black pepper

Montreal Sausage à la Brasserie T!

Pork shoulder, pork fat back, duck gizzards, white wine, nitrite salt, black pepper and hog casings

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‘Tis the season for sausage making and since Melissa gave me sausage-making supplies for Christmas, I figured it was time to try this recipe! Having never made sausage before, I had to do a lot of research into the proper methodology and did some trial runs with different sausage recipes. The first (and most frustrating task for this particular recipe) was to find a large quantity of duck gizzard. I had only ever encountered duck gizzard as part of that package of giblets in a frozen duck and had never consumed them! Melissa and I went to a number of likely places to try to find this (a few Asian/international markets), but ultimately we came up empty handed. As a result, we had to use the package of giblets from our Christmas duck (there’s been a slight delay in writing up this post!).

The book mentions that their recipe is based on the classic Toulouse sausage, so we decided it would be fun to make the classic Toulouse sausage in addition to the Toqué version to compare them side by side. The recipe we used for the Toulouse sausage we took from the Fatted Calf’s cookbook, In the Charcuterie. There are quite a few notable differences, so we were excited to see how the Toqué version stacked up against the original!

Toqué Toulouse
Pork shoulder/neck
Pork picnic or shoulder
Pork fat back
White wine
Duck gizzard
Black pepper
Course Salt
Cloves
Nutmeg
Allspice berries
Minced Garlic
Nitrite Salt

I first made a call to my butcher to set aside some pork fat back and pork shoulder, which I cut up into manageable chunks and stored in the fridge.

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Next, for the Toulouse sausage, we ground up some cloves, garlic, allspice berries, nutmeg, and black pepper in a mortar and pestle.

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After portioning the meat and fat into 2 portions, we added white wine to one, and the spice blend to the other.

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The next step was to fully incorporate the spices and wine and then allow for them to sit in the fridge overnight. For the Toqué sausage, we cooked the duck giblets in what the book refers to as “Tub o’ Duck Fat”. This was made back in the Quail Confit recipe and involved cooking duck fat with a mirepoix, which we have since stored in the freezer.

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Finally, we chopped the giblets into uniformly sized cubes and incorporated it with the white wine pork combination.

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After allowing the mixtures a few minutes to cool in the freezer, we started the process of grinding the meat. We tried making sausage earlier and found that this significantly improves the texture of the resulting sausage.

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The ground meat was then mixed with the dough hook attachment for the stand mixer until we observed a homogeneous mixture.

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I think the most difficult part of this process is just feeding the sausage casing onto the nozzle of the stuffing attachment. The actual process of stuffing the sausage was surprisingly quick and painless (I employed Melissa to man the plunger so I could ensure the sausages were stuffed properly). This really is a two-person job!

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After all the stuffing was done for both batches of sausage, I portioned out the sausages using a piece of butcher’s twine as a reference.

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Finally, I made sure to prick each sausage on both sides to allow excess air out. This minimizes the risk of experiencing an “exploding sausage”, something I hear is quite unpleasant!

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When all was said and done, I tried both sausages side by side. To prepare them, I boiled them for approximately 5 minutes, pan-fried them until golden and served them with a wild rice blend with tomatoes and green onions.

I really enjoyed both sausages, but I have to give my vote to the Toqué sausage! Despite its markedly simpler recipe, the salty, iron-y flavors made this an instant favorite of mine. It’s possible that I portioned too much garlic into the Toulouse recipe because I found it to be a little too strong for my taste.

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This experience has taught me a few things:

  1. Put the meat in the fridge/freezer before starting the grinding or stuffing processes! This will ensure the texture is not mealy.
  2. Making sausage is a technique intensive activity and requires a little bit of practice before making large batches.
  3. Apparently there is a “sausage making season”, which falls shortly after Christmas where your general grocery store will sell large quantities of pork shoulder, pork leg, and other favorites! At this time, our store also carried hog casings, beef casings, curing salt, and everything else we could possibly need!

After having made quite a few batches of sausage and stocking my freezer to its capacity, I’ve decided this is something I want to keep making and (once I deplete my current supply) will be trying some recipes for rabbit, duck, and other pork sausages in the near future!

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