Yes, that’s right. Seafood! In sausage form! Is there no end to the sausage madness?
We decided to make a batch of Lobster, Shrimp and Leek Sausage (from Charcuterie) to serve as part of the appetizer segments of both Christmas Eve and Christmas. Not a ton of it, because we didn’t know how it would be. But enough for everyone to taste.
And so everyone could say “Wow! I’ve never had lobster sausage before!”
We live for praise. We live to inspire.
This is John. (John is the taller one.) Telling you about John would take a whole separate website, and I simply don’t have time to launch such a project, so suffice to say John is Bill’s best friend and my very awesome friend as well.
I’ve mentioned John here in various past posts, most recently in my last series of sausage-making stories. There have also been mentions of John in beer brewing posts, and probably here and there in other posts as well.
But I tilt toward digression…I need to pull myself back to the post at hand. And the sausage.
You’ve no doubt heard the term mise en place (meez en plahs), which means “to put in place” or, basically, to get everything ready before you begin. We mostly hear it used in the kitchen – you mise en place all your ingredients so you’ve got everything measured and ready to go before you start cooking – and it’s a good thing to do, frankly, because it would be a shame to suddenly realize that you’re out of some crucial ingredient midway through your fancy dinner prep. Or something like that.
Anyway, in preparation for our Second Grand Day of Sausage Making this past Saturday, Bill and I did our mise en place on Friday.
When we first began to embrace the idea of making sausage at home, we were very excited, in an almost superior-toned, We Were Meant To Do This kind of way, because we already had a grinder. A lovely, old-school, made-in-America grinder. Made, in fact, by Universal, a company out of Connecticut who, unfortunately, doesn’t make everything in America any more, but still, they made THIS grinder. It had belonged to Bill’s mom, and while to the best of Bill’s knowledge she had never made sausage with it, I, at least, had seen it in use around Christmas time when she used it to grind nuts for some of the cookies.
The idea of using this inherited piece of Americana to make our sausages was like a nod of approval from the Meat Gods. Yes, my children, go forth, ye, and sausage-make.
And, thus ordered, we set forth on our journey.
Here it is. The stuffer.
And I’ll say right up front that one day we will have a better one. This one gave us some problems, but we are new to the business of making sausage, and we figured this would be nice and simple to use.
It is, but it takes superhuman strength to operate. Fortunately we had John with us, who, thanks to carrying around his small children, has massive biceps and the strength of ten men. Or five, at least.
It’s a big food production day here. Not only are we making sausage, but we’ve got a few other projects under way.
Bill brined a turkey breast overnight in a mixture of water, salt, sugar, limes, bay leaves, thyme, black pepper, and I don’t know what else…
This morning he rinsed it off, dried it, and now it’s on the grill – it should smoke for about an hour and a half to two hours.
When that’s done, we’ll trim the meat off the bone and slice it up for sandwiches. Most of it will go in the freezer.
Trimmed from the pork belly, we’ve got two sets of ribs. One will go on the smoker and the other has been cut up for an Asian recipe Bill’s made before.
Yes, this is man’s work.
After Bill and John sawed the ribs in half, John separated the ribs like this:
At the moment, Bill’s got water on to boil, and I’ll let you know what happens next with those.
Oh – and last, but definitely not least, John’s smoking a batch of bacon.
I think that’s everything.
Oh – and I’ve got a batch of baked beans simmering in the oven. They’ve been in there since a little after six this morning. We’ll have them with lunch.