Hot Dog Day

Last Saturday was “Sausage Day” at my home. Twice each year, a friend joins me for a consistently over-ambitious plan to make MANY varieties of fresh sausage in a single day. Each year we get faster and more efficient, and more importantly, each year the final sausage product becomes significantly better than the previous attempt. (We’re convinced that this is true, but who really knows.)  Our families enjoyed dinner on Saturday, and we will have a supply of great sausage in the freezer for a few months to come.

But we still manage to make way too many varieties of sausage in one day than should probably be attempted. It is a lot of work!

My insistence on going metric and keeping notes about each recipe seems to be paying off. Spices and fat content continue to get better each year. But there was a lot of meat to grind and a lot of spices to weigh.

The results from the day included:

  • Merguez lamb sausage
  • Chorizo (pork)
  • Jalapeno (pork)
  • Poblano (pork)
  • Italian (pork)
  • and about 12 lb of beef hot dogs.

I did not take any pictures of the pork sausage work, but below are a few images of the hot-dog process.

Here’s one plate of the hot dogs (pre-smoking).

Below is the freshly ground beef with a paste of spices, ready to be mixed. The clear bowl is large, and this is about 10lb of beef.

Below, meat is in the stuffer and ready to go. This F.Dick stuffer holds 12 lbs of meat in the can.

I did not take a photo of the 45 minutes I spent untangling the pre-salted sheep casings for these hot dogs. I buy my casings from Butcher and Packer in Michigan. I couldn’t be happier with the quality of everything they send me, but I do not understand the knot tying technique used by those guys. I had a major (time consuming) challenge unraveling the knotted mess of sheep intestines, which were used on these hot dogs.  If anyone can shed some light on a reasonable technique to pull these out of the salted bag and unravel, please share some hints. Once the knotty mess was untangled and rinsed with clean cold water, everything worked seamlessly.

And below are the final dogs ready for drying in the fridge over night. The smoke sticks to the surface of the hot dogs much better if the surface is dry.

This is where the photography ended for the project. But the next steps involved hot-smoking these dogs, and then plunging them into  ice water to quickly cool them. Finally, I cut the links into individual dogs, and vacuum sealed them in packs of four or six. Hot dog night at our house is looking good for a while.

My next blog post will be an update on Herschel the prosciutto and the status of other drying meat in the cooler. There is a real nice collection of treats down there right now, and many will be ready to taste soon. Duck salami, two coppas, a large carne salata. Can’t wait!  Herschel’s current batting average and other status as of today are:

  • 30 of 30 days salting complete
  • 90 of 90 days of drying complete
  • 53 of 365 days of aging complete. (10 months to go)

The leg still looks and smells good. The new cooler is working well.

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6 Responses to Hot Dog Day

  1. Jered G says:

    What recipe are you using for your hot dogs? Mine didn’t look nearly as tasty (and frankly their texture wasn’t so great either).

  2. Jered G says:

    I had used a Bruce Aidell’s recipe and the flavor was good but I don’t think that I added enough water so it was super stiff, the recipe only made 2 lbs so I wasn’t able to get a good yield out of my stuffer (I’m also using the 12 lb F.Dick), and I think I overcooked them which made them mealy. I had downloaded Len’s recipe some time ago, I’ll have to give it a shot. I noticed that Len’s recipe doesn’t specify a lean to fat ratio and doesn’t add additional liquids. Are you using mostly lean and letting the whey and amesphos do the emulsifying?

  3. wrightfood says:

    fantastic stuff mate. I am at a loss as to how to untangle the mass of intestines too. What I normally do is clean off a counter and drop the whole thing on to it. I then start pulling some apart until I find an end.

    I too have been really happy with the Butcher Packer stuff. The last batch of hogs casings were ridiculously weak however.. perhaps I didn’t soak em long enough though.

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