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Irish Bangers



Prep Time: 90 minutes, if you have made sausages before. Longer if you’re a newbie

4 pounds venison, pork or other meat cut into chunks

1Ib pork or duck fat

36 grams kosher salt, about 2 tablespoons plus a teaspoon

2 teaspoons dried thyme

2 teaspoons white pepper

1 teaspoon minced sage

1 teaspoon porcini powder (optional)

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon mace

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

8 ounces of coarsely ground oats, barley, or, alternately breadcrumbs

3/4 cup malty beer

Hog casings


Get out about 15 to 20 feet of hog casings and soak them in warm water. If you don’t trust your source, run water through them to check for punctures or weak spots. Make sure all your equipment is cold, as in freeze the grinding plate and blades, and the bowl you will put the meat into for 30 minutes to an hour. Do the same for the meat and fat. When everything’s nice and cold, mix the meat and fat with all the spices (leave out the oats and beer for the moment). Grind it all through a coarse plate; I use a 10 mm plate. Test the temperature of the mixture, and if it’s 35°F or colder, go ahead and grind it all again through a fine die, like a 4.5 mm or somesuch. If it’s warmer than 35°F, put the mix back in the freezer to chill. This might take an hour or so if you’ve let the meat warm up too much. Once the sausage has been ground twice, test the temperature again to make sure it’s 35°F or colder. I prefer to chill the mix down to 28°F to 32°F for this next stage. Chill the mix and when it’s cold enough, take it out and add the oats and beer. Now, mix and knead this all up in a big bin or bowl with your (very clean) hands for a solid 2 minutes — your hands will ache with cold, which is good. You want everything to almost emulsify. Stuff the sausage into hog casings rather loosely. I like bangers to be about 6 to 8 inches long, but it’s your choice. To twist them into links, tie off one end of the coil you just made. Pinch off links with your two hands and roll the link between them forward a couple times. Move down the coil and repeat, only this time roll backwards a few times. Repeat until you do the whole coil. Now look at the links, which will probably have air pockets in them. Use a sterile needle or sausage pricker (set it aglow in your stovetop flame) to puncture the casing over all the air pockets. Gently compress the links together to squeeze out the air pockets and rotate the links a bit more to tighten; this takes practice. Hang your links for at least 1 hour if your room is warm, and up to overnight if you can hang them in a place that’s 40°F or cooler. Don’t let them freeze yet. If you are not hanging overnight, let the sausages continue to dry uncovered in the fridge overnight before you seal them up and freeze. Bangers will keep a week in the fridge and a year in the freezer, if you’ve vacuum sealed them.

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