project sausage ~

As promised yesterday ...
today's post is us making sausage.

Our elk, beef and pork meat is all thawed out and cut into smaller pieces.  Next step, doctor it up with our special blend of seasonings and it's ready to go to the grinder.

elk, beef and pork ~ seasoned for  sausage
pork ~ seasoned for breakfast sausage
Off to the big ugly grinder ~

All ground up and waiting to get stuffed into casings.

the elk, beef and pork mixture

These are the casings we're using this time around.  They are fiberous casings ... not the natural casings like you would use on hot dogs, bratwurst, etc...

We are using the fiberous casings for the summer sausage because they can hold a heavier amount of meat versus the naturals.  We like to pre-soak them in hot water and liquid smoke before using.  The hot water makes them more pliable and the liquid smoke just adds another element of flavoring to the finished product.

sausage stuffer 
Next step ... putting the ground meat into the stuffer.  Slim has our son Sam, his girlfriend Ashley, our daughter and son in law, Sara and Don helping him today ...

... he told them all, "You eat this stuff too and it's about time you learn how to make it because your day is coming to take over this operation."  Actually, our kids ~ Sara and Sam grew up around this life style of ours and have always helped out when it came to processing meat, etc... I think he said it for Don and Ash's benefit.

Don was filling the stuffer, Sara was cranking at the handle of the stuffer and Slim was putting on the casings, Sam was clamping on the hog rings on the ends of the casings ~ I didn't figure out what Ash was doing?? Me... I lucked out ... I get to watch!!  Although I did have to do all the dishes and clean up the majority of the mess.  I hate washing that grinder ... it's soooooooo heavy!


We ended up with 50 plus sticks of summer sausage in the smoke house ~

We went with the smaller sticks this time around... they're about half the size that we normally made them.  We're finding the smaller sticks are a lot easier to store in the freezer when done, and get eaten up faster without waste of them drying out in the refrigerator.

Now... finishing up the pork breakfast sausage ~

That meat too had it's turn with the big ugly grinder ...

Some I packaged bulk into Ziploc freezer bags ~ the rest I spread out onto pans and scored it with a knife into sausage patties ... which I'll vacuum seal today after spending a night in the freezer to harden.

We also do our own bacon and side pork ~ hot dogs, landjaegers, jerky, bratwurst, kielbasa, smoked turkey, chicken, game hens, smoked salmon, to name a few things on the grocery list ...

home cured and smoked bacon

( this ones for you Lucy! lol )
or as our grandparents and their parents before them would call it ~ SOUSE

Another aspect of our heritage ... and I hope that our children will carry on when we're gone.

  We live a very frugal and self sufficient way of life up here in the north woods.  
It's hard work ... but I think it's worth it.

Until next time...
So it goes in my neck of the woods.


  1. Oh yes, I think it is worth it! You are well set with survival skills if ever there was a disaster to hit. Your kids are lucky to have learned how to do these things first hand.

  2. I see project smokehouse is well under way.

  3. Sounds like some good eating later.
    A lot of work for sure. Helen

  4. Oh my, I wish I could have watched you guys in action. So much I could have learned from you...
    Happy new year to you and yours!

  5. From someone who has NEVER made any of those, I'm sure it is worth it... It's probably TONS better than what I buy in the stores.... I enjoyed seeing how you did it --especially the summer sausage... Awesome!!!!

    Thanks for sharing.

  6. Your description and pictures make this project seem pretty simple, but I have been involved with hog killing and processing, and believe me, it's hard work. Of course, you eat GOOD all winter.
    Stay warm and dry.....

  7. Oh boy,m thanks Mel. Just what I always Joe would kill for a stick of that sausage. He loves deer sausage but doesn't get it much any more.

  8. Sherry just looked across the table and saw I was reading 'Up North With Mel' and said "I loved that one, it was interesting!"

    I had just read the 'head cheese' for Lucy thing and I said to Sherry, that looks like mama's souse meat.

    Sherry said, that is what she said keep reading!!

    It is sorta fun between us to read at diffrerent times, she can spoil a punch line if she gets here first. hahahahahah

    Great post and I loved the way y'all get-r-done. good for Slim, teach 'em all cause nest year YOU WILL BE TOOO OLD! hahaha.
    TAke care.

    We are in Florida, arrived to 70+ and bright sunshine. Just in case you wanted to know!!! Love you

  9. OMG Boys and girls! That is hard work - but oh so good to eat! I enjoyed seeing the pictures and reading your explanation of how this is done.

  10. I enjoyed watching this. Reminds me so much of our ways of preserving meat back then. My grandmother used to make the most delicious head cheese I ever tasted! Ham and bacon were salted and sometimes sent to a lady to cure who had a smoke house as the taste was better! But we did a lot of bottling of meat in those days, and my favorite was always bottled pork. They made venison mince meat I recall. I just got through the last of a soup I made using beef sausage I bought at the Farmer's Market which was perfectly seasoned with sage, etc. I added potatoes, cabbage, tomato and onion. It was so good! Now I have the Farmer's Market near I can eat as I used to back on the farm! Very impressive operation you have there!

  11. YUMMY ~ so does one of those sausage sticks have my name written all over it? and Thom's on a slab of bacon?
    'love and hugs from afar'