Homemade sausages, accessible to all

Some would say that sausages are for barbeque what SMS are for literature : an heresy.

Yet, who has never grilled some chipolatas or merguez over too hot embers on a summer evening with friends, and ended up eating a too dry piece of meat in a mediocre bread while drinking (responsibly) a cold glass of rosé from Provence?

Let us forget about all those preconcieved ideas and those summer memories and let us have a closer look on how lay those prejudices to rest.

What is a sausage ?

According to the Collins dictionary :

Sausage :

A sausage consists of minced meat, usually pork, mixed with other ingredients and is contained in a tube made of skin or a similar material.

Based on that description, everything is possible. You just need minced meat, seasonings and casings.

I am going to try to explain to you how to make them yourself

The meat :

You can take any piece of meat or poultry.

The aim is to get a mince with 70-80% of lean for 20-30% of fat.

In the pork, the shoulder, spare ribs, the loin… All those parts can be used and minced.

You can simply add hard fat (throat, backfat…) up to 20 to 30%.

In the poultry, you can use either chicken, turkey or duck thighs. The skin will be used as fat in your mince.

The idea is the same for beef and sheep.

Seasoning :

Here, everything is possible depending on your taste. The basics for a sausage are salt and pepper.

But you are free to select spices or anything else to enhance your meat.

Be careful with the quantities, some spices (curry for example) are very strong and quickly override other flavours.

You can also add things like cheese (Comté, Maroilles, Roquefort…), nuts (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts…), fresh fruits (apple, pear…).

The only limit is your imagination !


Casings :

The quality of the casings is very important and has directly to do with the strength for it not to smash during the stuffing.

On the internet, you can find quite easily good quality casings. Many professionals have open their shops to individuals, which is really helpful.

Some supermarkets also sell casings. You just need to ask people working at the butchery section to get some.

Casings can come from two different animals : sheep (for chipolatas or merguez) or pork (for chipolatas or bigger sausages like « Saucisse de Toulouse »).

Sheep casings are less strong than pork ones, yet very thin and you don’t feel it in mouth.

The equipment :

To make sausages, you need at least these equipments :

  • A mincer and its grids
  • A large bowl
  • A meat stuffer

The mincer :

For beginners, a handy mincer is perfectly correct, but an electric one is more comfortable to use and also faster. Different grids exist, allowing to mince thinner or thicker.

For chipolatas or Toulouse style, grid n°8 is usually used.

The bowl

You will mix your mince with the seasoning in a large bowl. If you have a pastry robot, you can use the k-beater.

The meat stuffer :

You will use it to fill the casings with the mince. It is a cylindric container in which you put the mince. Then a piston pushes the meat into the casing through a tube whose size depends on the diameter of the casing, at the end of the stuffer.

There are different sizes of stuffer (from 0,22 to 2,2 gallons). Obviously, the bigger it is, the more expensive.

Beginners can start with a 0,22 gallon one. You can find one for less than €30 on the internet.

If you want to make sausages quite often, you would better choose a 0,8 to 1,3 gallons model.

Making sausages 

For this example, I am following the basic recipe, which is chipolata and Toulouse sausage.

The only difference is the size of the casings.

Before starting, there is a very important point I have to insist on when you work with minced meat and cold meats in general : hygiene.

It is very important to work in a clean space, with clean equipments and clean hands.

It may sounds obvious but these are the basics.

To make 1kg of mince, you need :

  • 700gr of lean pork
  • 300gr of hard fat
  • 16 to 18gr of salt
  • 2 to 3gr of ground grey pepper
  • 0,5gr of nutmeg
  • 50gr of white wine
  • about 1,60m of pork casing  with a 32/34 diameter (for Toulouse sausages)
  • Or about 3m sheep casings with a 24/26 diameter (for chipolatas)

Cut the meat and the fat so that it can go through the mincer.

Let the meat and fat cool as long as possible (you can put them 30min to the freezer)

Prepare the casings according to the instructions on the pack (you usually need to put them into warm water, then make some water flow inside back and forth to take off the salt and the potential knots).

Mince the lean with grid n°8 and fat with grid n°6.

Add the seasonings and mix until it gets homogeneous.

Then, try to stuff the casings you want to use (Toulouse or chipolatas) without incorporating air.

Toulouse sausage portions usually weigh 120g and chipolatas are 20cm long.

You can keep them wrapped into cling film in the fridge (37°F) for 2 to 3 days. If you vacuum them, you can keep them up to 5 days in the fridge.

Poultry curry sausages

To make 1kg of mince, you need :

  • 1kg of chicken upper thigh (flesh and skin)
  • 16 to 18gr of salt
  • 2 to 3gr of ground grey pepper
  • 0,5gr of nutmeg
  • 1gr of curry
  • 2gr of dry parsley
  • 50gr of water
  • about 3m of sheep casings with a 24/26 diameter

The preparation is the same than for chipolatas.

Norman sausages

To make 1,4kg of mince, you need :

  • 700gr of lean pork
  • 300gr of hard fat
  • 16 to 18gr of salt
  • 2 to 3gr of ground grey pepper
  • 0,5gr of nutgmeg
  • 50gr of single cream
  • 200gr of apples
  • 40gr of shallots
  • 100gr of button mushrooms
  • about 2,30m of pork casings with a 32/34 diameter (Toulouse)
  • Or about 4,2m of sheep casings with a 24/26 diameter (chipolatas)

Peel and empty the apples, then dice them in 0,5cm cubes.

In a frying pan, brown the apples in butter and, when almost cooked, flamble them with Calvados.

Peel and chisel the shallots, then brown them with butter.

Clean and peel the button mushrooms, slice them and brown them in butter.

Mince the meat and the fat with grid n°8.

Add the seasonings, apples, mushrooms and shallots and mix until it gets homogeneous.

Then, try to stuff the casings you want to use (Toulouse or chipolatas) without incorporating air.

Luc Juniet


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