[Sca-cooks] Problems with sausage

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Mon Jan 7 09:23:56 PST 2008

On Jan 7, 2008, at 10:13 AM, Michael Gunter wrote:

> I'm really enjoying making and researching sausage and I want to do  
> more
> presentations and feasts using cased sausage. But I've run into  
> problems.
> The main problem is that every sausage I've made has been too lean and
> a little dry. For 12th Night I even added lard into the mix to get  
> enough
> fat into them but all that happened was once cooked the outer surface
> was greasy and they were still too lean.

When you say lard do you mean rendered fat? When heated, what is  
rendered fat? (Hint: it starts with a "g" and ends in "e" ;-)  )

Or do you mean something akin to uncured, fatty bacon or belly meat?  
Or even salted fatback, trimmed of rind and soaked to remove some of  
the salt?

You want a source of firm, sweet-tasting fat from actual adipose  
tissues from certifiably chubby animals. Some of the modern recipes  
I've seen call for fat pork, which generally means belly or side meat,  
or a mix of lean pork (say, loin or shoulder) and fat pork (again,  
belly). Or a mix of lean pork, like loin, shoulder, or fresh ham, and  
kidney fat (I think on a pig this is known as the flead or leaf lard;  
lard is rendered from this -- mostly-- and if the animal were a cow or  
a steer it would be suet).

If the fat, when heated, just liquifies, it's going to have a very  
limited effect on the sausage's mouth feel. You want something which,  
when heated, is transformed from waxlike to jelly-like. Obviously  
liquid fat will add to juiciness, but as anyone who's had lean,  
overcooked pot roast knows, dry meat with gravy on it is still dry  

> Talking with Master Modius made me think that one of the problems is  
> there
> is no filler in the forcemeat. I can see how filler of breadcrumb,  
> rice, groats
> or whatever can hold in the fat but in redacting the recipes I see  
> no kind
> of filler mentioned. So is filler the secret or did period sausage  
> stay lean?
> Both my bratwurst and zervelat were tasty but didn't have that rich  
> mouth
> feel I associate with a good sausage.

Grain-based fillers (and in the end, almost all of them are grain- 
based) are generally something (surely there will be exceptions, but  
I'm speaking in general) that will appear in what are known in late  
period as "puddings". True meat sausages tend not to include starchy  
fillers. At various times and in various places, there have been  
consumer protection laws about this in effect, akin to the  
Rhineheitsgebot. I'm not sure if late medieval Germany and Austria are  
among those places, but it's conceivable.


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