One great benefit from butchering your own pig is deciding on how you want to use the meat. Our next pig, assuming there will be another one, we will definitely make sure to grind more of the pork to make our own sausages and brats. In fact, we will probably use both shoulders for sausage making instead of brining.
That meat grinding attachment for the Kitchen Aid that I thought I would never use came in handy for grinding the pork. We used a lot of the ground pork as pizza topping, Sausage and Red Bean Stew, and also to make these amazing Hot Italian Sausages, and brats. Unfortunately, I think we have already used all of it!
Eric was in charge of the sausage making. I cannot say that I am jealous about that, either. He started by cleaning the small intestines. Ironically, he learned the most from a blog of a missionary in Africa who was doing the same thing!
After “harvesting” the intestines from the pig’s insides, I (Eric writing here) handed them over to some ladies standing nearby to clean for me; they had offered to do it for a small fee, and I was glad to let them! Haitians normally just cook them in soups, but I had sausage making plans!
I brought home a bucket of pig intestines to hopefully turn into some great brats, but didn’t know a lot of the process. It seems the art of homemade sausage is almost lost in this day and age…but thanks to the internet I found some helpful hints. You can’t just use the intestines as they are…they walls are about 1/8 ” thick and really slimy. To turn intestines into sausage casing requires a lot of scraping, after several hours of soaking in salt water to help clean them.
I grabbed a plastic auto body Bondo scraper from a box of car stuff I had laying around, and got to scraping. I probably wasted several feet of casing trying to figure out how much pressure to apply, should it be right side in or right side out, etc. Just when I thought I had really ruined one piece, I held it up and realized it was exactly what it was supposed to look like! The prepared casings are paper thin, just a very thin membrane, but incredibly tough! I was able to fill them with water to see their shape…perfect brat shape!
Our meat grinder did not have the sausage stuffer attachment, so that was another hurdle to overcome. I looked around at some pvc supplies I had laying around, and within 30 minutes or so of cutting, gluing, and filing, I had a workable attachment for the meat grinder.
It was a pretty easy process from that point…just mix all the spices and ground pork, and stuff it into the casings I had just made. It was pretty fun twisting the links after every six inches or so, it definitely takes practice. Each sausage has to be twisted the opposite direction as the previous brat so they hold their shape. It was definitely a rewarding adventure! I absolutely love the spicy Italian sausages I made!