February has come and gone and a former Texan has survived another NY January and February AND a Polar Vortex that just.wont.end! Really?! Sorry, guys, I’m not sad to see you two go. I’m ready for green grass and open windows! Although March won’t bring me that either, January and February are the hardest months for me.
But here’s what’s really great about January and February. Ready for this? Sausage. That’s right. Winter is sausage making time, so each year we have a “sausage party.” This year we had 2. So who’s ready for a sausage party?
Making Italian sausage is a big “thing” amongst the Italians here in Upstate, NY. Every January we make sausage that we hang in the attic to dry cure for about 30 days; it’s a tradition brought here from Italy. It’s great fun to get together to make sausage.
To make the sausage we must bone and trim the meat, add the spices, mix, stuff in casings, tie the meat, and drink a tad of vino. The next day we hang the sausage in the attic and “visit” it throughout the next month. When I say “visit” I mean check the temperature, air flow, and giving them a few squeezes here and there to release the air, and just overall gaze at it. Gary is THE sausage master. Luckily, our nephew has taken an interest in making the dry sausage so he can carry on the tradition.
This year a friend of ours bought a pig from a local farmer, so we had sausage party numero dos! This wasn’t for dry cured sausage, but rather regular sausage. Whew! I got a little squeemish with this one. The meat was soooo fresh. There was blood AND grass everywhere! When I say right from the farm, I’m not kidding- 80 pounds of pork carcass. I joked that I prefer my meat cryovaced with a UPC label and sell by date- the way God intended it.
For some reason when the stuffing of the sausage begins, so do some off-color jokes. I don’t get it!
Above we have sausage hanging in the attic and, like I mentioned, we “visit” it- open windows, check temperature, set up fans, squeeze it, etc. This is an old pic from when we did 250 pounds. Good grief I do not know what got into us to make this much, but our normal amount is 25 pounds. Our “visits” don’t take as long with 25 pounds.
Sometimes friends “visit” the sausage and take group selfies around it. It just kinda makes you wanna.
Batter up! I’m ready for anything! I call the dried sausage Gary’s nightstick. Someone could get hurt with this.
The final product: “dried sausage in the oil.” We usually end up with 9 or 10 mason jars. Can you believe this stuff lasts over a year? Are you brave enough to eat pork sausage that hung in an attic for 30 days that has sat in oil for over a year?
While the dried sausage is a secret family recipe, head on over to the Italian Sausage Sliders post for an EASY quick Italian sausage recipe that we use often. Even using packaged already ground pork from the grocery store it’s sooooo much better than store bought sausage as you can control what’s in it and add goodies like cheese, sun dried tomatoes, red wine, etc.
Now if you’ll excuse me while I lick the oil off my fingers, I’m going in for another.