Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sausage Fest '10

A charcuterie platter featuring homemade weisswurst, kielbasa, duck sausage, and merguez with Sylvan Star cheese
It started as a joke. A bunch of guys getting together to make sausage. A "sausage party." The more the joke was made, the less of a joke it became.

We convened this past Sunday with lofty ambitions: four 5lb batches of sausage.
At the end of the first batch a gear on the stuffer broke, and after a few hours of jerry-rigging and crazy glue, we gave up. The next day I bought replacement parts and, over three days, I was able to finish off the rest of the batches. It was a good "learning opportunity," by which I mean a real headache.

I finally ended up with a good sausage platter with the following items (clockwise from top left in the picture above):

  • Weisswurst (I think this means "white sausage"): a veal sausage in hog casings. Flavoured with mace and lemon zest. I was really impressed with the delicate mouthfeel of this sausage. The forcemeat was ground twice, and there was a lot more fat than the other recipes (half the weight of the meat, compared to one third in the others).
  • Sylvan Star Aged Cheddar
  • Kielbasa: classic Polish pork sausage. Flavoured with garlic and marjoram.
  • Treestone Bakery pain au levain, fried in sausage drippings
  • Duck sausage with roasted garlic and sage. Definitely a specialty sausage. I butchered three ducks to get the requisite 5lbs of meat.
  • Sylvan Star Aged Gouda
  • Merguez: A spicy sausage from North Africa, usually featuring roasted red peppers. Larousse says that it is traditionally made with beef, but I've only ever seen it made with lamb. It is usually stuffed into slender lamb casings, but I had neither the casings nor the nozzle to do that. This was the best sausage we made by far. The roasted red pepper added a lot of moisture, and I used a couple of the hot peppers we dried last summer. That little bit of heat really elevated the sausage. Elongated the palate. Delicious.
  • More bread

All recipes and processes were from Ruhlman's Charcuterie.


  1. Which one on the platter is Merguz in the photo?

    By North Africa, do you mean Morocco?

    Have you thought about goat?

  2. The merguez is the reddish one on the bottom left.

    My sources (Larousse) tell me that merguez is common to all of North Africa, but is especially popular in Algeria. Algeria was a French colony until 1962. Sometime in the 1950s France went mad for merguez, and it's been around western kitchens ever since.

    Goat would probably be great for sausages. I've never cooked it, but I understand that it's really high in connective tissue: grinding would tenderize it nicely.