Skip to main content

Nothing says carnivore mastery like homemade links. After all, creating them from scratch requires specialized equipment, knowledge of obscure cuts and no small amount of confidence. A whiz when it comes to wieners, Mark Schatzker aims to take the mystery out of grinding and stuffing your own (and even shares his own killer recipe)

1 of 4

Sourcing the right meat: Most home chefs make the same mistake when it comes to sausages: They search for the ultimate recipe when, really, they should be looking for the ultimate sausage meat. After all, good meat, more than any flavouring agent, is the secret to sausage awesomeness. Purchase yours from a butcher who knows his farmers or, better yet, buy it at a farmers’ market. Pork, beef and lamb all make delicious sausages, but pork is the most versatile and forgiving – and the best choice for beginners. Seek out heirloom breeds with bucolic names such as Berkshire, Tamworth and Red Wattle and order the meat “fatty.” If it’s too lean, ask for a piece of back fat or belly to add to your mix, as it’s just not possible for a sausage to be both lean and delicious.

Remie Geoffroi/The Globe and Mail

2 of 4

Going electric: There’s a lot of charm to an old-time hand-cranked meat grinder, but I find an electric model easier to use and so will most beginners. The best option among them is a stand mixer, which is not only good for mixing cake batter and whipping frosting but, with the right attachments, can also grind meat, stuff sausages and even roll pasta and juice oranges. (I use KitchenAid’s Artisan mixer, which has never let me down.) Add on a grinder attachment for grinding and another for stuffing and a single person can handle every aspect of sausage making – or just about: When it comes to stuffing, it’s helpful to have a second pair of hands available, no matter what sort of machine you’re using.

Remie Geoffroi/The Globe and Mail

3 of 4

Mixing things up: For a Canadian variation on a French farmhouse classic, cut 4 1/2 pounds fatty heirloom pork shoulder into chunks that will fit into your grinder, then get it as cold as you can – 1/2 an hour in the freezer should do it – before grinding it in your machine. (The most important rule of sausage making is keeping the meat cold at all times because the fat, if it begins to render, will gum up your grinder, resulting in dry sausages.) Next, using your hands, mix in 2 tablespoons kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground juniper berries, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon powdered black pepper, 1/2 cup white wine and 1/4 cup maple syrup. Put the seasoned pork in the fridge and kiss it good night. The next day, form a tiny sausage patty with your hands, fry it in a pan and taste it. Adjust the salt – or any other seasoning – as desired.

Remie Geoffroi/The Globe and Mail

4 of 4

A twist on stuffing: Now for the fun part: Soak several casings in warm water. (If you still don’t know what that tube-like material encasing sausages is, it’s intestine. The best place to find it is in ethnic butcher shops.) After attaching the sausage-stuffing tube to your mixer, pull a casing over the tube, bunching it up like a stocking. (To avoid trapping air in the casing, don’t knot the end until the whole thing is stuffed.) Next, turn on your mixer, feed dollops of meat into it and watch with joy as the casing gets filled. (The tube should be moderately well-packed with no air bubbles.) When it’s almost full, turn the mixer off, knot both ends of the casing and twist at regular intervals to create the links. Repeat until there’s no more meat. That night, eat your fill for dinner and freeze the rest. And never, ever buy store-bought sausages again.

Remie Geoffroi/The Globe and Mail

Story continues below advertisement

Report an error