If you want to make homemade sausages but you don’t have any special equipment, don’t worry. We have all of the info that you need here to make sausages at home without buying any tools.
If you already have a smokehouse or smoker, you have probably already tried your hand at making sausages. But those of us who don’t have those things often don’t even think about trying because we don’t think that we have the right equipment. However, it turns out that you can make delicious sausages at home without needing any special tools at all.
Years ago, I had a business making and smoking sausages to sell. These days, I’m retired and don’t really want the fuss of having to go through all the steps. I still like homemade sausages though. That’s why I figured out how to do this process without a lot of the stress.
What Products Do You Need To Make Homemade Sausages
While you don’t need special tools to make sausages at home, you do need some ingredients, in particular, seasoning, cure, and binder.
For the seasoning, you will usually have the ingredients that you need already in your pantry. For instance, for making homemade Italian sausages, you need Italian sausage seasoning, and Italian seasoning, both of which contain ingredients that you probably already have.
The ingredients that you probably don’t already have are binders and cure. You probably don’t need one of them (binder) but do need the other (cure) for some kinds of sausages.
What Is A Binder In Sausage-Making?
You know how when you cut into a cold sausage it has those little pockets of fat? You want the fat to stay within the sausage like that, and not melt out to the outside of the meat. When the fat leaks out to the outside of the sausage it’s called “fat-out.” You don’t want that. The binder holds the meat, fat, and liquid together in small distributed ways throughout the mixture. In that way, the fat won’t escape to the outside.
When you mix binder into ground meat, you want to keep mixing until it gets sticky. That’s how you know that the protein in the meat has encapsulated the fat, which means you won’t have that fat-out problem.
Binder also helps the sausages retain moisture, and it gives them a better texture for slicing.
However, not everyone uses binders in sausages and it isn’t necessary for homemade sausages. If you mix your meat mixture together really well so that it’s sticky, adding a bit of water if needed to make it stickier, you’ll be fine without a binder. The recipes in our sausage-making series do not contain any binders.
Note that for all of our sausage recipes, we mention the need for this stickiness. What you want to do while mixing the meat with your hands is to add water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the mixture is so sticky that it won’t fall off of your inverted hand, like this:
What Is Cure In Sausage-Making
You know how some kinds of sausage are a pink or red color (think of salami or pepperoni) while others are more light brown (think of Italian sausages or breakfast sausages)? The first type, the pink/red type, has cure in it. It’s the cure that keeps it that color as it cooks, rather than having it turn the browner color of cooked meat.
The cure is a powder that usually contains salt and sodium-nitrate. It aids in the preservation of the meat, adds the distinctive salty flavor, while also affecting the color, as mentioned.
You won’t be using cure if you’re making Italian sausage meat, Italian sausages, breakfast sausages, or breakfast sausage patties. If you think about it, you’ll immediately realize that those kinds of sausages are cooked-meat-color and therefore don’t contain cure.
Note that any sausages made with cure, whether you used casings or the plastic wrap technique below, should sit in the fridge for at least 24 hours before cooking. This is so that the shape can set, but more importantly, it is so that the cure can properly penetrate and get to all the bits of the meat. If you don’t let it sit for this time, you can end up with bits of the meat that don’t get cured and thus end up beige or brownish after cooking instead of pink/red. This meat is not bad and is safe to eat, but it will look discolored and wrong. It’s also not preserved as well so you would need to eat it more quickly.
One thing to note when shopping for sausage cure and sausage seasonings is that sometimes the seasonings already contain cure. If they do, then you don’t want to add more. The best things to do are:
(1) Look for the word cure on the product label. If it’s there, then the seasoning already has cure.
(2) Look at the ingredients and see if they contain a lot of salt and any sodium nitrate. If they do, then the seasoning mix is probably also a cure.
(3) Read the instructions for using the product and see if they say to add a curing ingredient. If they say to add one in addition to their seasoning mix, then that seasoning mix likely doesn’t contain a curing agent.
Where Can You Get Binder, Cure, And Other Sausage Ingredients?
Many larger cities have Butcher Supply Stores. If you want to get supplies and also talk with someone knowledgeable about making sausages, that is your best bet. You can learn a lot from a short visit to one of these stores.
However, if you just want the products delivered to your house, then you can get the products on Amazon. We use Morton’s Tender Quick Home Meat Cure in our recipes that call for cure. You can alternatively find a shop online that sells the products that you need. LEM is a good source for all kinds of sausage-making tools and ingredients, and they have a lot of information on their site as well.
