, vacuum seal them individually and keep in the fridge. They will last indefinitely this way, and the vacuum sealing will keep them from becoming rock hard. You can also freeze them.
Note that prep time does not include curing or drying time, which will take about 45 days or so.