Happy New Year loyal and new readers of my blog. It’s a new year full of promise and unbroken resolutions (it’s presently 9:30 a.m. on January 1).
This past week I was talking with my Auntie about an old sausage recipe my parents used to make every winter. It was popular through the late 1980’s and 90’s and was something we made around Christmas to have on hand when company came over.
The sausage making faded away as things do, but my Aunt held on to the tradition. When we’d travel to visit her at her home, or when we’d meet up in Victoria, my Auntie would always proudly present the group with a few rolls of the sausage. We were always delighted and would eat through a roll in no time flat during our Happy Hour, another family tradition. While on holidays, we’d meet up in a family member’s hotel room, put out a spread of cheese, crackers, sausage, pickles, assorted nuts, fruit, beer and wine. We’d sit around and enjoy each other’s company and sometimes play dice and card games. Here’s the gang out on a patio, having a few laughs and enjoying the sun.
My Auntie (in plaid in the photo) lives in a seniors community in Kelowna. She had made this sausage to share with her fellow residents at Christmas time. It was a hit! It became so popular she started a sausage making enterprise out of her galley kitchen. She was selling the sausage for $6.00 a roll, just enough to recover costs. It was in such demand, she was making it year round. She had to stop because it was becoming work instead of a hobby. After our talk she contemplated starting up her enterprise again, but charging $10 a roll.
I was feeling inspired and nostalgic after our conversation, so found the old recipe and went out to find the ingredients. I even entertained the idea of giving up my day job and starting my own sausage making enterprise and selling it at the Strathcona Farmer’s Market. I always get ahead of myself. I did some quick math and determined I would need to make and sell A LOT OF SAUSAGE to make it worthwhile. I was exhausted with the idea before I began.
As you will see, it is a simple recipe with basic ingredients. The trickiest thing to find is curing salt. Back in Calgary, it was readily available from the Co-op. In Edmonton, I found it online at the Silk Road Spice Market as well as Cabela’s. Too impatient to wait for delivery or drive throughout the city and find parking, I visited my favourite English rasher and meat pie provider, Todd Panchuk, at Old Country Meats at 6328 106 Street in Edmonton. He was able to provide me with enough curing salt for two batches. We discussed what I was making and was given some great advice. I left happily with the curing salt, and a delicious package of English bacon. Why this style of bacon isn’t popular in Canada is beyond me.
Back to sausage. I am happy to share this recipe with you all. I would be very interested to hear if you make it, or know of any other similar recipes.
Homemade Smoked Beef Sausage
4 lb lean ground beef
1/4 c curing salt
2 tbsp liquid smoke
1 1/2 tbsp black pepper
3/4 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp mustard seed
Mix spices and liquid smoke in 1/2 cup water. Add to meat and mix well. Roll mixture into 4 or 5 sausages and wrap in foil. Store in fridge for 2 days.
Remove, unwrap and place on a rack over a pan in the oven at 225 degrees for 5 hours. Allow to cool, and slice as required. This freezes well.
A few notes:
When I was talking to Todd at Old Country Meats he explained the mustard seed is used to retain moisture in the meat. He suggested I crush half the seeds. I took his advice and the recipe worked out very well.
Liquid smoke comes in different varieties. Hickory smoke is what we’ve used traditionally. This time I used mesquite (shown in the photo) mainly because I grabbed the only liquid smoke on the grocers shelf. I didn’t know (at the time) that liquid smoke came in different varieties. I would return to hickory as I prefer that flavour.
Would love to hear from you if you make this. Best wishes to you all for a wonderful year.