Adventures in Pork: Progress, Fresh Sausage

Last week I wrote about pork plans for the weekend. Mr. Karl and I worked on getting fresh sausages made, but we held off on the cured items, primarily because the hams, jowls, and sides were not fully thawed (and I did not want to remove them from the fridge to hasten the thawing). So there will be further updates on the curing.

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Mr. Karl created three recipes for fresh sausage: a bratwurst, a sausage with parsley, white wine and garlic, and the blutwurst, or blood sausage. While we were working, Mr. Karl shared some information on German idioms, and the frequent use of sausage in popular idioms (Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei. / Everything has an end. Only the sausage has two). According to Mr. Karl, Germans are very interested in sausages.

Regarding the blutwurst, I’ve had a few days to reflect on the process and the experience. With apologies to Mr. Karl, I have to say that making it was pretty gross. I don’t even want to post the photographs it was so icky (perhaps you could comment, do you want to see the pictures? They aren’t appetizing at all). It looked bad, like carnage or some kind of crime scene or medical waste, and it smelled bad, because pork blood smells like, well, a slaughterhouse. IMG_0030

My son is reading Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, which brings to mind the fact that you don’t really want to know how the (blood) sausage is made.  It didn’t help that Mr. Karl’s wife made him wear latex exam gloves for that part of the sausage-making, so most of the pictures look like some kind of ersatz surgical procedure. I have no particular aversion to eating the blood sausage at some point, but I need a little time to clear the smell and images of the process from my mind.

I grilled up a couple of the sausages last night for a snack, atop a slice of brioche fried in butter, with some dijon mustard. IMG_0022Mr. Karl noted that since his bratwurst recipe called for the use of some Instacure #1, the bratwursts took on a slightly pink color, where bratwursts traditionally look more grey. I’ve not seen pink bratwursts before, and I’ve never consumed any sausages (pink or otherwise) in Germany, since my one brief stay in Germany was a culinary nightmare. IMG_0951

Back when we lived in Chicago, I frequently had court appearances at the Daley Center. Over the holidays, the Plaza that fronts the courthouse and city and county buildings would have the “official” Christmas tree and a “Kristkindlmarket” with plenty of German fare (including German beer!) and gifts. Whenever I left court around lunchtime, I’d stop and have a bratwurst outside in the cold, and while I was usually in a hurry back to the office, having a hot sausage in the bracing chill was a true joy of the day.

The version of bratwurst that Mr. Karl made is (in my estimation) objectively better than the ones I used to get from German people at the Kristkindlmarket. The mix is correct: not overly textured, no trace of gristle or chew, only the “snap” from the natural casing, and a subtle but detectable nutmeg and spice flavor. DSC_0356Despite Mr. Karl’s professed German heritage, the second sausage with parsley, wine and garlic tastes more Italian to me, which is fine (especially when paired with the bratwurst) because the herbs and wine make the sausage taste lighter and more delicate.

Hey Mr. Karl, if you have a chance, could you post your recipes in the comments section, and maybe give us a couple more of those sausage-oriented German idioms? The readers who are obsessed with sausage like us will enjoy the additional details.

[NOTE: According to the counter below, there are just 20 more days of voting for Beer Camp. Right now, I’m #10 (top 10 automatically get an invitation to attend; Sierra Nevada picks 10 more who did not win the most votes), if you could help keep me there, I’d really appreciate it.]

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