I love writing stories about sausage making.
If you were privy to all of the silent jokes cracking in my head right now, you would know that the rumors are true, and I have never actually grown up. The fact that I cannot participate in wiener roasts or sausage making without making the occasional off-color comment just keeps the conversation lively. This year however, I am very proud of myself. I kept it under control. Maybe maturity is slowly making its way into my brain.
I really hope not.
This year marks the 4th annual….or maybe it’s the 5th, (we weren’t paying attention), Weaverdoryk Sausage Fest. Some might just call it a sausage making day, but I get more of a giggle out of calling it a sausage fest.
And let me tell you, this is one BIG sausage fest! This year we started at approximately 9 AM and the final sausage was coiled and bagged by approximately 11PM. As you can imagine, by 11:00 at night a lot of the enthusiasm towards our sausage festing has begun to wither and shrivel. It’s ‘gone soft’ you might say.
However, we are very proud of what we have accomplished, and we know that we will not be lacking in the sausage department for another year.
Our sausages are healthy. They are natural and free of artificial color or flavor…except liquid smoke. That’s probably artificial.
We make them from pork trim, venison, and new this year – moose. We were fortunate to have our friends Toni, Darren and Jackson join in the festing this year, and they brought along two moose quarters that were ground and mixed into our sausage meat.
There’s a lot of math involved in sausage making. All day long, you will hear discussions over how many pounds of pork it will take to make a batch of sausage be 1/3 pork, or 2/3 venison. It seems that there are multiple answers to this question, and that may be some of the reason that we lose track of exactly how many pounds of meat we handle in a day.
We know that this year we made over 450 lbs of sausage. We made recipes such as Ukrainian Garlic, Polish, Farmer Sausage, Bratwurst and Oktoberfest to name a few.
We try a few of our own concoctions as well. Mike enjoys mixing spices and we all get to taste test and give feedback. Some will be asking for more salt, and Kelly likes to say ‘Go easy with the pepper Big Guy’ – input that I think Mike really appreciates.
We enjoy naming these home-made recipes with names that are romantic and reflect the mood they were created in. Names like ‘Mike’s mystery meat’, or ‘I forgot what I put in this’. Later in the evening the names become a bit more racy….names that I can’t fully repeat, but you’ll get the picture if I just say that one was named ‘this is the last ……. sausage I am making this year’. All of the recipes are meticulously recorded by Kelly in the ‘recipe book’ which is promptly lost after sausage making is complete.
By the end of the evening, as we are bagging the last recipes and we are looking at the kitchen floor, walls and ceiling all needing a bit of a scrub, we feel like maybe next year we won’t need to hunt quite so many animals in the fall.
However, 450 lbs of sausage doesn’t last long in households like ours, and we know that next year we will be sausage festing again. Kind of makes me think that I never want to look at another wiener again as long as I live.
….and I don’t want to make any more sausage either….
I’m only joking. I would hate to miss Sausage Fest. We have a lot of fun, and we feel very privileged to spend the time together sharing hunting stories and recipes. Our kids are learning another very valuable skill about where their food comes from, and how this sausage is different because they can see every ingredient as it goes in. They know that their food comes from good lean cuts of meat, and real spices that are grown from plants and are not created in labs.
It’s a special feeling to know that we have learned the skills required to be self-sufficient and knowledgeable in our food choices. It’s easier and often less expensive to run to the supermarket and fill your cart, we all do it. However, when you plant a seed and watch it grow into the vegetables on your table, or when you hunt an animal and process it into food that you are proud to share with your family and friends, you feel great about what you are eating because you have seen it through from start to finish.
“I didn’t fight my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian.”