Introduction: How to Make Sausages

About: I like making all sorts of stuff, out of found materials: furniture, wild food, whatever! I've learnt loads from generous people out there, so reuse any useful ideas that you find here...

Sausages are easy to make and delicious, and if you make them yourself, you know exactly what's in them

You can be sure the meat in them is good, and you can flavour then however you like.

Step 1: Choosing Your Meat

Sausages should not be too lean, or they will be dry.  For pork sausages, belly pork is good as it is cheap, but pretty realiably good when cooked - tasty, and not tough. If you use leaner cuts, you can add a bit of fat to keep it moist. Dripping from a roast is always pretty delicious. These ones have been made using belly pork and shoulder.

Step 2: Preparing the Meat

If you are using belly pork, slice off the skin. Don't throw it away though. This can be roasted with a bit of coarse salt and cracked pepper to make great pork scratchings. Once you have meat with no skin slice the meat into small chunks. Cut across the grain, so there are no long stringy bits.

Step 3: Grinding the Meat

You can use a food processor for this. If it has a grinder attachment, it's easy, but if you only have the slicing blade, you may find it comes out stringier than using a grinder. If you do have to use a slicer, rather than a grinder, cutting the meat into very small chunks with the knife in the previous step is even more important.

Here, we are using a hand grinder. What a fantastic tool that is. It's messy, and it's physically quite hard work, but it is much more enjoyable than a quick burst on auto in a processor. Still each to their own.

The different rings with different size holes give a fine or coarse cut. This is a matter of taste.

Step 4: Seasoning the Ground Meat

A good basic mix can be made from plain salt and pepper. Adding a bit of fresh sage is also very good with pork. It's best to pulverise it in a pestle and mortar. If you are using rock salt, add that first along with whole peppercorns. It helps grind up the leaves.

If you like Spanish chorizo, then add a litlle cayenne or other chilli poder, a small amount of cumin, a good amount of garlic powder,  and a lot of paprika to the mix with the salt and pepper. The best way to mix this up is with your hands, but don't do this for too long or the meat may warm up too much.

Step 5: Filling the Sausage Skins With the Meat Mix

Once you have your meat mix, you need to use it to fill the skins. Skins are one thing you need to buy. Here we are using dry beef collagen skins, bought by mail order over the Internet. they are pretty cheap.

Filling them is amusing, but rather tricky. If you have a piping bag, this is a good tool to use. You usually need to secure the skin to the nozzle. Here we are using a piping syringe, which works. The skin can burst if you apply too much heavy pressure, so you have to squeeze the meat down the skin away from the nozzle preriodically to reliev the pressure. 

If you don't have piping tools, you can use a funnel and a wooden spoon handle to ram it in. You can also use a tough food grade bag with the corner cut off. You will need to tape the skin to the bag. Gaffer tape works fine.

Once you have filled the skin, twist it into sausages. Here are shown plain salt and pepper, sage mix and chorizo-style.

Step 6: Cooking Them!

This is the same for any sausage. I tend to roast them in the oven at about gas mar 5/6, with a little fat, and garlic, rosemary  and onions added, but frying and grilling wotk fine. This is personal taste. Go with the vibe!

Step 7: Making Crackling

Last but not least, if you used belly pork, the left over skin can be sliced into inch long pieces and slow roasted to make fine crackling too. Drain well on kitchen paper.