The Q-View below is VERY basic. If you have never ground sausage before, I want you to know just how easy it really is. Do your prep work diligently, make sure you run a clean kitchen, have the right equipment and follow the directions.
Being from Chicago originally, I am not allowed to be a Green Bay Packer Fan, but I do like the idea of green onions and cheddar cheese making a green-and-gold bratwurst. What follows below is a recipe and step-by-step suitable for anyone making sausage for the first time.
2lb pork shoulder, trimmed and cubed
1lb beef flank, trimmed and cubed
4 oz cheddar, made into a tiny dice
1/2 cup of chopped green onion
3/4 cup powdered milk solids
4 TB salt
1 TB freshly ground black pepper
1 TB mace
a grinder turn or two of dried ginger, if you have it handy
5/8 cup whole milk
Hog casings (I cleaned about three feet)
All the stuffing stuff: Technically this picture comes AFTER the one below it. I always cube my meat FIRST and then toss it in the freezer to get nice and cold before it goes in the grinder.
Pork and Beef
Once your meat is chopped, pop it in the freezer while you prep everything else. I just left it on the cutting board in a single layer. Ideally, you'd like ice crystals on your meat. Cold meet grinds better and we all know the importance of keeping meat ICY cold as long as possible, right? :)
Into the freezer:
Now, while that's getting icy... Go prep. Fix the other ingredients. Get your grinder ready. (I am going to do a post very soon on the Care and Feeding of an Electric Grinder) Grab an ice bowl, fill it with ice, and grab a clean bowl to grind into. Don't forget to turn up the stereo!! I find sausage tastes better if I am dancing while making it!!
We need to prep our hog casings now. If you like them packed in salt, they look kinda funny. They need to be cleaned and soaked. Thirty minutes in warmish water is fine for most salt packed casings once cleaned.
They look kinda like snowy shoestrings:
Rinse the outside first, getting the salt grains off.
Then, carefully rinse the inside. Be careful. They want to slip and slide down your sink and I cannot even IMAGINE the bacteria development three feet into your sink. ::shudder:: Essentially you want to get them nice and clean, inside and out. All the while, look for holes, tears, etc.
Get them soaking in nice warm water.
At the last possible moment, go get the meat back out of the freezer.
Grind away, mixing your meats together.
Once that is done, mix the meat with the cheese and onion...
Whisk together all the other goodies (milk, egg, etc)
Mix all of it and transfer the mix (it will look very wet) into your stuffer.
I used a medium stuffer horn, tied off one end of the casings and got them slid on. This operation cannot be TOO wet. You want water-water-everywhere. Get the horn wet. Get your trays wet. Get your HANDS wet! Casings don't like hitting anything dry. That is how you tear them.
I also plan to do a post on the care-and-feeding of a stuffer. More pics like those will be there.
For now? Let's just STUFF SOME BRATS!!
Twist them off. You need to make sure that every brat gets twisted the opposite way. So if you twist the first one TOWARDS you then twist the second one AWAY from you. I learned (just this year, thank you SMF friends) that you can also twist one, measure two, twist the third the same way as the first, effectively twisting the second one in the process. Someone better than me needs to describe this, clearly. ;) Find a length you like and twist away. (Ignore that little squidgy brat on the end... that's for the Sweet Prince, my nearly two-year-old)
I find that if I then place them in the fridge for an hour or so, they cut apart very neatly with no loss of filling.
Grill, nice and slow, for 30 min or so... turning regularly. Mmmm.... The milk solids and egg help make this mix nice and juicy, but substantial enough to hold in that Cheddar goodness.
If you try this, please let me know what you think?