Sunday, 27 January 2013

Bit of a sausage-fest in here...

On the way to sausage heaven, pretending to drive the train and loving it
One doesn't, as a rule, get invited to an afternoon of sausage making very often, so it'd be churlish to turn it down when it does happen, and so I didn't. A bit of background: a friend, Mark, who does a lot of shooting of game, had started making sausages from the resultant carcasses. Having recently upgraded from a manual sausage maker to an electric version, he invited me and another friend, Neil, round to have a bash at putting some flavourings and seasonings together. I might have known it was going to be a good day when, despite getting on at Monument, I managed to snare the only really good seat on the Metro. That never happens.

It turned out to be one of the most fun Sundays I've had in a long time. Sausage making is brilliant fun. I won't be able to put any exact recipes down here as it was all a bit experimental, but never mind.

First, the tech. The machine looked pretty impressive to me so I was surprised to find out it could be had for about 30-odd quid. Seems a small price to pay to be able to say you own an Orbit OPM700 Meat Mincer and Sausage Filler.

Mark mincing meat on medium
The meat was to be pork shoulder, procured at a very reasonable price from a supermarket. This was diced and then put through the mincer. Some extra pork back fat was minced and added. We had 6.5 kilos of minced meat to work with, which filled about half a washing basin. While Mark got busy with the mincer Neil and I got on with the first batches of flavourings and seasonings. The first two we went for were a chorizo-style effort with garlic and a shit-load of both smoked and unsmoked paprika, and a spicy one with chipotles in adobo and a texan meat-rub called Salt Lick. We figured on using around 2g salt per 100g of meat, and then mixed batches of approx 70% meat, 10% rusk (purchased from a sausage making shop in Middlesbrough I think) and 20% water. Apparently the rusk and water thing is needed in order to bind the blighters together.

Neil with Chorizo mix. Witness the happiness on this man's face. That's what you get with sausage making.
We fried off teaspoonfuls of each of these mixes and agreed that they tasted pretty damn fine, and so it was onto the business of piping them through the machine. Mark is clearly a man in harmony with his sausage machine; not an air bubble in sight as the first batch came through and into the pre-soaked skins.

For the last two batches we went a bit more idiosycratic. I've never tried a szecheun pepper, fresh roasted chilli, apple and parsley sausage before. Or rather, I hadn't. I have now, and I can tell you it's bloody good. The szecheun pepper it the first thing you taste, then meat and fruitiness give way to a pleasing chilli background heat. What a sausage.

Asian Appletiser, pre-mix
Perhaps best of all was an Italian-style fellow with red wine, tonnes of oregano, sage, rosemary and - just to keep things a bit cosmopolitan - some Indonesian long pepper. This was a total winner; rich, moist, hugely savoury, very herby indeed and with just a bit of poke from the pepper. Of all of them, this would be the one I'd most like in the traditional way, ie with mash and onion gravy.

Home-made chorizo, ready for twisting
The spoils. What a sight.

Frying beautifully
It's worth pointing out that after stuffing you're supposed to leave your sausages to "bloom" overnight, which apparently just means you leave them in the fridge before either consuming or freezing.

Seriously, what a great day! In amongst all this was a champion Sunday lunch (Cheers John) and a number of excited conversations about potential future sausage-shaped adventures. What about smoking them? Or buying some liquid smoke?! Could you put cheese in? I bet finely chopped halloumi would be good! What about veggie ones, could you use lentils? I definitely want to try sumac and Za'atar next time. What about spicy merguez-style lamb ones? Possibilities. Endless.

I now unequivocally know what I want for my next birthday. Gotta get me an Orbit!

If you need any spices for any similar activities and live around Newcastle, I can heartily recommend the good people at Mmm... in the Grainger Market. A stupendous range of herbs, spices and other wonderful things crammed into just one (although soon to be two) retail unit.


  1. Heavy hints for the birthday there Mr Burns! Enjoyed my sampling tonight!! X

  2. I think these are the nicest sausages I've ever tasted, only really tried them from the premix testers but flavour will only get better can't be arsed to try any tonight due to having that massive sunday lunch. tuesday will be good marrying the Gay Huntsman Italian with mash and caramelised onion gravy. Chorizo is gonna be awesome though need to work out a way to cure some of it.

  3. Sounds like a great day. I love sausages and I think it's great to be able to create your own flavours. Can't wait to hear what you put in them next time. Did you take any of the sausages home??

    1. Sure did. Mark was good enough to allow us to share the spoils. Next time the meat will be on me!

  4. Tummy rumbling on reading this!

    1. Ha, good stuff. Maybe we'll scale things up and go into business?! Then you can sample them for yourself!

  5. Fantastic! So many great things you can do with chorizo, I love them with scrambled eggs and potatoes ... Oh, I hope you're not forgetting the kielbasa!

    1. Funny you should mention that, I hadn't thought about attempting any kind of polish-style sausage. Would definately like to try and hot smoke some though, which might be a bit like kielbasa krakowska. I'll need to look for a recipe!

  6. Hello,

    my wife got me the orbit OPM 700 for Christmas 2012.
    I've just tried and have got a lot too learn.
    It was my first attempt!! But 1.8Kg of pork kept me out of mischeif for about 3 hours.
    Had problems with blockages whilst mincing the pork and filling the skins. Any advise?? or tips..

  7. Hi John,

    I wasn't in charge of the mincing, and with it not being my machine I couldn't really advise! Practise makes perfect I suppose.


All comments gratefully received. Sorry about the word verification thing, but I've started getting bombed by spam.

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