Meat Day

With Wonderful Beer Wife out of town for a couple of days, the men of the house declared it Meat Day.

It, of course, evolved into much more than that: target practice; Iggy Pop, The White Stripes, Hayseed Dixie and the Ramones as loud as we wanted; war movies; homemade, stoneground mustard  and ice cream. Kyle even stopped by for a beer.

But the original plan was simply to take this time  to fire up a batch of beef jerky (4#) and take our first pass at making sausage (breakfast [2#] and Polish [4#]).

By all measures, the project was a success. It was our maiden voyage where sausage was concerned and we made adjustments from batch one to batch two, as well as having refined our casing-stuffing technique. Using recipes that turned up on the Internet, we started with the breakfast sausage so we’d have something to eat for a late brunch and found them to be a little dry and lacking in fat, so in the afternoon, we fried a pound of bacon for a snack and added the grease to our Polish sausage mixture. We bought synthetic casings from our local butcher, but next time we plan on tracking down sheep casings for a round of bratwurst.

Breakfast Sausage (per 1 pound of ground pork)

1 tsp pickling salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp rubbed sage (I don’t think this is nearly enough)

1/8 tsp Ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp thyme

1/4 tsp paprika

2 oz. cold water

We did the lazy man’s version in both cases, having just purchased ground pork and not running it through a meat grinder after mixing in the spices. We simply combined our dry ingredients in a bowl and then worked them into the meat until well incorporated (adding water at that moment). We then chilled the mixture for at least 30 minutes, and then stuffed by hand into our casings.

Polish Sausage (per 1 pound of ground pork)

1 1/2 tsp pickling salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp marjoram

1/4 tsp garlic salt

a couple of drops of Liquid Smoke

Most of the fat from a pound of bacon

Same process as the breakfast sausage, chilling 30 min, then stuffing into casings. If it gets to warming up on you, you’ll want to take a break and chill it down again. You can smoke this at 130F for five hours, but we’re skipping that for this first experimental batch. I can’t speak just yet to how this one came out, as we’re having it this evening.

As mentioned above, we did a batch of stoneground mustard, which was both simple and pungent:

brewvana stoneground mustard

1/3 cup red wine

1/3 cup white vinegar

3 T black mustard seeds

1 1/2 T brown mustard seeds

1 1/2 T yellow mustard seeds

1 shallot, diced fine

Bash your mustard with the old mortar and pestle (or cheat with a spice grinder, which I’ll admit I did, even though I have a great stone mortar and pestle–I just pulsed it until it looked right). Stir in your other ingredients and cover in the fridge for 24 hours.  Whiz up in a mini-prep, if you wish, to the desired consistency.

This stuff is simple, pungent and wonderful, and I’m never buying mustard again.

Beef Jerky

I first made jerky long ago when I first got my food dehydrator. It was perfect and I wouldn’t have changed a thing, except I never got around to writing down the incredible marinade recipe I made up that day. This version is simple and not as good as the old one. Someday I need to give that one some deep thought and recover that recipe from the cobwebbed recesses of my mind.

4-5 # rump roast, sliced thin

1 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

about a thumb’s sized piece of grated ginger

1 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp sesame oil

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Marinade at least overnight. Stack on the food dehydrator. Rotate the trays every couple of hours for even drying. This batch went about 24 hours, and no, I didn’t get up in the middle of the night to rotate.

I don’t know what women do when their husbands go out of town, but the boys and I tend to get productive and masculine. Male bonding in the kitchen. The only question is, do we shower before she gets back tonight?

2 Responses to Meat Day

  1. Thanks for the jerky recipe, always looking to try new ones.

  2. Bailey says:

    Those sausages look excellent. I really need to up my game on the processed meat product front. Maybe this year I’ll finally make those Serrano-style hams I’ve been planning since 2005….

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