Saturday, November 30, 2013

Homemade Sausage!

Today is the last day of firearm deer season.  It is also the last day of November, and my last thankfulness post.  Honestly, I'm a bit thankful for both!

Deer season is a long haul, trying to squeeze in my normal work hours plus daily household/homesteading chores and still find several hours to sit in the woods and hunt.  It is two straight weeks of running hard and no sleeping in, not on Saturday, not on Sunday.

We could just buy more beef from the grocery store, and skip deer hunting all together.  Would be easier.

But not nearly as interesting, as healthy, or as good tasting.  Not to mention all the cool nature-observing stuff we'd miss out on by not sitting in the woods for 45-105 hours each November.

Plus, if we didn't deer hunt, didn't depend so heavily on deer season to provide us with the majority of the red meat in our diet, we wouldn't now be the happy owners of a sausage stuffer!

Two years ago we started making our own summer sausage.  First, using a boxed seasoning mix (and casings) and the stuffer attachment for a Kitchenaid mixer.  That worked, but not optimally, and took a long, long time.

Last year we tried again with the boxed mix and casings, and the stuffing tube that came with our meat grinder.  A little bit faster, but still time consuming.

Attempting to use it to make hunters' sticks, with casings we bought from our local meat counter (they sell hunters sticks, and were willing to sell us a sleeve of their casings when DH asked) was a big FAIL.  Oh, they tasted great, but we didn't have a small enough stuffer tube to use them with.  Ended up trying to stuff the casings using my cookie press.  2 cups of meat at a time.  Lots of air bubbles from refilling the press frequently, lots of frustration trying to hold the casing tight on the smallest end of the press, lots of grumbling.  More than a little marital strife.

This year, we  skipped the boxed spices and casings, instead purchasing casings in the two sizes we desired, and using my inventory of bulk spices to make our own recipes.  DH also went and bought a real honest to goodness sausage stuffer.

It holds 15 pounds of meat at a time, an entire batch of summer sausage or hunter's sticks.  And it came with small, medium, and large stuffing tubes.  Summer sausage size, bratwurst size, and hunter stick/hot dog size.

It stuffs casings quickly, cleanly, and easily.  No more grumbling, no more marital strife; only happy faces and lots of deer sausage!

batch of hunter sticks, stuffed and ready to cook

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