Ramble On

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Everything But the Oink

Making 20 pounds of brats was one of the highlights on
Saturday - as was making the pudding, also shown.

David likes to say “We use everything but the oink” when we talk about butchering, but as the story goes on, he reveals that they used to use that, too.  Over the years the processing has moved away from making products like head cheese, which really does get close to using 98% of the animal, or from using various other body parts in the scrapple. 

Still, “everything but the oink” is a good way to describe the activities of the second day of butchering, which is Saturday, in our case.  That’s when we process the large cuts from Friday down into pork chops and roasts, but it’s also when we take the organ meat – the heart, kidneys and liver, cook them in the pudding pot, and make scrapple. 

When we arrived at the butchering shed on Saturday
morning, Mark was already working on the scrapple, and
on a batch of sausage.
My friends make it out of corn meal and a combination of organ meat, lard, and boiling water.  As I learned last year, it’s called Pon Haus by some, and one of the preferred ways to eat it is to grill a slice and make a sandwich.  (I’ll have a post on a meal of scrapple soon.)

As far as the activities our team went to work on, Chris fired up the band saw to cut down the loins and roasts, and I went to work on a couple of sausage recipes.  We’d planned to take about five pounds of ground pork, 10 of breakfast sausage, and then about 20 pounds of bratwurst.  Chris had made a special stop in Northern Virginia on the way out to pick up six pounds of ground veal that we blended with the pork for the brats.

I picked up all the spices we needed (my brat recipe is posted below), and found the natural casings in a store in Luray.  I loaded it all into the sausage presser and started making links…a challenging process if you’re not doing this all day long, as shown in the video below:

Here’s the brat recipe, which was taken from Jerry Predika’s “The Sausage Making Cookbook” (Amazon link below):
  • 4 lbs. fine ground pork butt
  • 2 lbs. fine ground veal
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram (I used ground and cut this to 1/3 tsp)
  • 1.5 teaspoons white pepper
  • 3 teaspoons salt (I always cut this by half or more)
  • 1 cup cold water

Combine all the ingredients, mix well, grind on fine, and stuff into hog casings.

So that’s all there is to sausage making.  The brats look great though, and I can’t wait to try this year’s batch!

Here’s the Amazon link to the sausage cookbook:

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