Thursday, June 30, 2011

Smoked Duck Sausages

I am way overdue posting about the June Charcutepalooza challenge -- stuffing sausages -- but hey, it is still June!

Last month, I so impressed myself by learning to grind lamb to make some fabulous merguez and some not quite as fabulous chorizo. This month's Charcutiere challenge was to stuff a poultry sausage. Having gone on a sausage-eating as well as sausage-making binge, I've decided that I generally prefer the texture of a smoked sausage.

I found a couple of recipes for smoked duck sausage online, including this one from Hank Shaw at Hunter Angler Gardner Cook, which I ended up using. Unfortunately, my Google search on "smoked duck sausage recipe" landed me on some bogus website that infected my computer with what I call the "celebrity gossip broadcast virus", rendering it useless for a week. That would be a big part of the reason this is being posted two weeks late!

The first problem that I encountered was that my duck was apparently on the skinny sideand yielded slightly less than a pound of meat. Oh well, I just wouldn't be making a whole lot of duck sausage. I modified the recipe to fit the amount of duck on hand as follows.

Smoked Duck Sausage

  • 1 pound duck meat
  • 1/4 pound pork fat
  • 5 grams of Kosher salt (about 3/4 teaspoon of Morton Kosher salt*)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup good red wine
* Always be wary of the varying densities of different kinds of salt. When in doubt, weigh it!


1. Debone the duck, removing any tendons as well as the skin and fat. Put the meat and fat in the freezer for a couple of hours to insure that they are very cold
2. Put your casings on to soak.
And here is where we encountered problem number two. We couldn't find our casings anywhere. What to do when you live in a small town at least two hours from any metropolis which might have sausage casings? Fortunately, the butcher at Earth Fare came to our rescue and gave us way more than enough already-soaked casing for a bargain price of $1.50.

3. Prepare an ice bath by setting a large bowl inside of a larger bowl filled with ice.
4. Dice the duck meat and fat into 1 inch cubes, tossing them into the inset bowl. Quickly mix in the salt, pepper, rosemary and garlic.
5. Put the mixture in the freezer. It needs to be at least 40 degrees, but not a rock. We moved this process along by spreading it on a cookie sheet.
6. Make another ice bath.
7. Using the small die on your grinder, grind the mixture into the inset bowl so that the duck and fat bind properly.
8. Pour in the wine and mix using the lowest setting of your mixer for about a minute. At this point, the mixture should look like a paste.
9. Put the bowl in the fridge so that the mixture stays cool while you get ready to stuff.
10. Set up your stuffing equipment.
11. Put a casing on the stuffing attachment, leaving about 6-8 inches hanging.
12. Fill the stuffer with sausage and turn it on, pressing the mixture down into the stuffer. We had a bit of a learning curve at this point regarding air in the casing... Let the air come through the casing first. When the meat begins to come into the casing, hold the casing horizontal to let the meat completely fill it. Do not pull on the casing -- let it work its way to you. Pulling on the casing will keep it from filling as completely and allows air it. Like I said, learning curve.

13. When you are done, twist the sausage into short links. This sauage is rich so short links are best -- a little goes a long way. To twist it into links, pinch the casing and twist a few times. Twist in opposite directions -- first link twist towards you, next twist away from you, alternating until you reach the end. Tie the end in a knot.
14. Hang the sausages for at least an hour in a cool room to dry them out a bit.
15. Prep your smoker. DH didn't want to fire up the smoked for just the sausage, so we threw in a turkey as well.
16. Smoke for at least 3 hours or until the interior temp is around 150 degrees.
17. Shock in a cold bath, then pat dry.

The finished product:

If you look closely you can see evidence of our learning curve: the sausage at the top of the picture is the last link we made. It is tightly stuffed and doesn't have the wrinkles in the casing that result from letting air it. The sausages on either side have wrinkles.

Wrinkles or not, it is pretty tasty stuff. And the texture is perfect. I sampled one link, then put the rest in the freezer as we were leaving town the next day for a week. I'll post again when I have actually done something with it!

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