Sausages should be mega meaty, full of flavour and in plentiful supply during the summer BBQ season – whether or not the weather is BBQ friendly. It’s these firmly held beliefs that led me to snap up the chance to get stuck in to some sausage making of my own with the Northumberland Sausage Company. My friend, colleague and frequent recent blog-partner-in-crime, Hannah from My-first-house, found a great deal on Groupon that got us a decent discount on a group sausage making session over in Hexham.
Review of Northumberland Sausage Making Class
Fast forward a month and Hannah and I were heading to Hexham for a morning of sensational (and innuendo-fulfillingly saucy) sausage making. The lesson took place in the food court of department store Beales, where the knowledgeable and very enthusiastic Tim guided us through both the story of the company and the sausage making process. Now, Hexham is a very scenic town – beautiful in fact, but one thing it doesn’t do well is parking. Despite setting off for Hexham extra early I ended up a little late for class and extremely hot and bothered on an exceptionally sunny day after whizzing around the idyllic Norhumbrian town trying to find anywhere that would let me park for more than an hour at a time. Luckily, I wasn’t too late for the main event and had just enough time to put on my pinny and assume my position next to the sausage machine before things got going.
We spent around two hours sausage making in all and got to make two lots, which for me and Hannah meant getting a good whack of hot and fruity flavour into our meaty treats.We took turns at performing the different (and slightly giggle inducing) tasks, but as Hannah is far more photogenic than me she will be demonstrating her superior sausaging skills via the photos in this post.
Sausage making started with a mountain of meat – pork meat to be exact. Having tasted some of Northumberland Sausage co. sausages before I was not surprised to learn that their recipes go far over the 30 per cent pork meat needed to define something as a pork sausage, in fact, this is the breakdown of the sausage recipe we used at the event:
Before mixing things together and choosing the special sausage ingredients that would give our sausages a superior taste, it was time to mince the meat and Hannah took this task very seriously as you can tell from her concentration face. The company use pork leg or shoulder in their sausages to guarantee the mega meatyness a sausage should have.
Mincing the meat required a good pumping action, but Hannah handled it like a pro
Tim advised us to keep our recipe simple during our first round of sausaging, but we couldn’t resist getting handsy with the table of ingredients and set about creating a spicy sausage made with red wine, chilli powder, onion, garlic, barbecue sauce and a small amount of fresh chopped chilli. For our second lot of links we headed down a more traditional route and created sausages with apple, sage and cider. Before squirting the sausage meat into its skin, plenty of smooshing was required to mix the ingredients evenly.
Smoosh completed. It was time for the interesting bit. The sausage skin we used was actually a pig intestine, which you hydrate in water and smooth onto the end of the sausage machine (to mutterings of innuendo and laughter, obviously).
Hannah took the lead with the attachment, while I focussed on keeping the sausage flowing as Hannah pumped the meat mixture into the sausage making machine, at this point we needed to avoid bubbles entering the sausage.
I performed the task adequately and we soon had a lovely ring of spicy looking sausage
What I wasn’t so good at was turning our sausage ring into actual sausages. Not only did I make our sausages so short and stubby that they wouldn’t link inside each other, I also found the whole linking process akin to tackling a rubics cube. Be warned; sausage making is for the mathematically gifted – if you’re an engineer it’s a hobby for you. Anyway, despite my errors they looked non-too shabby at the end.
We were advised to wait a little while before cooking our sausages as it takes a few days for the liquid content to lower. Sausages with high liquid content bang and sizzle a lot, which incidentally is why they first became known as bangers – something I was reminded about during the class. I froze my half of our hefty heap after three days and I’m waiting for the perfect (or adequate) BBQ weather to bring them back out. However, Hannah has already consumed both lots of hers and declared the first lot ‘very hot and meaty’ and the second ‘fantastic and fruity’. I therefore declare our sausage making a success!
Overall this was a really fun class, though it didnt last quite as long as we’d expected and the venue was a bit out of the way for us. That said, it would be easy to combine with a lovely day in Hexham (if you can find parking!) or you could try and book on to one of the other venues. If you prefer sausage eating to making, you can order sausages direct from Northumberland sausage company (the goat and chilli ones are good), or you can try the hottest sausage in the world they have made exclusively for the Battlefields Beer Festival, July 26th-28th (see here for details).