Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Making Sausage

I'll admit it, I've held this post back since I didn't want you to be upset when I showed such cute kids and then goat meat but there just isn't any getting around it. I've more cute shots to show of our new kids and there's this sausage post that needs to go up, so clear your mind of all soft thoughts and let's forge ahead. I'm going to tell you about making Chevron/beef sausage. Yes, goat meat is called Chevron. We cut up the goat meat into chunks along with the three beef roasts I'd thawed from the freezer. Not because we needed to but we wanted more sausage and there was so little meat from the goat, I hated to lug up the heavy grinder just for it. It must weight forty pounds. You can bet I choice the roasts I'm not as fond of like shoulder roast and left my all time favorite, chuck roast. The other reason was we still had a fair amount of roasts left over from the last beef we did. Our meat usage has changed with the grand kids around. I then mixed in seasoning for polish sausage which I have to admit was store bought. We tried a couple times mixing our own spices without success. So since I don't have time to go into an in depth study, I just skipped ahead. I needed to do this in a hurry while the kids were gone and they aren't gone very much. I have found it wise to start out with using part store products and working forward toward totally home-made when you are treading in totally unfamiliar waters. It eases the frustration because the results are more predictable and the steps are more gradual allowing for fewer mistakes. Don't worry, many of these spice packages have a choice where you can use the cure or not. It depends on if you are going to smoke the meat or not. Since we would be freezing it and then cooking it, we were safe not using the cure.

Normally, I would have added some fat when making sausage but we didn't have any of a proper kind. The beef fat you get from the store is older and I have a tendency to have trouble with it. My body protests. The things they feed a beef in a feedlot doesn't agree with my system. Also, beef fat goes rancid more quickly than hog fat, meaning it tastes a bit off when meat is from the store in comparison to our meat we process. The reason the meat from the store is older is because it is already partly processed before reaching your grocers. It has hung aging, and is cut up into sections for shipping. Your local grocery butcher just breaks down the pieces further into cuts. This makes it so the grocery can order more of what they will sell in their area and the need for a highly skilled butcher isn't necessary.

My other option would have been to use the goat fat but goat fat along with sheep, which imparts a strong flavor. The same can be said of deer, antelope, and elk. So trimming all the fat off is best. You can use this fat for making soap. I've done that. So if you are in a waste not want not mood, explore. But I was backed into a time corner and with a lack of fat options I chose to use none. I'm hoping if I cook the patties to medium rare, it will retain enough moisture to make them good. We shall see. I'll let you know when we try them this weekend. For some reason in sheep and goats, the choice of vegetation comes through the meat big time and so I'm pretty picky what they eat if I'm to eat them. It's such a huge difference that you may not recognize the meat by the taste. Our kids once had lamb at a friend of mines when we helped them dock lambs - cut off their tails and castrate the males. Her husband was one of those old ranchers who bit off the testicles with his teeth. I know, I know, I agree. Anyway, at lunch our kids said oo..w what is this mom, embarrassing me, and my host told them, you know what this is, you eat it all the time. They looked at me bewildered. Our lamb was grain and alfalfa fed while hers roamed across the grasslands. This is not as much the case with beef, why, I don't know.

The other thing you don't leave with the meat of lamb, goat, elk, deer, or antelope is the bone. It too adds a strong flavor. Of course there are a few who like that - very few. Wild game birds are another matter all together. Our son has made good friends with a chef who use to work for a yacht club but wanted to move back home and open a little restaurant of his own. Through this relationship our son is learning new ways of cooking what he and his bird dog, Bard, bring home. Ducks and geese are a particular challenge for us and I'm anxious to learn.

Back to the goat, he was fed alfalfa/orchard grass hay and wheat screenings which imparted a very mild flavor to the meat. It was slightly sweet. I've had goat before that was good and that which was awful. Once again, feed making the big difference. I recall an antelope we once shot that had been eating lot of sagebrush. The dog wouldn't even eat him and I've heard the same story from countless others. Hence, my favorite deer and antelope have come off of the alfalfa or oat fields my dad manged. Yum!!! My I'm chatty today.

Anyway after cubing the meat, I weighed it matching the amount of spices per pound on the instruction sheet. Then I ground it with our small industrial sized grinder. If you are going to do a beef, you need something bigger than a kitchen aid mixer's grinder or you'll wear it out in a hurry.
I fried up a patty to see if the flavor was right and decided it was and added a heaping more spices. The clock was ticking and I didn't have time to try another patty. I hope I got it right because I plunged ahead.

Then I weighed enough to equal a little over a quarter of a pound.

I weighed the meat creating a heavy quarter pounder and then pattied it with our single manual patty maker from Cabelas. This is the least expensive piece of equipment we've bought for meat processing. It took years to acquire our equipment. First we borrowed from a dear friend who offered his equipment to us as we helped him butcher his animals each year learning from the master. Then slowly through the years we've bought our own, saving and purchasing a grinder one year, a cuber that attached to the grinder another, hooks, scrapers etc. etc. until we have pretty much everything we need. There is just a couple things we need to build and a tractor we need to buy to string up the animals and we're done. To think we started this whole process when the kids lived at home. It's been a lot of years working on being independent. Now that's over with and tomorrow I'll probably show you pictures of the kids. I'm having a hard time naming the girls and could sure use some help. Also, I've got something I'm doing with a hat I'm knitting for Kirk that I want to show you. There's that Italian recipe I want to make again and show you and ...... so many things I want to do and so little energy and time. I'd best go get two more kids to bed for a nap though before I start any projects. We came home from the doctors today and the youngest who is sleeping by me has a bad case of asthma. I guess I'll learn to use a nebulizer and the oldest has an ear infection and strep-throat. The middle child I just chase after with a kleenex in hand. Life just gets more complicated when you have grown children.

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