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- The KitchenAid Stand Mixer is an incredibly useful appliance to have in your kitchen, and when you add attachments, you can do even more.
- You can make fresh sausage with your stand mixer using an array of attachments from KitchenAid and third-party vendors.
- If you don’t have a sausage-making attachment yet, we recommend the KitchenAid Metal Food Grinder Attachment because it’s a breeze to clean, durable, and simple to use.
- Here’s how to make sausage with your KitchenAid Stand Mixer.
There are few kitchen items that are universally considered the best: Vitamix blenders, Le Creuset Dutch ovens, and, of course, when it comes to stand mixers, the experts agree that you can’t go wrong with a KitchenAid.
What makes this mixer so special? In addition to its strong track record of durability, you can use your KitchenAid stand mixer for a broad range of tasks from making just about any baked good to crafting homemade ice cream. And, with the right attachment, you can even make sausage. Below, we will explore how to make sausage with any KitchenAid stand mixer.
What You’ll Need
- Meat grinder attachment with sausage stuffing capabilities
- Cutting board
- Mixing bowls
- Sausage casings
- Meat and spices
A good meat grinder attachment that also has sausage stuffing capabilities is a must-have. KitchenAid and several other manufacturers offer different options, but the relatively new KitchenAid Metal Food Grinder Attachment is my favorite. It cleans up effortlessly and is durable thanks to its steel construction. It also comes with a plastic sausage stuffer plate and two sausage stuffer tubes: large (19 mm) and small (9.5 mm). Before you use it for the first time, make sure you wash the grinder.
Read more: How to grind meat with your KitchenAid
You will also need some ingredients. This is tricky because it’s entirely up to personal taste. A good strategy is to do some trial and error. Most sausage recipes call for pork or potentially a pork and beef blend. If you like your sausage juicy, choose cuts of meat that are fattier or you maybe even add fat. Pork shoulder (also called pork butt) is generally a good option. If you want a healthier alternative, you will likely have to sacrifice flavor. Consider turkey, chicken, or leaner cuts of pork and beef. To make it worth my while, I usually start with at least four or five pounds of meat.
Other than the meat, the spices are key to capturing the flavor you want.
Here are some popular sausages and the ingredients you need to make them:
- Bratwurst: egg, ground black pepper, nutmeg, salt, sugar, dry mustard, ground ginger, mace, and milk (I like to use beer in place of milk)
- Kielbasa: garlic powder, salt, sugar, ground black pepper, dried marjoram, cure, and water or milk
- Italian: salt, fennel seeds, ground black pepper, paprika, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, dried parsley, Italian seasoning, and sugar
- Chorizo: paprika, dried oregano, ground cinnamon, cumin, cloves, salt, vinegar, chili powder, garlic cloves, bay leaves, ground black pepper, coriander seeds, and dried thyme
- Breakfast: salt, ground black pepper, dried sage, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, dried thyme, ground nutmeg, and cayenne pepper
To prep the meat, you’ll want to cut it into smaller chunks. This requires a cutting board and a sharp knife. One of my favorite knives is the 8-inch Victorinox Fibrox Pro Chef’s Knife. Large and small mixing bowls are also helpful. Potentially, you could use the mixing bowl of your KitchenAid for this task, though I generally don’t.
If you plan on forming your sausage into links, you’ll need sausage casings. Most casings are made from scrubbed and salted pig intestines, though collagen casings are also available. I’d avoid collagen unless you have a specific dietary reason to avoid pork. Collagen casings tend to break more easily than pig intestines. Instead, I use Natural Hog Casings for Sausage by Oversea Casing.
Get Everything Ready
For safety reasons and to aid in the grinding process, it’s imperative that you keep everything cold. I store my assembled meat grinder in the freezer when it isn’t in use so I can access it easily whenever I want to grind meat. If this isn’t practical, pop it in your freezer at least a few hours before you plan on grinding. Make sure the grinding plate you want to use is installed before you do this. I recommend a medium grinding plate with 4.5-millimeter holes.
Half an hour before grinding, put your meat in the freezer. This might keep harmful bacteria from growing, but we mainly do this to make it easier for the grinder since firm meat is easier to grind than mushy meat.
