It’s probably not worth making less than 10lb of sausages at a time. The cuts of meat you use will depend on the fat content of the pork. Traditional breeds with a very good covering of fat, such as Tamworths, are probably best made from the shoulder. Less fatty pigs will be better if you use half shoulder and half fat belly pork. Modern, very lean pigs will need to be mixed with pure back fat, which is not easy to come by nowadays, or use just the belly. If the meat is too lean the sausage will be dry, whilst a fatter sausage can be cooked in a way that renders much of its fat.
To 10lb of boned pork add:
3 oz salt (2%)
1½ lb (15%) white day-old sourdough bread.
20 metres Hogs casings, soaked in cold water
Herbs, spices and flavourings to taste (see below)
The meat should be kept as cold as possible, so work in a cool room and return the meat to the fridge until it is needed.
Begin by roughly cutting the meat so that is easy to feed through the mincer.
Fit a coarse disk into the mincer and mince the meat into a large mixing bowl (for very coarse sausages dice by hand). When you have minced all of the meat, follow with the bread. Sprinkle over the salt, fresh herbs, spices and other flavourings as required. Mix thoroughly, then put through the mincer a second time. It is a good idea to cook up a teaspoon of the mixture to check the flavourings before making the whole batch.
Remove the mincing blades and fit a stuffing nozzle onto the mincer. Take about a metre length of hogs casing from its soaking water, tie a knot in one end of the casing, place the open end over the nozzle and then feed the casing on until you reach the knotted end.
The next stage is much easier with two people, one to keep feeding the stuffing into the machine, and the other to control how tightly stuffed the casing becomes. This is done by holding the casing firmly in place on the nozzle and releasing more only as the casing becomes full. If you overfill the casing it will burst and you will have to feed the stuffing back through into a fresh casing. Remember also that you will need some room for the filling to move when you form the sausages. Hogs casings should however give you nice plump sausages, about 6 to a pound of meat. These will cook better than small thin sausages. Stop filling when you get close to the end of the casing, but leaving enough room for tying the sausages before knotting off the end.
To form the links hold the entire casing up by its middle and twist it to form the first link. Then twist at the required intervals going in opposite directions for each sausage to prevent the links unravelling.
Flavourings: Below are some traditional regional recipes, but essentially chose what you like. Parsley, black pepper, mace and lemon rind are a favourite combination of mine. Sage is very traditional. A proportion of bacon in the meat is also very interesting.
Effectively the Cambridge Sausage is the standard British sausage, flavoured with sage, thyme, cayenne, ground mace, nutmeg, pepper and salt.
To 2½ lb minced pork add 6 oz of fresh breadcrumbs and ¾ oz salt plus:
1 tsp fresh sage
½ tsp fresh thyme
¼ tsp ground mace
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
¼ tsp freshly milled pepper
The only seasoning used (apart from salt and pepper) in a Lincolnshire Sausage is sage – they should be quite a vivid green colour. To the above basic mixture add 4 teaspoons of chopped fresh sage. These sausages should be left for 2-3 days to mature before eating.
Cumberland Sausage uses no breadcrumbs, only meat. It is also formed as one coiled, continuous sausage.
To 3½ lb meat add:
1 oz salt
½ tsp sage
½ tsp rosemary
½ tsp thyme
a good pinch of Cayenne pepper
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
½ tsp freshly milled white pepper
These are unusual for a variety of reasons. Firstly they are made with equal parts of lean pork and veal together with beef suet. Old recipes suggest that this should be in the same proportion as each of the meats, but modern tastes will probably prefer half this. Secondly there is always the addition of grated lemon rind and thirdly they are never put into skins.
8 oz lean pork
8 oz lean veal
4 oz beef suet
4 oz fresh white breadcrumbs
grated rind of 1 small lemon
1 tsp. chopped sage
1 tsp. Chopped thyme
1 tsp. Chopped marjoram
1 tsp. Salt
freshly milled black pepper
Mince the pork and veal together. Coarsely grate the beef suet and mix with the meat and remaining ingredients. Form into sausages with your hands on a lightly floured surface. Leave overnight to firm up and develop their flavour before cooking.
This is similar to an Oxford sausage in that beef suet is added rather than pork fat, however the seasonings are more like that of a Cambridge Sausage and they are always put into their skins.
NB I have specified fresh herbs in all of the above recipes. If you must substitute dried, halve the quantities.