Well, Things are finally starting to look like they should for this time of year for Southern Utah!
Rain and then snow, it came down pretty good here Saturday, and kind of put a damper on us taking the kids fishing like we had been planning. So, I had to find something else to entertain me for a few hours. For Christmas this year I received a small meat grinder and some sausage seasoning kits, so I figured that this was as good of day as any to do some tinkering with it!
How many of you have the same old dilemma with meat from your big game...there's some cuts that get used up quickly while others tend to stay in the freezer for quite some time? Possibly until you have to throw it out! My problem always seems to come in the form of elk meat. It's hard to get it used up before it starts to show signs of freezer burn. I try to keep up on older steaks and roasts by making jerky out of them, but that doesn't seem to cut it fast enough. This year my particular problem lies in a pile of cube steaks. I just don't have a ton of recipes for cooking them, so they seem to stay hidden in the back of the freezer! So, I figured these were good candidates to sacrifice to my first attempt at making sausage.
I will start of by talking about the sausage making process, and the Hi Mountain seasoning kits, then we can talk grinders/stuffers. I received my first meat grinder for Christmas, just a simple "LEM" brand grinder capable of grinding about 2 pounds of meat a minute, along with a "Cheddar Polish" flavor sausage seasoning kit from Hi Mountain brand seasonings. The kit contained the sausage seasoning, cheese seasoning, cure packet, a package of casings, and instructions. The process looked pretty simple, grind the meat once with the coarse grinding attachment, next mix in the seasonings/cure, then grind again with the fine attachment, and at last, run through again with the stuffing attachment and tube. OK, easy enough! Oh wait, first you need to prep the casings! Well how hard can that be?
Most Hi Mountain mixes call for 2 pounds of pork to 3 pounds of game. A lot of people don't like this, as they wish to only use wild game. Wild game is so lean that on it's own it has trouble sticking together! The pork acts as a way to get some moisture and fat content into the mix to bind it together. Even with a bit of pork you still have a sausage more lean than you will find in a store. We love the taste, and the thought of how much more healthy it is for us! Also, when you buy the seasoning kits, check the box to see if casings are included or not. Some do, others such as the country style sausage do not, so if you want sausage links you need to buy casings! All this is available in major sporting goods stores, or from their website: http://www.himtnjerky.com