Making Andouille Sausage
Latest batch of Andouille Sausage at Nola Cuisine (with picture).
I need to make a fresh stash of Andouille (Ahn-DOO-ee). The stuff in the grocery stores in my area is a joke, you may as well break open a package of Oscar Meyer hot dogs for your Gumbo. You know the kind I mean, basically Alpo, stuffed into a casing and injected with liquid smoke carcinogens. Anyway before I go about it, I thought I would blog about it, because hey, Andouille is a cornerstone of so many great New Orleans Cuisine & Louisiana dishes! The better the Andouille, the better the dish! I hear Jacob's is about the best around, they've been making it for 76 years or so, you can get it online, and I don't think they beat you up on the shipping cost. I still have to order some, to try it. But I enjoy making sausage, so I make my own. My good friend Tom does as well. So here is how I go about it. This is a 2 day process. I use either a pork shoulder or boston butt, which ever looks the best and is nice and fatty. I usually make about 10 pounds. If you can add extra pork fat, do so (but no salt pork please!). Fat is good for sausage. You want about 75% lean/25% fat. Cube this up into about 1 1/2 inch cubes. Toss with the following seasonings (Let's pretend we have 5 pounds of meat & Fat total):
My Andouille Seasonings
(For a 5# batch)
2 tsp of Cayenne or to taste (Remember, if you make it too hot, every dish you make with it will be too hot! Start off with a little, you can add more later!)
1/4 Cup Paprika
1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Garlic
1/8 Cup Fresh Ground Black Pepper
4 Tbsp Kosher Salt
1 Tbsp Thyme, dried
1 Tbsp Granulated Garlic
4 Each Green Onions, sliced
1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1/8 Cup Non-Fat Powdered Milk (this is a binder)
1 pinch of pink meat cure powder
Toss this mixture with the cubed meat. Cover and refigerate overnight (this step is optional, but if you have the time, do it). Coarsley grind this (TIP: Keep your grinding equipment cold. It's for food safety as well as keeping the fat from starting to render from the heat of the machine). Make a small patty of this and cook it. How is the seasoning? Adjust if necessary, Check it now, last chance to reseason! If it tastes good you can stuff it into thoroughly washed hog casings. I weigh out 1 pound portions of ground meat, stuff it into the casing, then twist and tie them off. This will take a little practice. Now it's time to let them cure. The quick way, if you want to smoke them later that day, is to dry them in a barely warm oven for a few hours, just enough heat to make the air dry. But since I do it a day ahead, I hang them in the basement overnight, its cool & dark down there. You basically want to dry the skin out so that it will absorb the smoke, this is called forming a pellicle. Don't skip this step, trust me on this one. Don't worry about the meat spoiling. The spices cure the meat, just be smart about where you hang them, remember, this was a way of preserving meats before refrigeration, but if it freaks you out, you could certainly hang them in the refrigerator. When I make Spanish Chorizo, which isn't smoked, I hang it in the same fashion, but for a few days, until it starts to get nicely cured and wrinkled, like a pepperoni or salami.
...Check out....the smoking process...