Adventures in meat | Planet Ryan - Republic-Times | News

Adventures in meat | Planet Ryan

By on April 27, 2016 at 8:10 am

At this point in my life, I’m a little more than convinced that my German heritage predisposes me to a love for sausages. It has to be genetic, right?

As a matter of fact, it wasn’t long ago that I began researching the art of stuffing sausages. After quite a bit of digging around online and talking to family members who used to do it all the time, I was excited to start preparing my own delicious sausages. So, I picked up all of the necessary equipment and got to work.

The first thing I learned as I cranked the stuffer’s handle and tried to hold the natural casing on the horn at the same time is that it’s probably a lot easier if you have a friend helping out. But, I was determined and though it’s quite a challenge, one-handed sausage stuffing IS possible.

Not only that, but I really felt as if it were more of an art than a science. It took quite a few busted casings to get a feel for that magic amount of ground-up meat that can safely fit inside.

Boy, was it fun! I cranked out a bunch of basic pork sausages at first and probably ate them for breakfast for two weeks straight. At that point, I was ready to move on to one of my favorite things to eat of all time – summer sausage.
Of course, making summer sausage required that I obtain a meat smoker, which I did soon after with a smile on my face.

I knew at that point I was opening up my world to an entirely different way of cooking my favorite meats.

Thanks to the vast expanse of smoked meat tutorials and advice found online, I found a summer sausage recipe that looked like it was right up my alley. So I got down to business and ended up making 20 pounds of it. Not only was it beautifully contained in its mahogany casings, it was downright delicious!

I’m pretty sure my friends and family are the primary beneficiaries of my new-found adventures in stuffing sausage and smoking meat.

The smoker really took front and center and I’ve been putting it to work several times per week. Baby back ribs seem to be the favorite among friends, but personally, I’m a huge fan of pulled pork. Needless to say, I was extremely excited last week when Schnucks had pork butts on sale for a ridiculously low price.

Of course, I stocked up. And that required a trip to Sears to pick up a chest freezer, because I quickly realized I didn’t have enough room to store all of my meat treasure.

I’m thinking long-term. The freezer will pay for itself if you figure in the meat savings over time, so I really hope Schnucks continues to have killer sales. Hint hint.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have several chickens to smoke.

Ryan Ledendecker

Ryan is a biweekly columnist for the Republic-Times newspaper. When he's not working, he enjoys a good movie, bass fishing, and CrossFit.