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Homemade Perfection – Sausage and Beer

November 6, 2008
Finished Sausage

Our homemade Maple sausage

This post comes from our guest blogger, Peter K. 

As we approach the coming cooler seasons, I can’t help but be extremely excited.  Some people might be eager for the cool, crisp air, some for the many upcoming holidays, and some for the first morning they wake to a fresh snowfall.  For myself, however, there are two things I’m looking forward to the most: making homemade beer and sausage.

For a while now I have been an avid fan of premium beers and have been looking for an excuse to make beer at home.  When my roommate came home with nearly 60 lbs of pork, we figured it would be the perfect time to stock up on the winter essentials.  With a sausage grinder attachment for his KitchenAid and my brew kit, we were ready to begin.

Both of these processes were well over 2000 years old, and have been honed and perfected over time.  As we started our journey to walk in the footsteps of ancient culinarians, we had to ask ourselves one question: What exactly did we want to make?  After a quick brainstorming session, we decided that for the sausage we would make a variety of five different one-pound sausage links and see which was the best.

sausage prep

Getting all the ingredients ready for the filling

We tried to cover all of our bases, and went with the following varieties:  hot pepper and ginger, maple and cipollini onion, herb, honey apple, and fennel and horseradish.  With the exception of preparing the specific flavoring ingredients for each sausage, the basic steps are all the same.  After a mouth-watering taste test, I would have to say that the maple and cipollini sausage was my favorite, so that is the recipe I have decided to share with you.

Being as this was our first beer, we decided to go with a simple ale and used a recipe we got from another happy Vermont homebrew brewer.  We are lucky enough to have a garden in which we grow our own hops, so after a quick trip to the store to buy the remaining ingredients, we were ready to start brewing.  After the initial one-time $75 payment for the supplies, each batch of beer costs about $25-$40 to make and will yield about 48-52 bottles.  For me, this beats buying a $20 case of mediocre beer any day.

To be honest, there was a lot more sitting around and waiting than I would have liked, and being the impatient person that I am, waiting for three more weeks to taste the final product is going to torment me.  The whole process takes only about 20 minutes of active time after sanitizing the bottles, but took about 4 hours.  Luckily, good company from my roommate and my girlfriend, along with a couple of good beers to keep me in the right mindset, allowed the time to quickly pass.  From what I have experienced, the quality of a good homebrew and the price you have to pay for it surpasses most beers you can find in a local store.  If you have a little time and an enthusiasm for good food and beer, I cannot suggest a better way to start off a perfect fall.

MAPLE AND CIPOLLINI SAUSAGE

1 lb. pork butt

4 T maple syrup

Mixing the ingredients for the filling

Mixing the ingredients for the filling

1 ½ T cipollini onions

¼ T salt

3 ft. hog casing

•    Chop the pork into small cubes and put them through a coarse grinder.

•    While you peel the cipollini onions, melt 1 T. butter in a frying pan on medium heat.  Add the cipollinis and sauté them until golden brown.

•    Chop them into fine pieces and add them, the maple syrup, and the salt into a mixer with the ground pork.  Mix until combined.

•    Attach the sausage stuffer to the mixer.  Place the casing on the end of the machine, tying off one end, and begin feeding the filling through.  Here, you can either twist off individual links or just let the whole casing fill up as one sausage.

•    The motion gets some getting used to, so don’t be turned off if the sausage isn’t perfect the first time.  You can always go back and remold them.  My roommate and I found it was easiest for one person to feed the filling through, while the other worked the casing and twisted off the links.

NEW PENNY ALE

Grains:

4 oz. carafoam

4 oz. carahell

4 oz. munich

4 oz. dark wheat

4 oz. Belgian biscuit

6 lbs. extra-light malt extract

1 oz. perle hops

1 oz. tettnanger hops

10 g. dry ale yeast

¾ c. corn sugar

•    Place all of the crushed grains in a muslin bag and tie off without compacting the grains.

•    Place bag in a 4-5 gallon pot with 2-4 qts. of warm, not boiling, water (around 150-160F).  Cover the pot, and turn off heat.  Let steep for 45-60 minutes.

•    When done, pull the bag out and set aside in a bowl.  Add malt extract and as much additional water as your pot will allow (in a 5 gallon pot try to boil 3.5-4 gallons).

Once the hops are added, boil the mash for one hour

Once the hops are added, boil the mash for one hour

•    Bring the mixture up to a boil, and add any extra water that the bag let off into the bowl.  The boil may cause the mixture to foam; if it does, take the pot off the stove, lower the heat and then adjust it when you place the pot back on to keep it at a rolling boil.

•    Place all of the perle hops in and continue to boil for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, add .5 oz. of the tettnanger hops, and boil for another 25 minutes.  Add the last .5 oz. of the tettnanger hops and boil for 5 more minutes.

•    Take the pot off the stove and cool it down as quickly as possible.  You want to cool it to 68-72F.  My roommate and I filled the sink with ice water and placed the pot in there.  We had to drain the water once and refill it because it got too warm, but it only takes about 45 minutes to bring the mixture down to temperature.

•    Re-hydrate the yeast in 1 c. of warm (100F) water.  Cover and let steep for 15 minutes.  Add the cooled mixture and the yeast into the fermentation bucket and swirl the mixture to allow air in.

•    Cover the bucket, place the airlock in the top of the bucket, and place in a cool, dark place that will remain a consistent temperature.  This will stay and ferment for about 7-10 days.

•    When ready to bottle, boil ¾ c. corn sugar in 1-2 c. water for 2-3 minutes.  Pour the solution into the bottling bucket.  Siphon the beer into the bottling bucket, making sure not to splash.  Once all in the bottling bucket, fill each bottle and place the caps on.

•    You should let your homebrew carbonate for 7-14 days at the same temperature it fermented at.  It can improve in the bottles for 4-6 weeks.

•    You’re ready to drink some beer!

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