The origin of meat processing is lost in antiquity. Historians think it began when mankind learned that salt is an effective preservative. Sausage making evolved as an effort to economize and preserve meat that could not be consumed fresh at slaughter. In sausage making, quality standards are maintained while using most parts of the animal carcass.
Good sausage makers are as discriminating about what goes into sausage as winemakers are about selecting grapes. Early sausage makers found that a wide range of raw ingredients could be used. The primary ingredients of sausage were the parts of the animal carcasses that could not be used in other ways.
The procedure of stuffing meat into casings remains basically the same today, but sausage recipes have been greatly refined and sausage making has become a highly respected culinary art. Any product can be made from a wide range of raw materials exposed to rather extreme conditions of temperature and time schedules.
Sausage grew in popularity and brought fame and fortune to many sausage makers and to various cities. Today more than 250 varieties are sold, and many of these can be traced back to the town and country of origin.
At Meat & Meet we produce 15 varieties and flavors of sausages
The contemporary role of sausage fits conveniently into our modern lifestyles as an elegant appetizer for entertaining as well as the main course in “quick-and-easy” meals. Furthermore, sausages are a relatively safe product to consume because of the added effects of salt, pH, cure, drying, and cooking to preserve the product and eliminate harmful bacteria.
Sausages are a convenient food available in a great number of varieties and flavors. Sausages are an excellent source of high-quality protein, containing all the essential amino acids in appropriate amounts necessary for growth, maintenance, and repair of body tissue. Sausage also provides significant amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Types of Sausage
Sausages are made from beef, veal, pork, lamb, poultry, and wild game, or from any combination of these meats. Sausage making has become a unique blend of old procedures and new scientific, highly-mechanized processes. Traditionally, the sausage was formed into a symmetrical shape, but it now can be found in a variety of shapes and sizes to meet consumers’ needs.
The finished product is only as good as the ingredients it contains. Meat should be fresh, high quality, have the proper lean-to-fat ratio, and have good binding qualities. The meat should be clean and not contaminated with bacteria or other microorganisms. In other words, the meat used in sausage production should be as safe as any meat. Selecting spices and seasonings and combining them in proper amounts is important. They must complement each other to create a satisfying product.
Grinding and mixing
For safety, we need to keep the temperature of the meat as cold as possible during grinding and mixing. The usual procedure is to grind the various meats coarsely and then add the rest of the ingredients, mixing thoroughly.
The mix is made of spices and salt using two cups of water. Water is added to dissolve the curing ingredients, to facilitate the mixing and to give the products their characteristic texture and taste.
The product is then ground again to the desired consistency. Mixing should be done before the final grind. Grinding improves the uniformity of the product by distributing the ingredients and making the particles the same size.
It is not necessary to stuff fresh sausage meat. It can be left in bulk form or made into patties. Most sausage, however, is made by placing the ground ingredients in some type of forming device to give them shape and hold them together for thermal processing. The casing materials may be natural or manufactured. Natural casings are the gastrointestinal tracts of cattle, sheep, and hogs.
At Meat & Meet, we use natural casings but not the gastrointestinal tracts of animals. We use collagen casings. Collagen casings have been developed primarily for use in products such as fresh pork sausage. They are uniform in size, relatively strong, and easy to handle. These casings also are used for the manufacture of dry sausages, because they are permeable and will shrink.
For cooked products that are generally water-cooked, plastic casings impermeable to water are used.
Sausage is smoked and heated in order to pasteurize it and extend its shelf life, as well as to impart a smoky flavor and improve its appearance. Smoking and heating also fixes the color and causes the protein to move to the surface of the sausage so it will hold its shape when the casing is removed.
A few products, are smoked with a minimum of heating and are designed to be cooked at the time of consumption.
Food Safety Guidelines
At Meat & Meet we start with clean equipment. We then clean thoroughly after each use and ensure that all surfaces that come into contact with meat are clean. Using a stainless steel surface is the best.
We sanitize surfaces with a solution of 1 tablespoon chlorine bleach per gallon of water and allow to air dry.
Have I covered all the basics of sausage making and how we make excellent sausages at Meat & Meet? If you have any questions or want us to take you through the process, come into our shop and let us know. We’d love to show you our processes and give you a taster too.
Want to try some excellent sausages?
Come in and check out our selection. All our sausages are made in-house from local meat and we have our special blends that you won’t find anywhere else. Try them once and you’ll never buy sausages from another Grenadian butcher.
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Visit our market store located at Le Phare Bleu Marina. We can easily be accessed by car or dinghy. And make sure to get our price list and sign up for our newsletter to hear about our weekly specials, recipes, locally sourced goodies, and much more. Leave your name and email below.