Charcuterie Class – Smokin’ Knackwurst

It’s the end of Week 2 of the Charcuterie Class that I’m taking at Saint Paul College, Saint Paul MN. We spent the week honing the skills that Chef Sartain demonstrated in Week 1. I for one need more practice stuffing sausage casings. Who knew there were so many nuances to get meat into a semi permeable membrane?

For instance, I would have never thought to lube the plunger of the sausage stuffer with food release spray to prevent friction. Friction causes heat which is our enemy at this stage of the game. Then there’s packing the meat filling into the reservoir in such a way as to prevent air pockets. You’ve got to get the casings on the stuffing tube, again without air pockets, and then get the meat into the casing without a “blow out” and without creating more air pockets. If air pockets do occur, you’ll get what is called “fat-capping”. This is where droplets of fat pool together just under the casing, resulting in poor mouth feel. And, it’s all about mouth feel and eye appeal!

This week, our team ground up more than 20 pounds of boneless leg of lamb. We used a portion to make a Lamb and Rosemary Sausage with fresh Garlic and Grana Padano. We also made Mortadella, an Italian sausage with pistachios Bresaolaand black peppercorns. We grilled some Kielbasa and overhauled our Bresaola. We prepped half a dozen or so pheasant breasts for making a Moroccan Pheasant Sausage. We’ll confit the legs in duck fat for a terrine next week.

Some of the items the other teams have processed included a Mexican Chorizo, spicy Italian Sausage, Knackwursts (which we smoked), English Bangers, Alsatian Sausage, and Wisconsin-Style Bratwursts.
Team Four is working on Boudin Blanc, a fine–textured white sausage originally eaten at Christmas in the Champagne region of France. The moist sausage is traditionally a fine mixture of meat, eggs, starch, spices and milk or cream. We’re using rice in our application during class.

Next week, we’ll be working on Linguica, a Portuguese sausage with Paprika, garlic and port, amongst other aromatics. We’ve also got, among other items, a Duck Liver Mousse and Proscuitto, Foie Gras Terrine, Pate de Campagne Parisienne and Sopressatta di Calabria to make next week.

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