Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Everybody into the grinder ...

And the casings ...

Well, here it is dear readers. I present you The greatest Italian Sausage and The ridiculously delicious to die for Italian Cotechino. The original technique and recipe was handed down through generations of a very special Italian family. It was then passed on through Chad by Carmine and very gratefully now from Chad through me. I love links. Thank you.

Time to dish.

Carmine's Italian Sausage and Cotechino Courtesy of Chad

Step 1. Take a breather from the headcheese you just made because it was pretty crazy. Have an Old Speckled Hen.

                                Check. Old Speckled Hen. No photo. Didn't make it. It's beer. It's awesome.

Step 2. Carry the pig leg on your shoulder just because it's cool and fun, place it on a table and admire the meaty glory.

Check. Carrying pig leg on shoulder. Super cool.

Check. On the table. Admiring meaty glory.

Step 3. Listen carefully to instructions from the king of pig, hold in your bubbling excitement & watch your fingers.

                    Check. Listening. Watching. Holding in bubbling excitement. No photo, also perished.

Step 4. Butcher and take a picture of the men you know butchering. It's really special.

Check. Butchering.

Check. Butchering some more. Loving it.

Check. Men I know butchering (one of them is husband). Documented.

Gratuitous butchering shot. Husband doing it. Kinda macho.Very impressed.

Step 5. Make a pile of the butchered meat and separate the skin and fat.

Check. Piles separated.

Step 6. Get ready for the grinder. Slice the meat into slabs so that they fit nicely into your grinder. Your mixture should consist of meat and fat - three to one (the skin is only for the Cotechino which we will get to later). You need two people for this so it is a communal effort. One feeds and stuffs and the other pulls the sausage as the meat fills the casings. If you have a third person they will probably be the one with the filthy mind quipping about what resembles what. Ahem.

                                                                 Check. Getting ready. No getting ready shot. Perished.

Step 7. Everybody into the grinder. Three pieces of meat, one of fat. Once everything is ground lay flat, season with sea salt salt, pepper, chili flakes, cayenne pepper and fennel seeds.
Check. Everybody into the grinder.

Lots of grinding. Big leg. Take turns.

Check. Lay flat and season while king of pig studies recipe for perfection.

Step 8. After the seasoning prepare for round two. Place the casing (with one end tied so everything does not spill out) on the nozzle of the grinder. Shape the meat into tennis ball rounds (easier to stuff grinder). Then, second grinding. Go. And pull. And stuff. And grind. And pull and stuff and grind.

Check. Casing on nozzle and pork tennis balls.

Check. And pull and stuff and grind.

Step 10. Twist into links. They are done.

Check. Twisted into links. Done.

Step 11. Grab another Old Speckled Hen. Phfew.

Step 12. Ice your shoulder. You'll see ...

Once done, you can freeze these little bundles of deliciousness in containers in the freezer. To cook we fried them once and grilled them the second time. They were the best sausages I have ever tasted.

I cannot believe I am going to say this dear readers but I will post the Cotechino separately for the same reasons as the headcheese. Tomorrow. I swear. We will call it the series of three: Adventures in Porkland. **Can you imagine we had delusions of doing all this and the head cheese in one day.**

In loving memory: Carmine died a few years ago and is dealry missed by his friend Chad. His memory and beautiful recipes live on.


  1. So this is why dinner was cancelled you have been a busy beaver. When do we get to sample your endeavours??
    I have never mastered butchery so this was a great lesson.


  2. @ Drea - They are in the freezer waiting for you. Sent you a message. That's great Drea, super cool. Oana

  3. OANA! I cannot believe you dared to store those jewels of "salsicce" in the freezer... Vergogna!

  4. ALE! - There were like 80 sausages! We gave some away but we had so many left. We even dried some and there were still 80 left. Freeze or die. Unless you know of another way?

  5. I am always so amazed by your huge cooking endeavors. Youe carnivorous freak girl, love you!

  6. ... SALT yes... but you also ought to "cheat" (only a bit) with -still very natural- Sodium Nitrate... -available through Amazon.com- and the lovely display of your charcuterie beautifully hanging in your living room to dry in the fresh spring Montreal air... ;)

  7. @ CEE - Thanks dear. You've pegged me well. Wait until I do nothing but vegetables for the summer ...

  8. @ Ale - We did that. We dried them and we used the sodium nitrate. And we STILL had 80 left over. I mean, how many dried sausages can one give away and eat. Give me the salty moist ocean air. I'll take that.

  9. husband here - they were some of the best sausages I have ever had. And there's nothing like carving meat!

  10. Wow! Though I've worked in a lot of restaurant kitchens, it's my dream to spend some time working in a butcher's to learn how to butcher a carcass, this is an amazing post.

  11. What fun you meat-eaters get up to. I would love to call up my friends and tell them to come over for a sausage-making party! Of course, there is that pesky vegetarianism again. Maybe one day.

  12. @ Husband - It's true, it really is something special.

  13. @ Sasassunakku - Thank you. It was a great experience. I hope there will be more lessons in the future. Working on it :)

  14. @ Katie - What about making your own tofu or seitan at home and then putting that through a grinder with all the other fun stuff for veggie sausages. It would be great to see what ingredients you can add to mimic meat ones. Hmmm. Veggie sausage post in the future?

  15. Yeah, I've been thinking about using seitan to mimic some ground meat products. Is it possible to get vegetarian sausage casings? I don't know the first thing about making sausage.

  16. @ Katie - I don't know but your question intrigues me. There must be because there are veg sausages around. I'm going to look into it. It would be kind of fun to see if I can make a no meat version :).