Archive for Money

Homemade Sausage & How to Make It

Homemade Sausage?

Have you ever tried homemade sausage? Making homemade sausage can save you money. The meat used is typically pork shoulder (Boston Butt) and it can be found on sale for less than $1 per pound. The other supplies and ingredients you will need are seasoning and casings (casings are optional if you want loose sausage to make patties or crumbles with). You will also need a meat grinder or a meat grinding attachment for your mixer.

photo of freshly made bratwurstI took advantage of a sale on Boston Butt (pork shoulder) a few weeks ago… it was under $1 a pound, so I figured I’d grab a couple and use one for BBQ pork and the other for Bratwurst.

In all honesty, my results were just so-so. I’ve got the technique down, but I’m not happy with the seasoning. My last batch (a year or so ago) I mixed up my own seasoning and it just wasn’t quite right, so I decided to buy packaged seasoning this time. On the last batch I also made the mistake of trimming my pork, which actually makes the sausage too dry. In fact several of the recipes I’ve read have you ADD fat to get the right texture and flavor. There aren’t exactly a lot of choices when it comes to bratwurst seasoning. I went to Central Meats on Kempsville Rd. and got my casings and a package of Legg’s Old Fashioned Seasoning. (both come with enough to make 25 pounds of sausage, I was only making 10, so I measured out the pro-rated amount) The casings and seasoning came to just over $9. You can order both casings and seasoning on Amazon.

Guess what? The packaged seasoning wasn’t any better than my own! The thing is, while it’s not bad, I’m looking for something that tastes more like Johnsonville Brats, and these ain’t it!

How to make sausage (homemade)

Making homemade sausage isn’t complicated, but you do need a meat grinder. Mine is the food grinder attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer. If you’re gonna stuff the sausage in casings you need an attachment for that as well. I use the Kitchen Aid Sausage Stuffer Attachment.

  • Cut the meat into 1″ chunks, including the FAT
  • Grind the meat using a coarse grinding plate
  • Mix in the seasoning
  • Re-grind the meat using a fine grinding plate (if you’re not stuffing it, you’re done!)
  • Attach a correctly-sized sausage-stuffing tube
  • Grab an assistant and while one person stuffs globs of ground, seasoned meat into the meat grinder shoot, the other one catches the sausages and twists the segments. This can get a little wonky, best if the person with bigger hands and/or better coordination handles this part.

I like to let the sausage flavorings mull a bit before cooking. Usually a day in the fridge is fine. For the sausages I’m going to freeze, I pile them up on wax paper so they aren’t touching and ‘flash freeze’ so I can bag them later and still be able to only get out the number of links we’re gonna use for any particular meal.

I’m not going to post my bratwurst seasoning recipe, since I don’t think it’s that great. My Italian sausage and my breakfast sausage recipes are simple and excellent. Leave a comment or send me a message if you’re interested in those recipes. If someone has a Johnsonville-tasting brat seasoning recipe, I’d love to have it!

For more information about making homemade sausage visit Homemade Sausage Recipes and Tips at about.com

Day 13 – AYGC

I knew tonight was going to kill our budget… it was my father in-law’s 75th birthday, which was the reason for our trip to Ohio. His brother and his wife flew out from California and his sister flew in from Texas to help celebrate — so we went out for dinner… and we picked up the tab. Even if we only calculated the meals by my husband, my son and me, I think we went over. Hubby has the receipt in his wallet. I have to do the math yet, and will get to that once we get home.

Even if we went over budget this week, I’m still going to keep “playing.” It’s a personal challenge for me. Back in February or March I’d challenged myself to not spend more than $100 in groceries for the MONTH, and I was only $20 over, and most of the money I’d spent was on soft drinks. (BTW, that $100 was including household goods and personal products.)

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Day 6 – AYGC

Another day with no shopping. Just using up what we have on hand: fishsticks and beer-batter french fries, heated in the oven. Simple and yummy.

For the second time this week, I did something head-slapping stupid. While digging through the chest freezer I set something on the clothes dryer (next to it) to get it out of the way and forgot to put it back. Ug! I wasted a bag of pre-cooked hamburger and a tub of cool whip. I really hate it when I do that–I got to a lot of trouble to save money, so throwing it away like that just ruins my day. The only saving grace is that I never pay more than a buck a pound for hamburger and I usually get my cool whip for free after coupons. Still…

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