Jack Hennessy brings precision this week to making sausage. I particularly enjoyed deciphering the spice chart.
Here is this week’s recipe and tips:
VENISON BEGINNER BRATWURST TIPS In early March I visited Barred Owl Butcher & Table in Columbia, Mo., for the MEAT! processing equipment launch party. The restaurant specializes in farm-to-table whole-animal butchery and craft charcuterie. Guests were treated to a demo on how to make sausage by owners Joshua Smith and Ben Parks. Upon leaving, we were given brat spice mix for 10 pounds of meat. I recently used this spice mix for a batch of venison brats and was very impressed, so I reached out to Smith for the recipe. He was kind enough to share the finer details regarding the precision of making bratwurst. I prefer to use metric weights and a good digital scale (bonus points if it is accurate to the half or tenth of a gram) for measurement in my sausage and charcuterie projects, Smith said, as I find it to be much more reliable that a system of cups and tablespoons as it is both easily scalable (just move a decimal point) and because volume and weight don’t directly correspond from one brand/style of salt to the next. He even shared the ingredient chart with me. The only thing I altered for my recipe was the meat used (venison instead of pork meat). AMOUNT (in grams) INGREDIENT CHARCUTIER’S PERCENTAGE 10,000 g 60:40 Venison to Pork Fat 100% 180 g Fine Sea Salt (or pure Kosher salt) 1.8% 30 g Ground White Pepper 0.3% 20 g Ground Ginger 0.2% 20 g Ground Nutmeg 0.2% 10 g Ground Marjoram 0.1% 10 g Ground Celery Seed 0.1% As needed 29-32mm Hog Casings n/a Meat is always 100% and ingredients are based on that, so in when I made 5 pounds of venison bratwurst (3 pounds venison, 2 pounds pork fat), 5 pounds would read 2268g on the scale, so I would need: 40.824g fine sea salt 6.804g white pepper 4.536g each ginger and nutmeg 2.268g each marjoram and celery seed I would round all of these to the nearest whole, half or tenth of a gram depending on the capabilities of my scale, Smith suggested. BRATS- AND SAUSAGE-MAKING TIPS Inquire with your local butcher about picking up pork fat (not pork meat, but just the fat), as it is a must for quality wild sausage. Call around to locate authentic hog intestines. Some butcher shops may have in-stock or even outdoor retail stores can sell. There is always Amazon.com, too. Hog casings are hands-down better than collagen, in my opinion. Use quality equipment. MEAT! (madewithmeat.com) sells commercial-grade tools direct to consumers so there are offerings at a lower cost. I have found lower-quality equipment simply leads to quicker frustration. Invest in a meat mixer, versus your hands, to mix together ground meat and spices.