Sunday, May 15, 2011

Charcutepalooza Project #5

The Grind

This month's challenge was to pay attention to the grind. I kind of took the easier path and made some bulk breakfast and sweet Italian sausage. It was actually kind of nice to take a break from putting sausage into a casing. But really I mean it was nice to take a break from cleaning the stuffer at midnight since I start these projects after everyone has gone to bed because there is something wrong with me.

I happened to be in the Schenectady/Rotterdam area and I stopped in at Sal's. I hadn't been in awhile. I used to live nearby about 10 years ago. Very old school take a number Italian meat market. I picked up a 5 pound butt with the plan being 3 pounds for breakfast sausage and two pounds for sweet Italian sausage.

Here it is proportioned  in two bowls. On the left, the pork has been seasoned with salt, pepper and fennel. The bowl on the right got seasoned with sage, Herbes de Provence, parley, fresh thyme leave salt and pepper. I followed Mrs. Wheelbarrow's recipe.

Both bowls went into the fridge until after dinner. I ground the sweet Italian first while the breakfast sausage got colder in the freezer. Everything was pretty cold so I skipped the bowl of ice water around the bowl catching the ground sausage. As the weather gets hotter, I don't think I'll be able to keep skipping that step. I knew I should have gotten a fridge with an ice maker...

I cooked up a little piece, liked the seasoning and split the sausage into two bags for the freezer.

The sweet Italian sausage will most like get used in a cavatelli with broccoli and sausage. Fairly quick, decent mid week meal. And for some reason the kids don't fight about broccoli. Next up, breakfast sausage.

I also cooked up a small piece of the breakfast sausage. The Herbes de Provence really came through and added a lot of delicious flavor. My first impression of this sausage was that it was screaming for a runny egg yolk. Almost as if the recipe was designed to be accompanied by a runny egg. I thought it might need a little more salt, but decided I could always add a little when cooking it. The breakfast sausage got split into 4 bags.

But wait....that's not all. There was much more grinding this weekend. The steers that were slaughtered two weeks ago were butchered this weekend. Here's a shot of the pork and beef aging in the meat locker.

To borrow a scene from Crocodile Dundee:

That's not a grinder.
That's a grinder.

It has it's own fuse box. Once the beef goes through the grinder twice, it gets placed into a very large sausage stuffer.

No cranks on this bad boy. Everything is motorized and it can hold 55 pounds of meat. It is operated by a hip-switch. Lean into it, and meat gets pushed out. It has been outfitted with a custom tube for filling plastic storage casings.

The butcher can fill these faster than we can close them and label them.

 Here's my case of ground beef.


  1. Dude! You went to Sal's! That's near my house! Next time come over for a beer. No hats though :-(

  2. I totally would have stopped by. I used to live right off Curry Road near the Monhonasen entrance. You live near a bunch of my family. I was over that was today and my brother and sister in-law's place off of Guilderland Ave.

    The only food place out that way that I REALLY miss is the Bellevue Cafe. They used to have great soups, dinner special and a kick as turkey club. We were probably in there at least twice a week. Haven't been back there in at least 4 years. I almost stopped for lunch but opted to to try Orchid's instead.

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