Being from the south, sausage is a main stay in most homes. When I was growing up the majority of sausage was pork (or deer) based and contains a good bit of sage, fennel and often comes in both spicy and non-spicy. I don’t mean this was the only type of sausages sold in the south. It was just the most widely made, and used, in our circles. It wasn’t until I moved to Los Angeles, Ca in the late 1990s that I discovered the many wonderful types of sausages available from around the world. (I still have a fondness for Mexican chorizo tacos from the taco carts in LA!)
Over the years I dabbled in making various types of sausages, but for the most part I stayed mostly in pork based realm. Even the store bought sausages I ate were mainly pork based. When I started getting a bit older the store bought sausages I loved started giving me heartburn. So began my search into making my own sausages at home that would let me still enjoy sausage without the dreaded heartburn.
After many tests (and more failures than I care to admit) I discovered a recipe that is both easy to make and has the robust flavor we expect from a sausage. Complex flavor, moist and with a slight tang you get form properly aged sausage! I hope you guys enjoy this recipe as much as I did creating it! 🙂
- 11 Lbs Skin on chicken thighs
- 10 Fresh, or Frozen, Kaffir Lime Leaves
- 5 Fresh, or Frozen, 2 Inch Lemongrass Stalks
- 1/8 Cup Fish Sauce
- 10 Red Thai Bird Chilies, Ground into paste (Optional)
- 3% Salt By Weight Of ALL Ingredients
- 1 Packet Of Sausage Casing (Optional)
- Cut the chicken thighs into 3 equal size pieces and place in a freezer safe container. Allow to sit for 20-30 minutes, or until the chicken pieces are frozen, but still bendable. (Meat grinds easier when half frozen.)
- Setup your meat grinder and place the parts that will touch your meat mixture into the freezer. Place a large, clean container under the exit point of your meat grinder that is at least large enough to hold your ingredients and have room for you to mix once the grinding is complete.
- While your chicken is freezing, remove the stems from your Kaffir lime leaves and grind into a paste. You do not need to make it a fine paste, but make sure to get the pieces as small as you can because the leaves are fibrous.
- Using a sharp knife, slice your lemongrass stalks into thin circles. Then grind them into a paste. Like with the lime leaves, you do not need to make a completely smooth paste, but make sure to get the pieces as small as you can because lemongrass is fibrous.
- If you are adding chilies to your mix you can de-seed them if you like, but I normally don't for this amount. (If you are making a large quantity you may want to consider de-seeding because they can add a slight bitter taste.)
- Remove your chicken from the freezer and [place the container in a location that is easy for you to grab with one hand. When I grind whole pieces of meat I always use the largest grind plate that came with my attachment(s) and then change to a smaller plate on the 2nd grind if the recipe needs it. Turn on your meat grinder and start adding meat to your grinder's chute. Push the meat down the chute using the plunger that came with your meat grinder. DO NOT USE A PLASTIC OR WOODEN SPOON unless you are VERY experienced with meat grinding. It is very easy to insert them to far and you may end up with ground wood/plastic in your sausages.
- Once you've completed the first grind remove the currently attached grind plate and replace it with one with smaller holes. You ideally want to grind sausages to a medium/fine texture, but without turning it into a puree like you'd expect from something like a hot dog.
- Rotate your bowls, add the remaining ingredients (except for the fish sauce and salt) to the bowl with the meat and mix with your clean hand(s) until the mixture if ruffly mixed. Turn on your meat grinder again and re-grind your meat mixture and spices.
- Add the salt and fish sauce to the meat mixture and thoroughly mix by hand.
- Place the meat mixture in a food safe zipper top bag and a place in the refrigerator for 1-3 days to allow the flavors to fully develop. (Once per day takeout the meat mixture and massage the meat mixture through the zipper top bag.)
- From this point on you can either make sausage patties or sausage links. Both are wonderfully yummy, but it really depends on how you prefer to enjoy your sausage. If you decide to go with patties I would start with about 1 ounce of meat mixture. If you are planning to go with a link sausages I would suggest using natural casings because they are safe if eaten. (I normally use a hog casing.) It would be perfectly fine to use one of the many other casings options if you prefer. (I will cover the stuffing process in the future when I re-shoot this recipe.)