Thursday, February 18, 2010

and then the bits

After making stock, we took three pounds of the oryx's liver (which was three quarters of that organ) and trimmed it up.

Then we took an equal amount (all we had) of trimmings that were too small for stew meat, added another three pounds of pork shoulder and a pound of fatty pork belly and made sausage.

Our amounts were dictated by the amount of trim we had and the amount of liver, as our goal was to make good use of the liver without just slicing and cooking it. A's not a bit liver fan. Besides which, liver makes a great sausage component.

Using the ratio specified in Charcuterie, we put together 3 oz. of salt and 1 t of pink salt, then went about our (own) spicing. For the 10 lbs of meat, that ended up being 4 T of black pepper, 2 T of half-sharp Hungarian Paprika, 3 T dried thyme, 3 T dried parsley, 6 bay leaves, ground fine in a mortar with a bit of the salt, and 4 oz, approximately 1 cup, of garlic. We mixed the spices with the chopped meat and let it season overnight.

Next day, we made up two batches of sausage in five pound lots, one with a cup of very dry sherry mixed in with the meat, the other with a half cup of water and half cup of red wine. The latter carried the garlic flavor a bit better and turned out better overall. The reason for two batches? You need to mix the ground meat together a bit to get it to bind, and five pounds is about the maximum amount the Kitchenaid stand mixer will comfortably handle.

Testing a bit of the meat for spicing:

The (natural, hog) casings had to be soaked for a while in cold water, then rinsed and rinsed out:

Threading the casings onto the stuffing tube is a tedious process lending itself to bad jokes:

Fortunately, this blog barely rates PG so you'll be spared any of those jokes. For the sharp-eyed readers, yes, the feed tube on that grinder does have meat on it. We had to take photos between batches because I forgot to do so at the start and, once you get going, you aren't taking photos unless you're ok with smearing up the camera with raw pork bits. I've made sausage by myself, but find the job is much, much easier with a second set of hands. In any event, 5 pounds in one long coil, then divided into links:

Pretty, aren't they? This is a fairly spicy, garlicky fresh sausage. It falls well short of being hot and the liver is only there in the background. I doubt anyone who didn't know about the liver would guess at its presence, a fact no doubt helped by the very mild nature of (all of the) game liver (that I have tried to date).

Ten pounds of sausage sounds like quite a lot, and a couple of hours work was involved in this process, but once you start parceling it into packages it doesn't add up to all that much. More interesting than the couple of pounds of burger and plain liver for the frying that we'd have had otherwise, though.

That's it for the oryx processing, though, now we're just down to cooking and eating.


Trout Caviar said...

That was a fun read, mdmnm. In the midst of my own recent liver adventures, I recalled that liver is a frequent ingredient in terrines and pat├ęs, which are really just sausage cooked in a pan. When I find myself with liver to dispense with in the future, I'll remember your sausage recipe.

Best~ Brett

Hunter Angler Gardener Cook said...

Well done! This is how I use deer liver, too. I have a recipe on my site for a similar sausage from Umbria in Italy called mazzafegati; it's spiced with orange and warm spices. When you grill these bad boys, do it gently -- for some reason I've found liver sausages break easy...

mdmnm said...


Thanks! We had a bit of pate exploration here recently and I need to blog about it. Wild duck hearts and gizzards make amazingly mild pate.

Thanks again! Orange and warm spices sounds good. Both "Charcuterie" and "River Cottage" warn against over cooking sausage or cooking it too fast or hard. I've apparently been doing it wrong my whole life.

Lisa S. said...

Whoo Hoo - we spent the weekend making 4 different kinds of either venison or elk sausage. Put a dab of liver in each of them.

Turned out FABULOUS!
Sorry - I get a little excited about food... I'm gonna put pictures up next weekend. Some of it is funny as all get out.
Thanks for sharing.