In just a few days, one of North Carolina’s great events opens in West Raleigh – the state fair. Sure, it’s a gathering of all things great about North Carolina’s heritage and economic engine called agriculture, yet it is so much more.
Among the animals, pristine produce displays, garden ideas, cakes that seem too beautiful to eat, and rides that make you squeal with fear and joy, is some of the best people-watching anywhere. And then there’s the food.
If you close your eyes and let your brain wander a bit, you can smell the hot oil sizzling the funnel cakes, country ham frying on a griddle, hot hush puppies straight from the fryer, the charcoal under those crazy turkey legs, and corn roasting, creating a tableau that will make your stomach growl with hunger and delight.
Then there are those sausages with their peppers and onions electrifying your nose, and calling to your stomach, “Buy me.”
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I have – and I’ve always regretted it. The problem is that they make me want great sausages with peppers and onions. The way I’ve solved that problem is to make my own.
Homemade smoked sausage is a lot of fun to make. You need a meat grinder and a sausage stuffer, however. If you have a stand mixer, like a Kitchen Aid, you are halfway there. Pick up the meat grinder and sausage stuffer attachments and this recipe is really easy. There is other equipment that you can find in larger outdoor stores (think Bass Pro Shop etc.) and hardware stores just for this task. Use the course die (larger holes) to grind your meat.
Hog casing can be found at independent butcher shops, and I get mine at Whole Foods Market. They must be soaked and cleaned but that’s not a big deal. For smoking, I use my kamado grill, which is a beautiful smoking machine, but any covered grill, including gas, that can be setup for indirect cooking and that can maintain a low temperature will work.
This recipe is more Polish in nature, as I’ve take a nod from Barry and Linda Johnson, my back-door neighbors who have a Polish ancestry. I like to find locally raised pork for this recipe, keeping the theme of North Carolina agriculture. Once you do this, I’m sure you’ll find other recipes to create a multitude of different sausages.