Fresh moose sausage - early efforts February 24, 2013 14:07

Some months ago the stars aligned, and after years of theoretical interest I finally got to try my hand at sausage making.  A friend was running out of creative ways to eat the ground moose with which his dad had stocked his freezer, and I'd recently gotten my hands on a simple old school sausage grinder / stuffer (i.e. I took it from the store).  The stage was set.

 2012-10-22 21.39.06
dark red ground moose with a handful of breadcrumbs

 Here's the moose as it came out of the freezer.  It's incredibly lean, and this was after it was already supplemented with beef fat.  Those are breadcrumbs poured over the moose to act as a binder.  Ideally these get added after the salt, seasoning, and any water are mixed in, but we didn't know this at the time.

 2012-10-22 21.14.47
grinding the beef fat... or should I say smearing it

 Did I mention the moose was lean?  The moose (with a small amount of beef fat added) was around 5% fat, so we ground up beef fat from the butcher to bring the % fat up toward 20% (still quite lean for sausage!).  You'll notice a bit of a problem in the above photo- the fat is getting mushed up into almost a paste by the action of the grinder.  We learned that we'd allowed the fat to get too warm before feeding it through.  We should have kept the fat frozen or at least very cold until ready to grind it.

 2012-10-22 22.09.32
natural casings aren't as fragile as they look, but threading them onto the stuffing horn is still a delicate procedure

 Loading the casings onto the stuffing horn.  Here we're using natural hog casings around 35mm in diameter.  They're packed in salt as "shorts" or pieces just over a meter long.  This is convenient because it means you can feed the whole length onto a horn as shown here.  Most resources recommend rinsing and soaking the casings before use; you can see the rinsed casings in the upper right.

 2012-10-22 22.08.58
"Ta-da! Says Chris.


 2012-10-25 14.20.04
all gussied up with fixin's

 They weren't the best or juiciest sausages I've eaten in my life, but we learned enough to do it a little better next time and that's what counts.  When paired with home-grown oyster mushrooms, homemade mustard and fresh sauerkraut, it was still a pretty darned good lunch.  Bon appetit!