While the meat is firming up, mix your spices together in a small bowl. You don’t want your meat sitting out getting warm while you do this. So, it’s good to have it ready before you start grinding. Then, once the meat is ground, you can toss the spices in and start mixing right away.
Once the meat is firm but not frozen, take it out and cut it into cubes that are small enough to fit into the feeding tube of your grinder. One-inch cubes should work. If I’m in a rush, I sometimes just cut the meat into long, narrow strips. I have not noticed a difference in grind quality when using strips instead of cubes.
Here’s how to make sausage with a KitchenAid
In our guide “How to use a KitchenAid stand mixer to grind your own meat,” you can find a more detailed description of how to grind meat. So, we won’t get too into the weeds here, but we strongly recommend checking out our guide.
Attach your cold meat grinder to the KitchenAid stand mixer. Turn the mixer to 4, place a mixing bowl under the grinder to catch the meat, and start feeding the meat cubes into the grinder. Use the food pusher to get it all in.
Once the meat is ground, clean the grinder attachment and put it back in the freezer along with the sausage stuffer you plan to use so it can cool down before the stuffing process if you plan to make links.
Next, mix the ground meat with the spices. I usually use clean hands for this task, but since we are already using your KitchenAid, you might use the flat beater on a low speed to mix the meat and spices. Once, the meat and spices are thoroughly mixed, you may want to let it sit to let the flavors meld, divvy it up into portions for later use, or simply start cooking with it. But, if you want to make sausage links, read on!
How to make sausage links
Depending on the recipe you use, the sausage may need to rest to allow the flavors to meld. For instance, when I make beer brats, the sausage and beer mixture sits covered overnight in the refrigerator. About 30 minutes before you plan on stuffing the sausage, put the mixture in your freezer.
While the mixture is getting colder, immerse the casings in warm water for about 15 minutes. Plan on three or four feet of casings for every pound of meat. So, if you start with four pounds of meat, 16 feet of casings should be enough.
Set up the sausage stuffer on your KitchenAid. The process is the same as meat grinding, only you won’t use the blade. Instead, you’ll install the sausage stuffer plate and a sausage stuffer tube before tightening the collar. For most sausage types, you will use a larger stuffing tube, but for breakfast sausage links, the smaller tube is ideal. You will need to small casings if you want to use the small sausage stuffer tube.
Run warm water through the length of hog casing. This will loosen it up and make it easier to slide onto the stuffer tube, which is your next step. Starting at one end, slide the casing onto the stuffer tube. It’s kind of like pushing knee-high socks down on your leg. You’re slowly bunching the casing up. Leave about six inches loose at the end to tie off later.
Read more: The best KitchenAid mixers you can buy
Once the casing is in place, you can start feeding the sausage mixture into the feeding tube with the mixer on Speed 4 and pushing down with the food pusher. Regulating how fast the casing comes off the tube is a bit of an art that will take some practice. Once a fair amount of meat is in the casing, you can tie off the end. Then, continue to feed the meat through while regulating how fast the casing comes off. Try to create one long coil if possible.
Once you’ve fed all of the mixture through, tie off the other end with a double knot. To make links, pinch the coil at the link length you want, then twist it toward you several times. For the next link, pinch again. Only this time, spin away from you. Keep doing this until the entire coil is a series of links.
At this point, you have sausage links that you can refrigerate, freeze, cook, or explore our “extra tips.”
You can help the natural enzymes of the meat break down and thus enhance the flavor by hanging the sausage links to dry on racks for a couple of hours. Also, use a sterilized pin to prick holes wherever you see air bubbles.
Occasionally, the casing will break when you are stuffing the sausage. This usually happens when you are just learning how to feed it at the right speed or if you are using bad casings. When this happens, don’t panic! Stop feeding the sausage through. Twist the casing just ahead of the tear so you have a coil without any tears. Remove the meat from around the broken casing and put it back with the rest of the mixture. Cut the casing on the broken side a couple of inches from the twist and tie off your good coil. Now, start making a new coil as if you were starting from scratch.
If it’s your first time, you might prep a few extra feet of casing just in case you end up with tears. Most importantly, remain patient. Sausage making is an art that takes a little practice. But, over time, you are rewarded with delicious links that perfectly suit your tastes.