I recently posted that I had gone to Houston, TX and fell in love with a jalapeno cheddar sausage there. Here is a pic of what I am talking about (along with some brisket).
I decided that my goal this summer was to do my best to emulate this sausage back at home. I've never really made sausage before, so this was a dual learning experience. Here we go!
First, I put all the bowls I thought I might use into the fridge for a few hours.
I then put an ice-water mixture into one bowl, then placed the other bowl into that so as I cut up the pork shoulder it I could place the pieces into a cold bowl.
Then I cut up the fatback (recipe to follow at the end).
I set this into the freezer to firm up (about 30 minutes) before grinding.
I worked with two sets of ice-water setups to try to keep everything as cold as possible.
Here's the course-ground meat/fat.
Spices were measured out.
Fry test to make sure I liked the spice levels. I did, so it all went into the fridge overnight so that the cure would work a little magic.
The next day, after getting home from work, I started by soaking the casings. I did one water change, and with the second water I added a little vinegar to soften them up even more.
While they were soaking, I ran the sausage mixture through the smaller grind. On the left is the second (finer) grind, on the right is just the course grind.
While those were setting back up in the fridge, I prepped the cheddar and jalapeno.
All mixed up and ready for stuffing!
I got to use my new LEM 5 pound stuffer...that thing is worth every penny!
Twisted into links.
The first casing took most of the sausage, I did have to add a second casing to finish off the batch.
Into the smoker!
I ran it at 110 for one hour without smoke to dry off the casings (had an IT of 80 at the end of that hour). For the second hour I bumped it up to 140 and started smoking with hickory (had an IT of 100 at the end). Then it was bumped to 160 for the third hour (IT of 140 at the end of that hour). Finally, for the last hour (really only 45 minutes) the smoker was bumped up to 175 until the sausages had an IT of 154. Then they were pulled from the smoker. Here is what they looked like before heading to the ice water bath.
Into the water bath they went!
I then set them out to "bloom" for a couple of hours.
Here they are after about 3 hours of blooming...they weren't getting much darker, and besides, I was already pretty pleased with their color, so I called it done.
Here's what the insides looked like.
Overall, I am pretty happy. From what I can remember, the one I had in Texas had a little more of a beef flavor, even though on the menu it says it is a pork sausage. I'll just have to keep tinkering.
Here is the recipe I was using, which I cut in half.
4 lbs pork shoulder
1 lb fatback
6 diced jalapenos
4 oz extra sharp cheddar (could not readily find high temperature cheddar)
5 tsp salt
4 tsp brown sugar
2.5 tsp black pepper
1 T paprika
1.5 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp cure #1
1.5 tsp oregano
As this was my first sausage, please critique so that I can get better!