I guess I have to get this post out of the way, despite not having enough pictures to do the event justice.
The story is that, a few weeks ago, I asked my neighbor if he liked sausages. With a puzzled look on his face, he said yes, and in order to answer the question posed by his facial expression, I told him I make sausages and that I was looking forward to the next time I could do so.
Well, word got around that I make sausages, and that fit in quite nicely with the other neighborhood cooks: a Bolivian baker, a Japanese chef, and a good old American house-wife. And, so, I was compelled to order some sausage casings and start thinking about eventually making some sausages and sharing them with my neighbors.
About three weeks ago, one of my neighbors, Yusuke, caught me as I was walking from my car to my back door: "When will you have sausage party?"
It was my turn to display the look of bewilderment, and my only answer was, "What sausage party?"
Yusuke was under the impression I was going to have a full-blown barbecue with sausages as the main course,
Some of my ingredients, about to meet their demise, thanks to my trusty santoku knife! Click to enlargeand while that's basically what ended up happening, I had no idea at the time that this would be expected of me.
I ordered sausage casings from the usual guy in Georgia, slowly bought and froze a total of about 11 pounds of pork tenderloin, and started thinking about the types of sausage I could make. As the sausage party drew near, I had an epiphany: I would use fruit! I would make peach pork sausage, apple pork sausage, and normal pork sausage! Ah, but it would not end there.
Last Thursday, Yusuke caught me again as I was walking inside, and he wanted me to set an exact time for the party to start. I really hate planning things because it makes me nervous, but I acquiesced to his request and, after some debate, said the party could start around 6:00 on Saturday.
Minced fruit and veggies. Clockwise from top: garlic, peach, apple, pear, habanero pepper. Click to enlargeThis set events in motion, and for most of last weekend, I had one and a half things on my mind: sausages and that pesky photonics homework that was due Monday.
I finished the homework on Sunday with plenty of time to spare, by the way, so that turned out to not be worth the half-worry I gave it.
As Friday wore on, I had to consider everything I would need to make sausages: wet room temperature casings, thawed meat, chopped fruit, meat grinder parts I could find, and so forth. I don't think I actually did anything about these things on Friday, but I certainly thought about them.
But, I had to work those things out on Saturday, and luckily, everything just fell into place. I even had my laptop in the kitchen, belting out songs from Frank Sinatra and Bruce Springsteen that could be heard beyond my open back door.
Eleven pounds of pork, topped with strips of lamb fat. Click to enlarge
Unseasoned pork and lamb, just through the grinder for the first time. Click to enlargeBefore long, passers-by could hear the growl of my meat grinder's too-powerful motor, churning away at the eleven pounds of pork and the lamb fat I added to the mix.
After I ground the meat the first time, I had to consider the question of the day: what kinds of sausage would I make? But, would I even bother with this before actually making them? No way. I flew by the seat of my pants, and when I finished grinding one type of sausage, I washed my hands and looked over my ingredients to decide what I would make next.
Over about five hours, I performed all the tasks associated with the preparation and clean-up of an afternoon of sausage-making and, meanwhile, made the following sausages!
- 5 x Polish sausage with Turkish aleppo pepper
- 5 x Garlic, habanero pepper, and basil sausage
- 4 x Garlic and rosemary sausage
- 5 x Pear and sage sausage
- 5 x Apple, chili pepper, and black pepper sausage
- 5 x Peach sausage with venison sausage seasoning
That's 29 sausages in all, comprised of six distinct flavors.
Some time around 5:30, I had cleaned up as much as I was going to clean up for the evening, and my sausages were nicely wrapped in aluminum foil in the refrigerator.
Everything is ready to go! Click to enlargeThere were about 30 minutes remaining before Steve and Anneli would be over to join in the festivities, so I could relax for a few minutes. Phew, the whirlwind five hours of sausage making had come to an end.
In these 30 minutes, I joined a backyard party's infancy and helped light two charcoal grills (by the end of the night, three grills had been used to cook a variety of meats).
I started cooking sausages, Steve and Anneli showed up a tad late, and the beer and conversation started to flow like water! The peak attendance was somewhere around 15 people, and everyone had a great time, and they all loved the sausage.
Most peoples' favorite seemed to be the Polish sausage with the Turkish aleppo pepper, but those of us who could stand a lot of heat preferred the garlic, habanero, and basil sausage. After a few bites, that habanero pepper really got the eyes watering... amazing stuff. Oh, and the habanero pepper I used was supplied by Katy. Thanks, Katy!
I think I finally went back inside my house during the midnight hour, so the party was a definite success. My neighbors totally get high marks for coolness, and I guess I get high marks for sausage. :)