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Not to be confused with the French sausage of the same name, this is a building block of Creole cuisine. It is traditionally made with pork shoulder, but I prefer the higher fat content of belly, which helps carry the flavors further, as well as maintaining moisture in the final product. It’s a straightforward sausage to make, as long as you follow the steps properly, keeping the cold chain intact throughout the process.
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mace
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly dried thyme (hang up a bunch of fresh thyme for a few days until dry)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 4 3/4 pounds pork belly, cut into 1/3-inch dice
- 6 1/2 - 10 feet hog middles or natural sausage casings
For the sausage
Using a mortar and pestle, grind the onion and garlic to a paste with the spices, thyme and salt. Mix with the pork, then cover and leave in the fridge for 24 to 48 hours.
A couple of hours before you plan to mince the meat, spread it out on a baking tray in an even layer and place in the freezer to firm up. Then put it through the finest disk of a meat mincer. Mix well by hand to spread the seasonings evenly throughout the meat.
Soak the casings in warm water for 10 minutes, then drain. Rinse them by putting one end over the cold tap and running plenty of water through, then drain again. Fill the casings 20 inches at a time, using a sausage stuffer and tying off the sections with butcher’s string. Place in a smoker and smoke at 194°F until the internal temperature of the sausage registers 140°F on a probe thermometer.
Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or vacuum pack and freeze.