Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How-to: Home Made Bratwurst.

First off, you'll need some sort of sausage press. I use an LEM 5-Pound Capacity press. I've adapted all of my favorite recipes into 2.2-2.5# batches, so this press is ideal for me. 

Whenever you buy Casings from your butcher, they'll usually sell you Hanks (a whole casing) that are packed in salt. If this is the case, make sure you let the hank soak in running water for 20-30 minutes. I make sure to rinse these very well, I'd hate to make a nice batch of sausage and have residual salt messing up my recipe!

List of ingredients: 1.6# Ground Pork, .6# Ground Veal, 1Tbs Kosher Salt, 2 Tbs Chives, 1 1/2 Tsp White Pepper, 1 Tsp Caraway, 1 Tsp Marjoram, 1/2 Tsp Nutmeg and 1/3-1/2 Tsp Ground Ginger. To help with the mixing and binding of ingredients, you can add about 1/2 cup cold water as well as a couple egg whites. 

Keeping your sausage mixture cold is very important in sausage making, if it get's too warm the finished product will be affected. From Charcuterie, (Ruhlman, Polcyn) "Sausage that gets too warm can 'break,' meaning the fat and the protein will separate from each other when cooked. You can't always see this happen when you're making the sausage, but it results in a dry, crumbly texture, rather than a smooth, firm, juicy bite"

While you're readying your dry ingredients, lightly mix the Pork and Veal in a bowl and put it in the Freezer. Once your spices are ready, pour them on top and mix thoroughly.

A thorough mix is as important as keeping the temperature as low as possible. Thorough mixing of ingredients results in the Primary Bind - a solid, evenly mixed, sticky mass. Once you've reached the primary bind, stick the mixture back in the freezer for another 20-30 minutes.

While your sausage is cooling, ready your casings / press. Roughly 18" of casing will hold about a pound of sausage.. Remembering that our mixture is ~2.5#, measure out about 5' of casing and slide it onto the nozzle. 

Stuff the mixture into the container and press down to remove any air pockets. 

Crank the press down until the meat is at the edge of the nozzle. 

Once the meat has reached the end of the nozzle, start feeding the casing until there is a couple inches of excess at the end of the nozzle. 

Start cranking! One of my favorite aspects of hand-crank stuffers is the amount of control the user has over the speed of the process. It is both aesthetically pleasing to coil the sausage as it comes out of the nozzle and useful in containing the surface area of the mess you'll end up making. 

Once the sausage in the stuffer runs out, remove the rest of the casing from the nozzle, if there's a lot left and you plan on making another batch, simply cut the casing an inch or so past the end of the first batch. 
To link sausage, measure out your link and pinch if off at the end. To twist the sausage, pinch both ends and swing it end over end a few times, until the link is firm. If any air pockets occur, you can pop them with a toothpick, knife-tip. 

Once you've linked the first sausage, continue on through the rest of the batch. Either change the direction you twist each link or 'skip' links. Measure out 6", twist, measure out another 6" but skip this link, move on to the next link and twist the same direction as the first. This will effectively the time of the process in half. 

To cook Bratwurst, toast some Caraway seeds in the bottom of a pot. Once the seeds are toasted, pour in a few  beers and a little water, a bay leaf and lightly simmer until fully cooked. As an added bonus, you can add sliced onions and peppers to this mixture to serve alongside the sausages. 

These look done enough, and besides.. I'm starving at this point. 

Home Made Bratwurst, German Potato salad made from scratch, Sauerkraut and a hoagie to soak of the juices and my inner German in satisfied (I'm not at all German, just like the food.)


  1. The Food actually looks pretty German. You only maybe woulnd't find it in this Combination and since Brat means grilled or pan-fried you'd have to do that to make it Bratwurst :) Anyway, if german is what you where going for, good job !

  2. Is that 1.6 lbs of ground pork or 6 lbs?

  3. 1.6 # as the recipe calls for 2.5# total