There is this satisfactory feeling that preparing a food product in your way gives you.
It would give you a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment, especially if it went exactly as you planned and imagined it.
It would be made possible because you would know the exact measurements and specifications of how you wanted it to look and taste.
Also, it reduces the cost of purchasing already-made sausage products.
Funny enough, the homemade product can be tastier than what you buy because it is made to your specifications.
The Italian Sausage
The sausage is a meat product made up of seasonings, spices, and ground meat wrapped in a casing before being sold.
The freshly made Italian sausage needs to be preserved, which can be done in different ways.
Smoking, curing, freezing, or drying are some ways to preserve your Italian sausage.
However, drying helps to develop your flavor as the moisture content is reduced, which makes the flavoring more concentrated, hence the reason it is preferred among all other methods.
The sausage is first fermented to preserve it and add flavor, and then it is ready to be dried.
The Italian sausage can also be smoked and dried to make it taste better.
What To Use In Drying Your Italian Sausage
When drying your Italian sausage, you do not have to worry about the equipment to use because, nowadays, it is readily available for you to own.
Due to this, you can make drying your sausage your new hobby, as nothing keeps you from doing so.
Below is some equipment used in drying your Italian sausage:
- Meat grinder
- Stuffer for your sausage
- Kitchen thermometer
- A kitchen knife
- A pantry or an oven
- Sausage casing
- Standing mixer
How To Dry An Italian Sausage
When trying something for the first time, the expectations versus the reality can turn out way worse than they should be, at least for a first-timer not appropriately guided and the correct procedures not followed.
If you are properly guided, it is much easier to do this than you imagined.
If you have forgotten what it is like to make Italian sausage, some steps are summarized below to remind you of your creation.
The most commonly used meat in Italian sausage preparation is beef or pork, often when lamb or poultry meat is used.
The sausage must be chopped into smaller pieces to make it easier to grind.
The extra fat should be removed as only a minimum amount of fat is needed for the body.
In grinding the meat, it should be ensured that the meat is cold. It is to prevent the grinder from clogging.
The chopped meat is then dropped into the grinder. If it is discovered that the meat is getting stuck during the process, use silicon to ease it.
You should apply cooking spray to the grinder before using it.
Seasoning the ground meat is a show of talent. You can employ your unique secret recipes, which will be shown in the final product.
Seasonings like ground red pepper, chopped onions, fennel, garlic, and salt are most commonly used.
Fennel is a vital ingredient if you want your sausage to have an Italian taste.
Also, if you want a spicy and peppery taste in your sausage, you should use cayenne pepper. It is at this seasoning stage that the curing salt is added.
You must ensure that all the ingredients get into the meat and equalize.
It is preferable to mix with your hands while wearing a rubber glove to ensure that all the ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the sausage.
The Drying Process Of An Italian Sausage
After the sausage has been prepared, it requires drying. Below are steps to follow when drying your Italian sausage.
Obtain A Sausage Casing
The sausage casing is a thin and almost transparent material. This casing should have been soaked in water until it is ready to be used.
The sausage is then inserted into the case by attaching it to the stuffer and knotting the first end.
Without a stuffing machine, filling in your sausage won’t be easy.
The casing is filled to the top to prevent air bubbles. If air bubbles are still present, they can be removed by pricking the sausage casing with a needle.
After filling it, the second end is knotted in preparation for drying.
Instead of a sausage casing, other options can be considered, like wrapping it in plastic and pressing it into a log.
Creating Consistent Temperature And Humidity Levels
The ideal temperature for drying your sausage is around 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The standard humidity level should be about 70%.
Any humidity level below this will cause the outer casing to dry faster and stop the inside from drying.
Hanging the sausage casing over a bowl of water or using a humidifier in the room can help keep the humidity level in check.
Also, it is essential to keep it from direct light and excessive moisture. Sometimes, an oven, chamber, or cupboard is the best place to hang your sausage.
The Technique Of Drying
Before the sausage is dried, it is essential to note the original weight for measurement purposes. The weight is taken at specific times during drying.
It’s considered “dry” when about 30 percent of the original weight has been lost. The sausage should be left to dry for weeks.
You may want to dry it for a longer time, but at this point, it is still safe to consume.
After it has been dried, there may be the appearance of a white mold, but that should not raise any alarm as it is normal and harmless.
Where the problem lies when the mold is green or black. It is a bad mold; the sausage should be discarded, and the whole drying process starts.
When it appears in a small amount, it can be scraped off with a cloth soaked in vinegar or salt solution.
The more moisture, the shorter the lifetime of the sausage.
The sausage should be kept in the fridge and allowed to rest for two weeks, during which all ingredients are evenly spread, and a uniform flavor and texture are obtained.
Italian Sausage Recipes You Should Try
You can try numerous Italian sausage recipes, but we list some top-class ones. They are:
- Sausage and rice stuffed pepper
- Sausage and pepper
- Loaded Italian sausage burger
- Italian sausage breakfast casserole
- Italian sausage meatballs
- Sausage gravy
- Air fryer sausage
- Italian sausage dip
- Tuscan sausage pasta recipe
- Skillet Italian sausage and pepper
It’s important to note that some food poisoners love a sausage that is not oxygen-free, air-lacking, and warm, increasing the health risk in the drying process.
However, this can be taken care of by adding small quantities of curing salt used to kill bacteria.
Your dried sausage can be used in pizza toppings and pasta.
You don’t also have to worry if it contains anything harmful to you or what you are allergic to because you are the chef!
Doing it your way is a chance to learn, improve and have fun.