October 24, 2016
A few years back I found myself in Croatia hunting wild boar from high stands.
My guide Misha looked like a shorter version of Ivan Drago, long retired from battling Rocky Balboa. In addition to knowing his boars, Misha was an incredible cook.
The problem was he didn't speak any English, so I didn't always know what I was eating. That was probably a good thing, especially considering he once pulled a foot long chunk of sausage from the bed of his truck, where it had been bouncing around exposed to the elements most of the day.
I did happen to recognize one particular word as he handed it to me: Jaegerwurst. The Hunter's Sausage. I took it from him, snapped off a bit, and responded with about the only Croatian word I knew — hvala. Thank you.
5 lbs. pork butt or other fatty scrap meat, cut into cubes
3 tbs. kosher salt
1 tsp. Instacure No. 1
2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. mustard seeds
½ tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. nutmeg
2 inch slice of ginger, minced (or about 1 tsp. ground)
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup nonfat dry milk powder
Natural hog casings, soaked in tepid water for at least 1 hour
Whisk together all the ingredients except the pork.
In a large meat tub or mixing bowl, pour mixture over pork cubes and stir to combine well.
Place tub or bowl in freezer, along with the grinder neck, blade, and assembly.
Chill at least one hour or until pork is crisply frosted, but not frozen solid.
Using the coarse blade (the one with the largest holes), grind your meat into a bowl set in ice.
Change grinder blades to a finer grind (smaller holes) and regrind half of the meat back into the chilled bowl.
With a stiff spoon — or, better yet, your glove-covered hands — mix the sausage well until it becomes sticky. If it seems too dry, i.e., it won't squeeze between your fingers when you make a fist, add some ice-water a little bit at a time.
Stuff ground sausage into the hog casings and twist into six-inch links.
Place sausage links on a drying rack or hang in your refrigerator. Allow to dry at least one hour at room temperature or up to overnight in the fridge.
Transfer sausages to a smoker and cook without heat for 2 hours at 130 degrees.
Up heat to 200 degrees, add apple or hickory chips, and smoke until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees.
Chill in ice-water bath.