For my second post I wanted to make a completely different type of sausage to last time and one that you can’t easily find in the shops. I wanted to make something that had a smoky and rounded sweet and sour flavour and a subtle heat. Something between the sausages you can buy from the South American butchers in Brixton market and the Mexican chorizo recipe in Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn’s excellent book Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing.
I also wanted to play with some new ingredients I hadn’t used before, namely recado de achiote and hickory powder.
Recado de achiote is a deeply savoury spice blend of ground annatto seeds, cumin, allspice, garlic and salt and pepper normally used for marinades and spice rubs. It gives food a spicy earthiness and a deep red colour. It’s not the most common ingredient but the folk at the Cool Chile Co were very helpful in sorting some out for me.
Hickory smoke powder is used to give food a deep smoky flavour for those of us not blessed with our own home smokers. Hickory powder is SUPER concentrated, so I’ve given a specific measurement for this.This equates to about a 1/3tsps worth but its worth picking up some cheap microscales to get things right, particularly if you want to get into curing food as you’ll be working with potentially harmful chemicals and you don’t want to overdo them. You can pick these up easily enough online or at your local dodgy newsagent or ‘head’ shop. I can’t possibly imagine what other use they could have though….
Weighing smoke powder
Smoky Mexican style sausages -1st attempt.
600g pork shoulder, cubed
120g back fat, cubed
1&1/2tsp recardo de achiote powder
1tsp ancho chilli powder (I used flaked anchos because I happened to have some in but I would have preferred powder)
1tsp chipotle chilli powder
1tsp smoked paprika
1tsp garlic powder
2&1/2tsp table salt
1/2g hickory smoke powder
125ml white wine vinegar
Water, as needed
Mexican sausage ingredients
Firstly, prepare your hog casings in the usual way. If you don’t know what the usual way is then have a read of the blog post below. That expains it in more detail. Make sure your pork and fat is properly chilled (I stick mine in the freezer in the bowl I’m going to mince into for 45 minutes before starting, chilling both the meat and the bowl) before feeding it through your mincer. I used the standard 4.5mm plate for this one because I wanted a slightly smoother banger than last time.
Next step is to get all your seasonings together and combined with the meat. The combination of white wine vinegar and dextrose is what gives these sausages their sweet and sour flavour. Dextrose powder is basically a refined simple sugar that is absorbed more easily than standard sugar. As a result, it helps the sausages brown more uniformly.
Spices. Recado de achiote and ancho chillis in the foreground.
Take all of your dry ingredients and combine them with the minced meat and breadcrumbs. Slowly add your vinegar whilst mixing your sausage meat. You might need to add some additional water to aid your mixing. When everything is sufficiently combined set aside and leave to chill until you’re ready to use it. You should fry a little bit of it now and check you’re happy with the level of seasoning. I added some more paprika and achiote powder at this point when I made them (and have adjusted the recipe above accordingly).
In the meantime, flush your hog casings and slide them onto your medium stuffing tube then fit the tube onto your mixer. Striking a pose is optional.
Get your sausagemeat out of the fridge and slowly feed it through your stuffer. When it reaches the end of your stuffing tube, pull the skins forward and tie them off. Slowly feed the meat into the skins, ensuring that your sausages are a uniform size. Keep going until you have fed all the sausage meat through the mincer. If you want to push the last of the sausagemeat through then you can push it through the mincer with a bit of bread. When you start to see bread in the tube take the skins off the stuffer and tie off. Now simply twist these into links and leave to rest for 24 hours and there you have it: spicy, smoky Mexican style sausages.
These are great hot but I prefer to grill them and then serve them cold on a tortilla with salad, avocado, cheese and chilli sauce. The lunch of champions!