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Step 1: Mincing The Meat
You can get your butcher to mince the meat for you, but I prefer to do it myself with an old-school mincer. That way, you can control how chunky your sausage is. When you mince the meat, make sure that it’s been in the fridge for an hour or two – using cold meat means that it doesn’t lose its juices when it’s being minced, and the meat is more likely to be minced as opposed to mashed. Cube the meat and put it through the grinder, repeating the process until the mince is the right texture or coarseness.
Step 2: Adding Spices To The Sausage
There are two ways of doing this: the first involves adding the spices to the cut meat and allowing it to marinate in the fridge before mincing. This way, when you grind the meat the spices are evenly distributed throughout and ideally should be done the night before to let all those flavours infuse.
The second way is to add the spices to the minced meat, which means you’ll have to get your hands dirty and stick them in to mix manually. If you do it the second way, don’t compact the meat together too tightly. When you’ve added the spices, make a little taster sausage, cook it and test try it to see if it has the correct amount of seasoning and that it’s not too dry.
Once the mince is shoved into the sausage casing, you can’t adjust the flavour or add juiciness, so this is your last chance to add more flavour, olive oil or fat. After you have finished adding the spices, put the meat back into the refrigerator.
Step 3: Scoring The Sausages Casings
There are two types of sausage casings: natural and man-made. Natural casings are the intestines of animals, more specifically those of cows, pigs, lamb or sheep. Man-made ones are made from various materials and need little or no preparation.
Remember that the natural ones need to be soaked before use, but that’s about the extent of the preparation. For your sanity, just ask your butcher to give you five metres of sausage casings. If you tell him you’re making your own sausage, he shouldn’t have a problem with it considering you’re buying your meat from him.
Just make sure that the diameter of the casings matches your sausage funnel or you’ll be doing another trip back to the butcher for the right width.
Step 4: Stuffing The Casings
I use a sausage funnel (aka stuffing horn), but some of those fancy electric mincers have an attachment that does the job. The first thing you’ve got to do when using the sausage funnel is flush the sausage casings.
Rinse in warm water three times and then run water through it. This helps to clean out the sausage casing and makes it easier to roll it onto the sausage funnel.
Once you’ve finished rinsing and flushing it, keep the casings in a bowl of warm water next to the mince and sausage funnel. The warm water keeps the casing lubricated when you feed it onto the funnel. Next, find the end of a casing and slip this over the end of the funnel (think of rolling on a condom).
Remember to keep it wet or it won’t slide onto the funnel very easily. Leave some of the casing hanging over the edge because you’re going to have to tie a knot in a couple.
Make sure your mincing machine, hands and work surface are scrupulously clean. Keep the sausage or mince as cold as possible (but not frozen). You don’t want to give yourself or your mates food poisoning.
Traditional Boerewors Recipe
This recipe makes three-and-a-half kilograms of wors. If you want less, change the quantity proportionally.
> 1kg beef
> 1kg veal or lean pork
> 1kg mutton or pork
> 500g spek (pork fat from under the skin)
> 5 tsp salt
> 1 tsp ground black pepper
> 3 tsp whole coriander, roasted and crushed
> ½ tsp ground cloves
> ½ tsp nutmeg powder
> 125ml red wine vinegar
> 5-6 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
> 2 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
Cube all the meat, mix it together and coarsely mince. Place the mince and spices in a bowl and add the vinegar. Mix gently and leave to marinate in a fridge for a few hours. Stuff into casings and cook when you’re ready.