Ever since I made my first batch of homemade sausage a few years ago I have had an bit of an obsession. While still in the early stage of my sausage making career, I’ve made traditional hot and sweet Italian and caramelized red pepper and onion sausages, as well as a non-traditional German Weisswurst.
The finished products were very good and I enjoyed the process so much that I spent some of my hard earned allowance on a proper set up with a motorized grinder (its 3/4hp motor can handle 360 pounds of meat per hour, cue Tim the Tool Man Taylor style grunting), a meat mixer and a digital electric smoker.
If I had the means I would totally relocate my family and do an apprenticeship with a salumist to make my dream job a reality. So, Mario Batali, since I know you’re reading my blog, please ask your father if he needs an intern at Salumi. Tell him I will work for charcuterie
Recently, I got the bug again to make some sausage, but I wanted to experiment with cold smoking techniques. My culinary cohort and I had made a similar sausage before, but since we didn’t totally know what we were doing, we smoked it at too high of a temperature. Needless to say we were a little disappointed in the results.
Our intention was to craft a sausage that would combine the goodness of our eight hour pork roast with the convenience of a sausage. If you’re a fan of pulled pork, just imagine how great would it be to have slow roasted BBQ goodness anytime you wanted without all the work. With our sausage you would be able to serve it up on a fresh roll with your favorite BBQ sauce in minutes rather than hours.
When I first told another friend about our idea, he suggested I try to produce them commercially. He even suggested a name for this burgeoning enterprise: Pete the Heat’s Smoked Meats, which is a play off the nickname his brother bestowed on me while we were in Vegas for my friend’s bachelor party. How I became ‘the Heat’ for doing nothing more than standing behind them at craps table drinking for free I’ll never know, but it’s funny and stuck over the years.
After consulting with Bruce Aidell’s Complete Sausage Cookbook, I set out to create my cold smoked masterpiece. Through my research I determined that what I wanted to make was going to be similar in style to a Cajun Andouille sausage. So, when I broke down the pork shoulder I separated the fat as best I could from the meat to grind them with different size plates.
With the meat ground, seasoned, cased and cured, I patiently awaited the twelve hours it took to smoke them, adding apple and pecan wood chips every three hours. Overall I’m very satisfied with the final product and who knows, maybe someday you’ll be able to pick some up at your local grocery store.
If you have any interest in trying your hand at making your own sausage, be sure to pick up my ebook ‘peaches en risotto: a dad’s place is in the kitchen’ coming out on November 30th for the scoop on how I made my cold smoked BBQ sausage.