How to make sausages: a step by step guide
Okay, you’e let’s get started making sausage!
Phase 1: Getting set up.
1. Decide on a recipe and buy the ingredients
What’s your sausage of choice? A spicy chorizo, a breakfast chipolata or maybe a Bratwurst? The choices are many so either get yourself a cookbook or search online for an enticing recipe. We’ve got a selection of our favourite sausage recipes so you’ll probably find something there as well.
Once you know what you’re going to make, go forth and buy, hunt or borrow the required meat. At this stage, a set of quality butcher knives will make life a lot easier.
You’ll also need to get your hands on some sausage casings. You may be able to buy them from a specialty food store or butcher. If all else fails, you can always get them online.
Check the recipe and feel free to make changes to the seasonings. I find flavours are very subjective so don’t be afraid to leave out paprika if its not your thing.
2. Source a meat grinder
Technically, this isn’t essential. You can always use this guide to grind meat without a grinder. But if you’re planning on making sausages frequently you’re much better off buying a grinder. This allows you to churn through meat like a beast.
Also, you’ll be able to grind the meat to your exact requirement (or to the size in the recipe). Most grinders will come with a fine and coarse grinder plate. Others will have a wide range of plates – a flexible grinder is a bonus.
Types of grinders
Grinders come is a vast array of sizes, shapes, colours and price ranges. To see some of the best on the market head over to our meat grinder reviews page.
Hand crank grinder
This option is ideal if you’re only going to be making sausages occasionally is small quantities. They usually clamp onto your counter and get put away after use. Because they’re small, they are well suited to apartments.
These are motorised so you don’t have to sweat and toil on the end of a crank. The price for these models varies hugely depending on factors like capacity, build quality and motor size. When choosing a model, don’t base your decision on price alone.
Do you own a KitchenAid mixer or one of those other high quality mixers? For many of these models you’ll be able to buy an attachment that allows you to grind meat. Be sure to check out this option if you have one.
3. Get yourself a sausage stuffer
You can skip this step if your meat grinder already has a stuffer attachment. For the rest of us, you’ll need a stuffer. Without it you’ll be stranded. You can try to manually poke the meat into the casings but this would be tedious, hard work and the end result would be nowhere near as good. There are some experts who can stuff sausages with just their hands; however, if you’re on this page you probably aren’t one of these. Get a sausage stuffer.
You do have the option to simply shape the ground meat into rectangular shapes or into patties. This is okay but it won’t allow the flavours to blend as well as they do inside a casing. Also, they do look better neatly shaped into a casing.
4. Select the right casings
Most shops that sell casings will have salted pork casings. These are very popular and are versatile: they can be used in a wide range of sausage recipe. Other options for casings include collagen casings and cellulose casings. For a more in depth look at casings check out our quick sausage casings guide.
5. Prep the meat and equipment
It’s time to chill everything. Having a good sized freezer will be a huge help at this stage.
You’re going to need to chill:
Toss it all in the freezer to cool. This step is crucial so don’t skip it. Ever.
Why does everything need to be so cold?
You want the meat to be firm but not frozen solid. Why is this important? Because the fat needs to stay hard during processing. If it softens you’ll struggle to create an emulsion with the meat and fat. The end result? A sausage that has the fat separated from the meat and nobody wants that.
Chilled meat will also help you process it more efficiently. It’ll run through the grinder a lot smoother if it is partially frozen.
The sausage making tools should be very cold, but not to the point that you can’t touch them.
What’s the weather like right now in your part of the world? If it’s warm, you’ll find the equipment and meat may warm up quickly. If this happens at any stage during the process, toss everything back in the freezer to cool again.