Making sausage is simple, chef says

February 16, 1994|By Dale Curry

"Trust me, this is easy," says Alex Patout about making your own sausage.

Go to your butcher, buy some pure pork. Add pepper and seasonings, stuff it into casings and smoke it on the grill.

Sound simple?

Maybe, maybe not.

Mr. Patout was pretty convincing at the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience when he told foodies from throughout the country that Louisiana-style sausage can be made right in your own kitchen.

Pick twigs or branches off your oak or pecan trees and throw them on the coals, says the New Iberia native and owner of Alex Patout's Louisiana Restaurant in the French Quarter. That's how they've been doing it in this state for a couple of centuries, and it can be done the same way today, he assures.

"The boucherie was when families got together and slaughtered a pig and made hogshead cheese, fresh pork sausage and boudin. In Cajun Louisiana, we don't throw anything away," Mr. Patout says.

For a mini-boucherie at home, here's how to make your own sausage. To season meat to your taste, add spices and other seasonings to meat, then take a small portion and cook it in skillet until done, then taste it and adjust the seasonings.

Fresh or smoked pork sausage

pure pork (such as boneless Boston butt)

salt

cayenne, white and black peppers

casings (available from butchers)

Have butcher grind pork to medium grind. Add seasonings according to your taste. To pure pork, add six parts salt, three parts cayenne pepper, one part white pepper and two parts black pepper. Add enough water to make a loose stuffing. Stuff into casings and tie into links, if desired, forming ropes.

NOTE: You can take your seasonings to the butcher and have him grind and mix your sausage and stuff into casings.

FOR FRESH PORK SAUSAGE: Keep sausage in the refrigerator or freezer. When ready to cook, place in heavy skillet and cover with water. Cook on medium-high heat until water disappears, about 45 minutes. Let sausage brown; turn and brown on all sides.

At this point, you can remove sausage from skillet and make a gravy by deglazing skillet with water, onions, green peppers and celery. Return sausage to skillet, making sure water is about halfway up sausage links. Cover and cook on low heat about 1 hour. If you want to thicken gravy, add spoonful of dark roux (cooked mixture of flour and fat) at end. Sprinkle with finely chopped green onions and fresh parsley. Can be served over yellow grits for breakfast or fresh smothered potatoes for lunch.

FOR SMOKED PORK SAUSAGE: Make fresh pork sausage and place over indirect heat in covered charcoal grill. (Coals should be on one side of grill and sausage on the other.) Add green twigs or branches, such as pecan or oak, to coals and smoke 4 to 6 hours. Make sure coals are completely covered with branches and logs that are sized to suit the grill. Close air vents to grill or maximum smoke and to keep branches from catching fire. If branches are freshly cut, they do not have to be dampened. Keep grill covered throughout smoking time. It is best not to open it. Sausage is done when internal temperature reaches 155 degrees.

Boudin

cooked rice

pork (such as boneless Boston butt)

pork liver

salt

red, black and white peppers

chopped green onions

chopped parsley

casings (available from butchers)

Use 2 parts rice, 2 parts pork and 1 part liver. Boil pork whole or in chunks and pork liver in separate pans with water until done. Drain and save some of pork stock. Grind pork and liver finely. Mix meat and liver with cooked rice. Add a little pork stock to keep moist. Season to taste with salt and red, black and white peppers, green onions and parsley. Stuff into casings. (You can do the mixing at home and take blend to butcher to be stuffed.)

Keep refrigerated or frozen until ready to eat. Steam in pan with water until done or grill on barbecue grill, turning frequently. Do .. not overcook, or casings will burst.

If steaming, do not cook more than 2 minutes. On grill, turn every 30 seconds and cook several minutes.

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