When life gives you burn bans, make sausages.

I promised Squirrel that we’d hit the Butterfield this weekend.  All week long, he’s been salivating about getting out in the woods.  Friday, though, showed that we were under not only a burn ban but a red flag warning for wildfires due to high winds.  Alone, I have enough faith (misguided or otherwise) in myself to risk going and just living without a campfire.  Kids, though. . . have a way of making you a better man.  He cried the ugly cry Friday night when I told him we couldn’t go – but we’ll try again.

Decided maybe it was time to try my hand with this new meat grinder & sausage attachment I ordered for my Kitchenaide mixer.  I love that thing.  Received it as a wedding gift 15 years ago and if she ever leaves me . . . I’d almost let her have my truck if it let me keep the mixer.  Those things are that good.

As fun as it would be for me to blog the first attempt at sausage making – I think I’ll hold onto my pride enough to simply say this:  read the instructions.  I made an enormous mess and invented whole new vocabularies of frustration before I decided to read and do a little youtube research.

Here’s my first successful attempt at sausage-making.

Ingredients:  img_20170211_113446025

  • 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • 3 tsp oregano
  • 1 can chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
  • 4 red apples
  • 1 large red onion
  • 4.5 tsp salt

 

After slicing everything into small chunks, I put it in the freezer for about 30 minutes to firm it up before running it through the grinder.  Tip I wish I knew before:  Wear an apron.  This is a juicy mix and it will splatter all over your chest, transforming your favorite ‘lounge around on a lazy Saturday’ shirt into a chickeny wasteland.

I ran everything through on the biggest grind plate and then threw it back into the freezer while I switched out hardware and put on the sausage horn.

The local butcher supplied me with about 15′ of fresh casing for $10.  He also gave me some tips that I probably should have remembered, but really wasn’t listening to because I was so excited to go home and play with my sausage maker.

img_20170211_122212882

Normally, I’d shrink the picture some. . but look how pretty that is!  Flecks of the red onion & apple peel, the coloring of the cumin and oregano.  Time to twist.

It has been a long time since I’ve been as proud of a finished product as I was of these links.  What I should have done at this point was hang it overnight in the fridge to dry.  This is a very, very wet mix.   Maybe should have even put it in a colander and let it drain before stuffing it.  Next time, I most certainly will.  But I was impatient and the small, palm-sized patty I fried up tasted like pure heaven.  The perfect mix of sweet savory with a follow-up kick from the chilies.  I had the new Weber Smokey Mountain already heated up and ready to go. . . so onto the middle rack they went w/ applewood chips on the coals.  Because I didn’t dry them out first, they didn’t firm up as much as I’d like but the flavor is still to die for.

Z. is coming over next weekend with a bunch of goose and duck that he thinks he wants to make into jerky – so we’re going to have a grinding party.  I have about 20′ of hog casing that may convince him not to turn it into jerky.   I’ll let y’all know how it goes.

img_20170211_160658266

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