OK, I do have to share something about these challenges. To us they really, truly are a challenge. We can't just go to the grocery store and buy whatever we want to make something truly inspiring and creative. We have to stick to the basics and what we have here or can get from specialty markets - which, quite honestly, isn't very much. Sometimes it's very basic. When July 1st comes we may even be forced to skip challenges depending on what they are since we won't be buying any food at all. We'll be at the mercy of what we have in our pantry.
Our chest freezer is packed with large cuts of meat such as pork shoulder, which is perfect for making sausage as it has the perfect ratio of muscle to fat - 25-30% fat is the target. Unfortunately the piece we pulled out to defrost wasn't a full 5lbs which was called for in the recipe. It also was bone in, which I had to remove. I did have some pork trim that I had pulled out though which could make up the difference in weight.
I diced the pork shoulder and added my spices. I was tempted to go with a hot Italian sausage but decided to go with our favorite spice mix - Cajun Seasoning from Whole Spice Company. I mixed it 40 grams of kosher salt and 2 heaping tablespoons of the Cajun Seasoning.
The most important aspect of making sausage is to keep it extremely cold - almost freezing. After seasoning the meat I stuck it in our chest freezer for a couple of hours, checking on it periodically to make sure it wasn't freezing solid. I also put the metal parts of the grinder in the freezer to get them ice cold.
We luckily had a meat grinder - a really good one that can grind a whole chicken, bones and all - which made this process pretty easy. We ground the spiced meat into our stand mixer's bowl which was placed in ice water to help keep the meat cold.
After soaking hog casings (the inner membrane of a hog's intestine) we stuffed the sausage. Definitely could use some more practice with making the sausage more even. Not bad for the first time though.
So what to do with our first meal of fresh homemade sausage? Put them on a bun of course!
I made some buns which were done rising right before we ground the meat.
Our sausage on a bun. Actually the buns were huge so we put two sausages on one bun. We then added some homemade sauerkraut, grilled onions and homemade ketchup. We served it up with the sausage basted kale. A very nice, homey meal. We still have 23 more sausages. We'll see how long they last....