I started out with 2 big Boston Butts that I got on sale a few weeks ago. I had to wait on some cold weather before I could get started.
Here in NC, we don't have too many cold days in a row that's cold enough to air dry sausage the old fashioned way by just hanging without anything but ambient temps.
I have made sausage like this for several years now and learned this technique from someone that had been making it for MANY years and also sold it. I used to buy air dried sausage from him until he passed a couple of years ago. Before he died, he shared his method with me.
A word of caution. I know a lot of people would not feel comfortable making this without using nitrites or nitrates, so try this at your own risk. That being said, I'm still living and I haven't made any of my family sick either!
I have a meat grinder from Northern Tool. It works good, but I cut my meat into about 1" square pieces and also have it as cold as possible to make it grind easier, especially the fat.
I started out with just a little over 15 lbs. of butts and a little over 12 lbs. of fat.
I laid my large butcher knife across the bowl so you could get an idea of how BIG this bowl is. It's a 3 gal. bowl, so there's a lot of meat in there and this isn't all of it.
12.26 lbs. of fat added to the butts.
The fat is still partially frozen to make it grind easier.
I slice it off and cut it up and mix it in with the meat. Each layer, I add sausage seasoning, pepper flakes, and extra sage. I like a lot of sage!
I've found that it's easier to mix my seasoning in with the meat before grinding. It helps me eyeball how much seasoning I'm using and it mixes much easier with the grinder rather than trying to mix it in by hand after it's ground. I don't measure anything, I just add by looking at it and after I grind it up I'll fry a patty to taste test. It was perfect the first time!
This is the seasoning I use. This pack says it will season 25 lbs. of meat....I use a little more plus I add extra red pepper flakes and lots of sage.
After first grind with medium blade.
Second grind with fine blade.
Test patty in the iron skillet.
Mmmmmm! Perfect and ready to be stuffed.
This is my 15 lb. Kitchener Stuffer from Northern Tool. All steel gears works great. I think they've changed to plastic gears on this model now. :(
First batch loaded.
About 30 lbs. ready to hang! I just watched the weather and we have temps only in the 40's through next Tuesday....7 days cold weather in a row. We don't get too many of those here in the Piedmont area of NC.
I'll post some pics after it's finished.