Sausage: delicious, but not for the squeamish

By Stephanie Grinnell | Mar 29, 2014
Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell Eli Budet and John Gallante work together on mixing spices and ground pork for sweet Italian sausage during a class sponsored by Maine Street Meats and Five Town Adult Education March 27.

Rockport — Six novices went home a little smarter and a little less hungry March 27 following a sausage-making workshop at Maine Street Meats hosted through Five Town Adult Education.

Maine Street Meats butcher Sean Durnan led the class, starting off with a description of the equipment and ingredients required: a meat grinder, measuring scale, casings, sausage stuffer, meat and herbs. He noted sausage can be made with many types of meat.

"Seafood sausage is fantastic," he said. "Use whatever you think is delicious."

An ideal mix of meat to fat — 70 percent meat, 30 percent fat — is important to creating a moist sausage, he said. For pork sausage, he recommends using a shoulder cut. The class tackled three types of sausage: sweet Italian, hot Italian and chorizo, a Spanish sausage.

Three groups were each assigned a kind of sausage and responsible for grinding up the pork, measuring spices, mixing everything together and then casing the sausages. Most had never made sausage before, though Carolyn Giustra of Waldoboro said she once tried and it came out too dry. Lori Alexander said though she has never made sausage, she likes "to experiment with food."

Other participants in the class included Claire Yackel of Waldoboro, Eli Budet of Morrill — the youngest member of the class at 13 years old — as well as Megan Lalli, Alexander and John Gallante, all of Rockport.

"I like doing food classes," Budet said, noting he recently took a cheese-making class as well.

Gallante said he started his cooking experiences as an Army cook but wanted to learn how to scale down to a smaller level.

As each type of sausage was mixed and cased, a small sample was cooked for tasting.

Once the sausages were cased and twisted, Durnan vacuum-sealed each type for participants to take home.

Maine Street Meats co-owner Sarah Greer noted there are also demonstrations each Saturday at 3 p.m. by Durnan that are free and open to the public. The demonstrations range from making sausage to butchering a whole animal.

"Whole animal butchering is what we do here," Greer said. "It's a lost art and it supports Maine farms too."

She said there will be more classes in collaboration with Five Town Adult Education as well as on their own. The business also offers private classes, Greer said, for small groups by request.

Five Town Adult Education offers a few other food-related classes as well ranging from bread making to a variety of ethnic cuisine classes.

Courier Publications Editor Stephanie Grinnell can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at sgrinnell@villagesoup.com.

Ground pork is pushed out of a grinder at Maine Street Meats March 27. (Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell)
John Gallante weighs garlic before adding it to the ground pork that eventually became sweet Italian sausage during a class at Maine Street Meats March 27. (Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell)
Working in the small kitchen at Maine Street Meats, Megan Lalli prepares to make chorizo. (Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell)
Carolyn Giustra weighs ground pork in preparation for making hot Italian sausage during a March 27 class at Maine Street Meats. (Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell)
Carolyn Giustra and Claire Yackel mix hot Italian sausage during a March 27 class at Maine Street Meats. (Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell)
Carolyn Giustra adds hot Italian sausage to the device that will fill casings during a March 27 class at Maine Street Meats while Claire Yackel helps. (Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell)
John Gallante looks for the end of a casing — a pig intestine — to thread on a sausage stuffer as Sean Durnan, a butcher and sausage class instructor, looks on March 27 at Maine Street Meats. (Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell)
Casings are threaded onto a tube where the ground sausage will be pushed out. (Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell)
Once the end of the casing is located, students scoop up water to ease the threading process. (Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell)
The first batch of sausage begins to fill its casing during a March 27 class at Maine Street Meats. (Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell)
Butcher Sean Durnan instructs Eli Budet and John Gallante as they fill sausages March 27 during a class at Maine Street Meats. (Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell)
Eli Budet, left, and John Gallante, far right, watch butcher and sausage-making class instructor Sean Durnan tie off the end of a casing March 27. (Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell)
Carolyn Giustra and Claire Yackel watch butcher Sean Durnan loosen sausage that was packed too tightly in the casing March 27 during a class at Maine Street Meats. (Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell)
Megan Lalli and Lori Alexander crank out chorizo during a March 27 class at Maine Street Meats. (Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell)
Butcher Sean Durnan demonstrates how to twist the rope of sausage into individual portions during a class March 27 at Maine Street Meats. (Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell)
Foreground, Carolyn Giustra takes a shot at twisting individual sausages as Claire Yackel looks on during a March 27 class at Maine Street Meats. Background, Megan Lalli and Lori Alexander do the same. (Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell)
Sausage-making class participants not only got to take home the fruits of their labor, they also got the sample each type of sausage March 27 during a class at Maine Street Meats. (Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell)
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Staff Profile

Stephanie Grinnell
(207) 338-3333 ext. 110
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Stephanie is editor of The Republican Journal in Belfast. She previously served as editor of Camden Herald following its return in April 2012.

Stephanie also was editor of VillageSoup's Capital Weekly in Augusta and has nearly a decade of experience in the newspaper business ranging from southern and central Maine to Waldo County.

Outside the office, she enjoys reading, cooking and gardening.

Stephanie lives in Washington with her husband Jeff, four children, a dog named Chewbacca, a rabbit and chickens.

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