Life Eat & Drink Our guide to making your own snags
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Our guide to making your own snags

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Since doing a tree change and moving to 100 acres in Central West NSW my family and I have steadily become more self-sufficient, planting a large veggie garden, baking our own bread and raising our own animals for meat.

Slaughtering and butchering an animal you’ve raised yourself is a confronting thing to do but as a result I believe there’s a moral duty to use as much of it as possible. This is where making your own sausages comes in – it’s a great way to use up all the bits left over once the animal has been turned into chops, steaks, leg and shoulder roasts etc. Unlike commercial sausages, you know exactly what’s in them and you get the satisfaction of doing something yourself instead of just buying it.

Unlike commercial sausages, you know exactly what’s in them

It doesn’t require much equipment. We’ve got a Tre Spade Hand Mincer – No. 10 which comes with three different size plates and two sausage stuffing funnels that retails for around $160. It’s stainless steel, except for the plates, and is easily pulled apart and washed in the dishwasher.

Add some sausage casings – use the dry collagen ones when you’re starting out as the wet ones are a bit fiddly – and that’s about it.

The sausage recipe detailed below is a good start but really it’s up to you. Like your sausage really spicy, add some paprika or cayenne pepper; like herbs, put in more herbs. Think it needs salt? Add some salt then. Making your own snags means you get to choose.

Sausages-grinder
Picture: Darren Baguley

Once you’ve set up your mincer, chop up all the bits of meat into pieces about 2.5cm x 2.5cm. Don’t bother trimming the fat as it helps hold the snags together but remove the gristle as it can clog the mincing plate.

Put it all through the mincer on the coarsest grind once, and again on the second coarsest grind. I’ve found mincing too finely results in a dry, overly textured sausage but this may be because our free range, grass fed lamb and pork is a lot leaner than most store bought meat.

Next, add all the seasonings and mince a third time. Turn it out onto a chopping board and knead the mince until it absorbs all the water and has a doughy texture.

Now put on the sausage stuffing attachment. As bought, sausage skins make lots of sausages so for this recipe you’ll need to cut off a piece of casing about 8-10 cm long. Push the casing onto the end of the sausage stuffer firmly and pull about 4-6 cm of casing out so it hangs off the end.

Now feed the ground meat mixture into the grinder. Hold the casing in place as air fills up the casing like a balloon at first. You can do it by yourself but it really helps to have two people; one person to turn the handle and feed the grinder with mince and one to handle the sausage as it comes off the stuffer. If you see air bubbles, squeeze them out and leave about 10 cm of empty casing on the end.

If you search on YouTube you’ll find a multitude of videos but life is short.

Once you’ve stuffed the casing, it’s time to tie-off into individual sausages. If you search on YouTube you’ll find a multitude of videos but life is short. Just pinch and twist the casing every handspan or so (less if making thick sausages) alternating direction each time and then tie each one off with a bit of kitchen string. Tie off the ends – you may have to squeeze out some mince to make room – and that’s it. You’ve just produced a batch of sausages and you know exactly what’s in them. They’ll freeze for two to three months but I suspect they won’t last anywhere near that long once you’ve tried them.

Recipe

1.5 kg sausage mince (pork or lamb will both work well) if you’ve used lean meat you’ll need 1/3 (500g) fat
2 teaspoons ground black pepper corns
¼ teaspoon ginger
Sprinkle of nutmeg
1 tablespoon dry sage
½ teaspoon fresh sage
½ teaspoon fresh oregano
½ teaspoon dill seeds
1 clove of garlic, minced
¼ cup ice water

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