Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Had my first crack at a French-style saucisson sec this weekend, accompanied by my sausage right-hand man and expert handle-turner ‘Dr’ Simon Pick, as well as charcuterie newcomer and casual spectator Si ‘Boony-foony’ Boniface – a man who never shies away from a sausage.
The key ingredient – as always – was a couple of kilos of finest free range pork shoulder from the brilliant Hennesey’s butchers on Northcote road, with a bit of extra back fat thrown in there to get the right balance of fat-to-lean. Flavourings-wise, we went for simplicity: plenty of garlic, white pepper and red wine (no doubt later batches will be a bit more experimental, but I wanted a pure-pork flavour to really test the process on this first batch of saucisson). The saucisson sec recipes I looked at in coming up with mine called variously for either red wine or brandy – as much there for flavouring as to lower the pH of the mix and thereby discourage nasty bugs. In the end my decision was based on the inevitability of my drinking anything that didn’t go in the sausage, so I took pity on my liver and went with the wine, which also has the added bonus of imparting a nice rouge tinge to the sausages.

Say hello to my little friend
I have to say that sausage-making went extremely smoothly on Saturday morning. A couple of new pieces of kit (some electronic scales and a big stainless steel mixing bowl with plenty of room to spare) made things a hell of a lot easier, but the real time-saver was grinding the meat on a coarse plate as opposed to cutting it by hand. It remains to be seen whether this will adversely impact the texture of the finished product, but from the look of it the wet mixture was of a similar texture to previous hand-cut mixes, so I’m hopeful it will be just as good.
My single worry with this current batch is trying to get that authentic coating of white mould that you see in shop bought saucisson sec. I’ve tried to promote this by ‘basting’ the sausages in a bactoferm solution prior to fermentation, and hanging a shop-bought, mould-clad saucisson in the middle of my beauties. So far, though, whilst they look and smell spot on, there is a distinct lack of powdery whiteness. I live in hope.
Anyway, fermentation is now complete and the first batch of Sausage Jockey original saucisson sec is currently maturing in my state-of-the-art bespoke drying chamber. 2 long weeks and counting to the next sausagefest....
The garish lime-green netting not only keeps-out animals, but also discourages tramps by alerting their primal sense of potential toxicity 

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