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May 23 / scott.campbell

The Plot Fattens

Threatened by a post-trip charcuterie funk, I had no choice but to embark on a sausage-making binge on Saturday.  One of my main goals was to make sausage if the size and shape that I usually see when buying the real stuff.  That meant using large casings – either natural, fibrous, or collagen casings.  I ordered up some hog middles as well as some really big fibrous casings meant for salami.  I went for the fibrous casings as opposed to collagen because (near as I can tell) that’s what Salumi used on the salami we bought from them.

The meat I have left from our nice “local” pig is starting to dwindle.  All the shoulder was used a while ago (one pig’s shoulders make about 3 batches, each about 5 lbs.), so I started into the picnic roast.  That only made about 4 more batches, meaning I was 7 or 8 lbs. short of what I needed to make the 3 batches I was wanting to finish on Saturday.  So, I grabbed a loin, ground it up, and used it for the Tuscan Salami, and part of the Peperone.  Both of these look ok, but I’m not at all sure how they’ll taste.  The pieces we cooked up to test seasonings we good, though.

The stuff I made today looks like this:

You can see the shiny nature of the fibrous casing on the Tuscan Salami (right), and the not-so-shiny natural hog middle on the left – the Peperone.  I’ll continue to spell it that way because that’s the way the book does it. Ruhlman does this, I think, to draw a line between Peperone and Pepperoni (which he calls a “pale imitation of the original Peperone”).  A word about the hog middles we used for the Peperone – they stink real bad – ’nuff said.   The fibrous casings were maybe 3 inches in diameter, and the hog middles were more variable, but probably closer to 2 inches.

I also made some Spanish Chorizo because it was so popular last time.  I just used the usual hog casings, and they looked like this:

We’ll be monitoring both water activity and moisture loss.  It’s going to take a lot longer to dry than the other kinds due to the thickness.  I also made some fresh sausage – Italian, Garlic, and the Andouille, which is pictured below:

This is before being smoked – I think it’ll be tasty in a recipe my family eats a lot – Cajun Beans & Rice.

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