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Old guys showing us how its done

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
After 6 or 7 years of complaining to the old guys that they needed to show us young pups how they make the sausage before they all die, they finally relented. I remember as a kid watching them butcher hogs and cattle at my Uncle Jack's farm and then making summer sausage a week or so later. Back then they did it like the family has done it for as long as anyone can remember, cutting and trimming and grinding the meat the night before, then cleaning the natural casing again and stuffing and starting the smoke the next day. It was normal every year to do around 600 pounds and the most they said they ever did was 1500 pounds in one weekend. The recipe has stayed the same forever except this year we couldn't get salt peter so we used cure #1 (my uncle said it was weird, when you mixed the salt peter with the meat it turned pink then turned brown as you cooked your test patties, the cure #1 turned the meat brown when you mixed it but cooked out pink). The recipe is pretty simple: 1/3 beef specials (they call it selects now, I'm going to have to ask the butcher next time I'm in town what it is exactly), 2/3 pork butts canning salt (flaky stuff), butcher's pepper, mustard seed (un-ground), garlic water (fill the bottom of a quart mason jar with un-smashed peeled garlic cloves, fill with boiling water and seal the day before) and your cure.

I live about 4 hours away so my cousin and uncle got all the meat and supplies ordered from Schneider's Quality Meats a local butcher shop that has been in business as long as I can remember. We decided for time saving we would let them grind the meat this time only 40 cents extra a pound. They also had all the casings (pre tied) and spices.

One of the guys made sausage had a friend who had a water pressure sausage stuffer and pneumatic hog ring gun we could use. My uncle said that both of those made it almost too easy, I agree I couldn't imagine using the old 1 gallon stuffer or hand tying all those sausages. The water stuffer is a work of art and will hold a little over 55 pounds at a time, and is homemade, I'm not sure I could ever justify the $800 for the hog ringer.

We finished up the sausage and hung it all at about 3pm and started the smoking, which uses green scaly bark hickory and some sassafras and a little apple wood if it is available (using green wood goes against everything I've ever learned about smoking but they say they having been doing it that way forever and the sausage is good). We got the fire a little hot in the beginning so my uncle said we may have a hard rind, but that it will still taste good, we cold smoked it for a little over 24 hours and will let it hang in the smoke house for 4 to 6 weeks, depending on the weather.

Here are some pics, I'll add more when the sausage is done. Sorry about the long post

The Garlic Water

All mixed ready to stuff

Old stuffer

New stuffer


Smoke House (old as hell, been recovered a few times)

About half the sausage hung the darker ones are some of 60 pounds of deer and pork mix.
post #2 of 18
you cant be showing smoker addicts pictures like that, now I got to build a frickin shed in my backyard. Thanks alot!!
post #3 of 18
Now,THAT'S a smokehouse!

Good post.
post #4 of 18
apologizing for the length of the post?

This was great! PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
post #5 of 18
That is awesome, great family tradition
post #6 of 18
Im diggin it!
can you give some detail on the old smoke house and the water stuffer build
post #7 of 18
That is old school. A lot of farms have a small utility shed they call a "smoke house", but not many of them are used for that.

Keep us posted on how it turns out. Looks like you made enough for everybody, so if you need an address on where to send it, let us know.
post #8 of 18
Love to see some finished pics. Great post!
post #9 of 18
Yup, good ta learn the old ways, cause there be less folk doin it all the time.

Ya see, in a big old smoke house like that ya can get away with the green wood cause it's such a large area ya don't have ta work as much bout creosote buildin up. One disadvantage ta tadays small smokers.

Document everthin ya learn an try ta get young folk ta learn it. Someday my fear is all the old ways round here will be lost. Some of it ya will never be able ta get back, some ya can get from folks what wrote it all down. Still, the best way ta learn is from the old folk, workin side by side with em over time.

Good job on the sausage!
post #10 of 18
Very cool!!PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
post #11 of 18
Great informative post, points to you my friend.
post #12 of 18
Aint that the truth!
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
I don't know much about the smoke house other than it was built at about the time the old farm house was and that was torn down about 25 years ago, all the wood looks to be of the old style when a 2 x 4 was 2" x 4", it was recovered with aluminum siding and the roof reshingled a long time ago, but I remember as a kid, using it for hide and seek.

As for the water stuffer I would think you would need to be a good welder, it is an 8 or 10 inch piece of stainless steel pipe that was salvaged years ago when AB brewery did some work. Flanges are cut and welded to the top and bottom, then a plates are made that you can bolt down to the top and bottom. On the bottom is a couple of ball vavlve that just hook to the water supply, the one closest to the cylinder is for water relief and only on if you want the plug to fall back down. On top is a ball valve to release air before you start stuffing, the other one is just copper and a ball valve to control the sausage. The important part I was told is the plug, it is machined out of the same stuff that cutting boards are made out of with a couple of grooves to hold gaskets, only one was needed though. The think worked like a charm and pushed up almost all of the sausage, I think you would lose about a pound or less stuck in the tube but if you were doing multiple batches like we were the next batch pushed it out. After doing over 500 pounds that day I only saw 3 blow outs (we just fried that up for lunch). I think if you had more water pressure this thing would fly but we were working on a well (it picked up speed when the pump came on) but it was plenty fast for me; including breakdown putting the meat in and stuffing we were averaging less then an hour to stuff 57 pounds. Oh and clean up was a breeze, it all came apart and was cleaned up and ready to store in about 15 minutes with two people working on it.
post #14 of 18

Great way to preserve a great tradition.

points.gif I don't know where to start with the points, the smoke shed, the water stuffer, or learning from the old timers.

I think your persistance for getting them to show you how they do it by far the best way to learn. They don't write that kind of stuff in books.

It is great to have some great educators that are willing to hand down traditions and tricks of the trade
post #15 of 18
This has got to be one of the best posts ever!!!!! Thanks for the Information.
post #16 of 18
Great job. We still butcher at home, but not many do these days. Make sure to include pics of the finished product and smoking process.
post #17 of 18
That is a great post on a great sausage making session. Thanks for sharing this with us. That is indeed a smokeHOUSE, the real deal for sure. You sure don't have to apologize for a long post. On the contrary, it is greatly appreciated. Where is the fire built for the smokehouse?
post #18 of 18
This was a great informative post! I don't do stuffing or sausages, but reading this post brings back childhood memories.

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