How To Make The Incomparable Louisiana Andouille Sausage

Andouille is the soul of New Orleans Creole cooking. Pork based, this sausage is usually spicy, sometimes hot, garlicky, and smoky, and always in a natural casing (although it can be served as an uncased patty).

Andouille (pronounced on-DOO-ee) turns up in many dishes, most prominently New Orleans Red Beans and Rice. We also use it in Shrimp and Andouille Po Boys, diced in gumbo, sliced on a bed of dirty rice, chilled and served with cheese as an appetizer, sliced into scrambled eggs, baked into Mac and Cheese, mixed with steamed spinach or other greens, in potato soup, in potato salad, and in grits. It travels well.

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Smoked Louisiana andouille sausage

This recipe uses the traditional method for making andouille sausage by curing the pork. Curing meats such as bacon, ham, and pastrami is fun and the results are often better than what you can buy in a store. But curing requires meticulous attention to detail because you use small amounts of the preservative, sodium nitrite. Before attempting to cure meat, you must carefully read my article on the Science Of Curing Meats. It will answer many questions. That page also contains info on scaling any cured meat recipe up or down.

Makes. 1 dozen links

Preparation time. 1 1/2 hours to make, 8 to 12 hours to cure, about 2 hours to smoke

Ingredients

3 pounds pork shoulder

5 ounces pork fat back, cut into 1/2" cubes

1 1/4 teaspoons Prague Powder #1

1 1/4 teaspoons Morton’s Kosher Salt

1/3 cup Cajun Seasoning

10 cloves garlic, peeled

5 ounces (10 tablespoons) cold water

Well cleaned hog casings for 12 links

About fat back. As it sounds, fat back is pork fat from the back of the hog. It is solid and can be cut easily. If your butcher doesn’t have any, she can order it. In a pinch, you can use pork belly, just use a bit more in the mix because belly has some meat on it. Do not use lard, which has been rendered (melted), and is too soft for this recipe.

Method

1) Prep. Roughly chop all the pork shoulder into 1/4" pieces. You will grind about 2/3 of the mix and the other 1/3 will be left as chunks. Chop the fat back into 1/2” pieces (you’ll grind all of that).

2) Place about 2/3 of the pork and all the fat back into the freezer to chill for 15 to 20 minutes. Toss a coarse die for the grinder and all the parts that will contact the meat into the freezer too. Don’t freeze the meat solid. Just firm it up.

3) Put the remaining 1/3 of the pork in the grinder bowl and mix in the Prague Powder #1, salt, and Cajun Seasoning. Put the bowl in the fridge. You want to keep everything cold.

4) Once the meat, fat, and grinder parts in the freezer have chilled for 15 to 20 minutes, remove them and assemble your grinder.

5) Turn the grinder to medium speed and place the bowl from the fridge under the grinder end to catch the ground meat. Start by feeding in the garlic, followed by the fat and the partially frozen pork.

6) Add the water to the bowl, mix everything together thoroughly, cover with plastic wrap, and chill the mix for 8 to 12 hours to allow the Prague Powder #1 to cure the pork.

7) Prepare your sausage stuffer with the large diameter stuffing horn, slide on the casings, and feed the sausage mixture into the casings. Twist or tie the sausages into whatever lengths you want or to fit your favorite buns. I usually do 6 to 7” links. Refrigerate the sausages until you are ready to smoke them.

8) Fire up and cook. Set up a smoker for 225°F (or a grill for 2-zone cooking with the indirect zone at about 225°F) and smoke the sausages to an internal temperature of 165°F. Refrigerate or freeze until needed.

"I know how to make sausage, and now that I've seen how laws are made, I'll stick with sausage."Tom Colicchio

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