August 10, 2012

Equipment, Meats, Side Dishes

Many times my collaborating with The Hungry Neophyte and Kentucky Fried Chick leads me off into uncharted territories just waiting to be explored with the zest and excitement of a 6 year old on their way to the circus for the first time.  At times is seems that  The H.N. and I seem to feed of each other like a couple of 16 y.o.s with a box full of bottle rockets looking for what we can blow up.  We start bouncing ideas off each other and its to the kitchen I go to see if what we have discussed works.   Both of us had come across the same article in Bon Appetit a month or so ago on cold brew and during one of my visits to KORT we discussed various applications used in the article along with planning and scheming our own assault on the wonder that is cold brewed coffee…then along came K.F.C. back from a business trip bearing gifts of cold brew from one of the companies featured in the article.  It was like drinking silk.  I was smitten and The H. N. was hooked. Thanks to the big Green Machine I have quite a stock pile of whole beans just waiting to be ground and soaked.

…but I digress.

In the same issue there was also an article on making your own sausage/ground meats. Again The H.N. and I picked apart the article and after some though I along with my willing accomplices, The H. N. and my Supreme Taste Tester, K.F.C.,  I jumped off into grinding my own meat.  First round was a semi success as I attempted to use a food processor to grinder some marvelous lamb for a ragu to top some gnocchi I have been playing with, it turned out fair but a bit to shaggy.  So because I can not leave well enough alone off I went to Amazon.com to find a meat grinder for the work horse KA The Daughter gave me for Mother’s Day (What?!? You haven’t seen it yet well you just hold on…). I found two types which would work for the KA -a mainly plastic one produced by KA and an aluminum one produced to work with a KA from Chef’s Choice. There is about $100 difference in cost but because I know how hard I am on my cooking tools I knew I would need the strength of the Chef’s Choice.  Into the basket and off  to the check out…This thing is a marvel to behold as you press those chunks of protein down into the grinder only to see long strands emerging from the cutting die…oh happy joy! Lovely uniform strands falling away…finely marbled bits…fresh smelling spices wafting up…the whirl of the machine as it pumps out that which soon will be gobbled up. Yes you are right I am becoming obsessed with what I can stuff through those grinding plates!

The other thing I needed to add to my collection for meat grinding was a couple of books on sausage making, I picked up two which came at the same problem from two very different directions. I am known for reading something and jumping off into the deep in of the pool. I mean who in their right mind knits a couple very basic sweaters then decides to tackle an advanced intermediate lace pattern with no previous lace knitting experience?? Well many will tell you I am not in my right mind no matter what I am doing.  Anyway the two books I picked up were “Home Sausage Making”  and “The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Sausage Making“.  I like them both but for different reasons.  Home Sausage Making is less of a step by step and more a just the facts type instruction where as the Idiot’s Guide follows its predecessors in being very plain and with lots of instructions. The recipe for this entry comes from the Idiot’s Guide but slightly modified…no, your right,  I couldn’t leave well enough alone. This does take a bit of time to complete as you will need to allow the meat to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes between grinds.

C’on let’s see what kind of trouble I can get into whipping up this blog entry….

Breakfast Sausage~

5 lb Boston Butt or Pork Loin

1 1/2 TB Kosher Salt

4 TS Fresh Ground Black Pepper

2 TS Poultry Seasoning

1/4 c Brown Sugar

2 TS Garlic Powder (optional)

****The night before put your grinding attachment into the fridge to help with keeping the meat from warming to quickly while grinding.  Also make sure everything is spotlessly clean while working with this recipe.  I strongly suggest using exam gloves while working with the meat.  Ground meat is one of the easiest ways of passing along bacteria so be your toes with your hand washing and cleaning of any bowls, cutting boards, knives or storage vessels you are using.  If you will be storing in zip-locks pass up your previously used zip-locks and go for a new one just to be safe.

The night before cut Pork into 1″-2″ cubes  keeping any fat that is on the meat. Pop the cubes back into the fridge to make sure it is good and cold before grinding. If you don’t have time you can cut up the meat and return for 30 minutes before grinding the day you are grinding.

Combine all the dry ingredients well and toss the cubed meat with the mixture.

About 5 minutes before you are ready to start grinding set up your preferred grinding method be it a food processor or meat grinder.  If using a KA go ahead and set up the attachment and chilled bowl to catch the ground pork.  If using a food processor be careful to not over process to the point where you have a meat paste instead of a ground meat, you want to use short bursts of power. Start your machine, don’t use a higher speed than medium or #4 on a KA you want to have a bit of power but running your machine to quickly will just over tax the machine when the meat hits the grinding plates.
OK  starting with the larger grinding plate provided with your grinder its into the hopper with the chunks of meat, using the provided plunger use a steady pressure to move the meat thought the feeding tube…DO NOT used your fingers to press the meat from the feed tube into the worm drive unless you really don’t like them.

Fitted out with large grind plate

Do NOT use your fingers to push the cubes into the feed tube!

You will not have an immediate spurt of ground meat it will take a few seconds to work its way to the grinding plate be patient and keep adding cubes with even pressure on the chunks as they pass through the feed tube.

First pass though the grind process

Once you have run all the cube though add the ground meat back into the original bowl and stir around a bit to pick up any left over bits of spices clinging onto the sides of the bowl and chill again for about 30 minutes. Switch out the grind plates for the finer plate and repeat the process above.  This time it will be a bit slower going as it’s more time consuming to put the ground meat through than it was with the cubes.

Take your time pressing this through

Nice fine strands well flecked with fat is what you are looking for

OK at this point you will want to pull a small handful make a patty and fry it off to check the spice level.  If all is well proceed to either forming into  patties or divide off  into equal portions for using in bulk.  Use a scale for making patties you are looking for about 4 ounces per patty, by making them all the same weight they will cook evenly. If not using right away freeze.  You can put parchment paper between the patties to make separating easier.  This recipe makes an amazing sausage gravy for biscuits.

4 oz make a perfect sized patty especially of its going on a biscuit!

Take care that you do no over cook them or mash them with a spatula causing all those lovely juices to be lost

A bit of egg and a patty (topped with my fav real maple syrup!) makes a filling breakfast

Now go play with your food.



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