Take This Sausage and Stuff It

Recipe: Blazing Hot Turkey Sausage

Failure is always an option. The Mythbusters slogan, coined by Adam Savage, is meant to show the value of failure in science – as long as you get good data no experiment is a failure. In cooking though, sometimes failure is just failure. Most of the time failures get eaten anyway; but not every time.

My duck sausage for this month’s Charcutepalooza challenge was a spectacular fail. Fifty dollars’ worth of duck, three days in the making; it had the texture of overcooked cornmeal, and tasted like cardboard – with a hit of orange.

K.M. and I couldn’t eat it. And with all the roasted garlic in it, I couldn’t feed it to the dogs. (Garlic, like onions and grapes, are toxic to dogs.) I was upset about the money, about the duck who died for nothing, (Okay, I did make stock. And render the skin for duck fat. Let’s say nearly nothing.), and so discouraged I almost gave up on stuffed sausages. And unlike the Yummy Mummy’s experience, it had nothing to do with equipment issues. Just with the cook.  The cook who was going to have to blog about it.

It should have been great. I based the spices on a spectacular duck breast recipe, from Bon Appetit that K.M. has been making for years. And it smelled so good while we were stuffing it into the casings.

The duck was my third attempt at stuffing a sausage. The first two tasted good, – the chicken Kilbasa I made for last month’s grinding challenge – and a five spice powdered chicken sausage I made in late May. I actually hoped that sausage would be the story line for this post – but, the stuffing process was messy and frustrating, and then when I used the sausage in a fried rice dish I was working on, I realized it would work much better as fresh sausage – without the casing.

So – I did more sausage research, scouring the local libraries, and online sources for information. I learned how to pair beer and sausage, that US commercial sausage industry enjoyed more than 1 billion dollars in sales last year, and incredibly (given that only  205,671 people live in Boise) that the city I live in ranks number 10 in breakfast sausage consumption by volume.  I even re-read Little House in the Big Woods, all the rest of the Little House books, and Wendy McClure’s This Wilder Life, ostensibly, looking for sausage references.

It was all in vain,  though, until The Peche, as part of the outstanding online party Chris and Karen put together for BHFPP11 – an online sob fest for those of us who couldn’t make it to Blogher Food this year –posted this laugh out loud wonderful,  R–rated sausage stuffing video from Mrs. Wheelbarrow.

My technique problems? Lubrication and going it solo. Make of that what you will.

And stuffing the duck sausage did go beautifully. K.M. helped, I knew to cover the kitchen counter in wax paper this time, and even was able to set up the tripod. Of course, I accidently deleted all the photos later, but it really did go well. Too bad I’m not a fan of mealy cardboard.

I thought about throwing in the towel –but I love grinding my own meat and all my fresh sausage experiments have been keepers. And K.M. absolutely loves grilled sausages and I won’t buy the commercially processed kind.

And I’m pretty sure there’s got to be more stuffing ahead in Charcutepalooza. All this build up and no Salami?  Or Mortadella? I don’t believe that for a second.

So I had to try again. This attempt I based on a recipe from Charcuterie – though I decided to work with turkey and amp things up. Damned if I will ever make a sausage that tastes like cardboard again! By this point, I was pretty sure that I had accidently turned the duck into a blended sausage and then broken the emulsification. A little like blowing a batch of mayonnaise, but a lot more expensive. From not on, I’ll mix my sausage, (post grinding) by hand, rather than by machine.

Finally, on my forth attempt, the magic happened. Blazing Hot Turkey Sausages are the real deal – spicy, lovely mouth feel, and ready to burst out of its casing the moment you bite into it. This sausage requires nothing more than a bun, mustard and sauerkraut – totally the taste of summer.


5 responses to this post.

  1. Sometimes it just takes a few trys! Love your sausage story.


  2. I absolutely love this. Seriously I almost gave up at one point as well. I was lucky that while my sausage ended up a little more blended that I would like, the texture when cooked turned out. I need to try again, with someone else… and maybe not a recipe of my own devices!


  3. That’s some good-lookin’ sausage, and I bet it tastes great. I also really appreciate hearing about your whole process –not just the final success, but the steps that led to the good result. Nice post!


  4. The hot turkey sausage looks and sounds delicious! Glad you didn’t give up after the duck experience – and thanks for sharing your story. We can all learn from each other’s experiments, successful or not!


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