I love a good collaboration with like-minded folks, especially when it combines comraderie, creativity and sustainability. But throw in some unabashedly poor taste jokes and boom, it’s a party. Yup, a Sausage Party!
My talented friend, Belinda, who hand-crafts the most beautifully artful all-natural soaps as her side gig (@loveyoursuds) and I were looking for a way to collaborate our like-minded interests. We had recently reconnected (having worked together many years ago), discovered we lived very near each other, and met up to make a great “trade” – some of her soap plus a formerly loved green hoody for some of our deer sausages and 5 lbs of concord grapes from my yard! Belinda’s boyfriend loved the sausages, and we were looking for an opportunity for our partners to meet socially, so we lined up a date for, you guessed it, a sausage party!
Because my husband is a hunter, we have to credit him for the main ingredient, the meat! I pre-thawed 7lbs of ground deer, 2 lbs of beef (from our Langley family farm source, Capko Farms) and 1lb of elk, and I purchased 5lbs of pork fat and the sausage casings from our local meat shop (Beefway Meats). Belinda had made sausage before, so she suggested a recipe, and managed to borrow a sausage stuffer from a friend, while we hauled out our hand-me-down 1970’s meat grinder that Stewart had been dying to use since ensconcing it from his parents’ garage last year. A few spices and some onion, and we were ready to go!
Because it was a social gathering too, it was important that we enjoy some fun drinks and eats, so I put together a charcuterie plate and red wine, and Belinda and Ken brought homemade pizza and craft beer from the new Luppolo brewery– yum!
We sanitized the island counter so we could all get in on the mixing right on the counter, and decided to make separate batches for the deer, elk and beef, with slight variations to the recipe for each (add sun dried tomatoes, add red pepper flakes, etc.). Some of us mixed while others washed and got the grinder and attachments ready.
This grinder is a relic and a bit special in its own right, as Stewart’s father, who passed away last fall, used it to make his own sausages (and grind all his meat) at least thirty years ago. Its fire engine red exterior complemented the bright yellow apron (advertising French mustard) that was still in the box. Hence, we all had to don aprons to get in on the fun. Mine was a particularly cheesy Christmas bear apron (It’s February).
Next, we ground the fat and mixed it into the seasoned meat mixture (note: wild meat has very little fat so requires some extra for taste and juiciness). I almost didn’t post this photo, as it looks a little gross, but I figure if you’re still reading, you can’t be too put off at this point. I won’t however post the video we took of grinding the fat, as that was even a little much for the hunter among us. Eek.
We did fry up a bit of the mixture for a taste test, and all agreed it was tasty!
Then, once the sausage stuffing attachment was fitted on the grinder, Belinda gave a demonstration how to use it, and that’s when most of the inappropriate jokes began, in front of our teenage daughter, who suddenly became interested in helping us, and hey, what better way to also spend some time with your kid on her own accord.
The stuffing ensued, and all hands were on deck to try to get the sausages a consistent length and thickness (roughly 6″) without overwhelming Belinda, who was feeding the casings. This we just had to get on video.
Once we had a few pounds prepared, I started packaging them, simply, with freezer paper, a scale to get the packages an even weight (1lb each) and some masking tape.
We ended up with 7lbs per couple, plus one for the friend.
All in all a great, fun experience which we plan to do again with new and more daring recipes, as soon as our own sausage stuffer from Amazon shows up!
If you’d like more details or have questions, leave us a comment below. Thanks!