How To Make Sausages Without Special Equipment
It is definitely a bit easier to make sausages if you have a sausage grinder and stuffer. We don’t recommend that for your first time though. You don’t want to go through that expense before knowing if you’re going to enjoy making and eating your own sausages. So try making some without equipment and if you get into it, then you can look into getting equipment. If you want to, their are a range of items that you can get. A good place to start is with a meat grinder and sausage-stuffing attachments for a KitchenAid mixer. This one is not made by KitchenAid but is both the grinder and stuffer in one for a reasonable price.
Assuming that you don’t have the meat grinder and sausage stuffer though, you can still make sausages at home!
Instead of grinding your own meat, you’ll need to buy pre-ground meat. You can find ground pork, which is the most common meat for sausages, at the grocery store. Ground turkey and ground beef can also be great in sausages.
Using pre-ground meat seems obvious as a work-around to owning equipment. The less obvious step is how to stuff sausages without a sausage stuffer.
Shaping Sausages Without A Sausage Stuffer Or Casings
What you’re going to do is follow one of our sausage-recipes for mixing the meat and other ingredients together.
Then, you decide on what length and thickness you want your sausages to be. Both are up to you. The length needs to be shorter than the rack that you plan to cook your sausages are. Some typical diameters are:
- Pepperoni – 1 inch diameter
- Kielbasa – 1 1/2 inch diameter
- Salami or Ham Sausage – 2 to 3 inch diameter
Now I’m going to explain how to use plastic wrap instead of a casing for shaping your sausages. But don’t worry, you won’t be cooking your sausage in the plastic wrap!
Cut two large pieces of plastic wrap. You need the pieces to be 6 inches longer than your desired sausage length.
Now you lay the plastic wrap one piece on top of the other so that they overlap, giving you more plastic to roll your sausage in.
Take a handful or two of your meat mixture and place it on your plastic wrap. Shape the mixture into the length and diameter of the sausage you’re trying to make, adding more meat or taking some away, as needed.
Now roll up your sausage burrito-style, bringing the extra 3 inches on each edge towards the middle, and then rolling the sausage up tightly in the plastic wrap.
Roll the plastic-wrapped sausage in aluminum foil. Repeat with remaining meat wrapped into individual plastic wrap and foil rolls.
Refrigerate your wrapped meat for 24 hours. The tight wrap of the meat, plus the refrigeration allows the sausage to retain its shape later when we unroll it and cook it. Also, the 24 hours allows the cure to properly penetrate all of the meat.
Cooking Sausages Without A Smoker
Once refrigeration is complete, arrange an oven-safe cooking rack over a baking sheet. Carefully unroll the sausage from the aluminum foil and then from the plastic wrap. Put them onto the rack. Using the rack over the pan is recommended so that any fat or liquid from the sausages will drip down onto the pan, and not end up soaking the meat as it cooks.
Place the pan and rack with the raw sausages into a preheated oven (usually set to 325F) and cook until the internal temperature is safe to consume (160F for pork and beef, and 165F for turkey and chicken), as read on an instant-read thermometer.
Allow the sausages to cool and then slice and enjoy!Print
- Plastic wrap
- Aluminum foil
- Sausage meat mixture (see recipes here)
- Cut two large pieces of plastic wrap, each longer by 6 inches than your desired sausage length.
- Lay the plastic wrap one piece on top of the other so that they overlapping such that their length is still just 6 inches longer than your desired sausage length, but the width is wider than a single piece of plastic wrap would be. This gives you more plastic wrap to roll your sausage in.
- Take a handful or two of meat mixture and place on plastic wrap. Shape meat mixture into the length and diameter of the sausage you’re trying to make, adding more meat or taking away, if needed.
- Roll up your sausage burrito-style, bringing the extra 3 inches on each edge towards the middle, and then rolling the sausage up tightly in the plastic wrap.
- Roll the plastic-wrapped sausage tightly in aluminum foil.
- Repeat by tearing off more plastic wrap and wrapping remaining meat mixture into sausages and then wrapping in foil.
- Refrigerate your wrapped meat in a single layer for 24 hours.
- Preheat oven to 325F. Arrange an oven-safe cooking rack over a baking pan.
- Carefully unroll the sausages from the aluminum foil and then from the plastic wrap. Put them onto the rack.
- Place the pan and rack with the raw sausages into oven and cook until the internal temperature is safe to consume (160F for pork and beef, and 165F for turkey and chicken), as read on an instant-read thermometer. The time will depend on the thickness of your sausages but should be between 30-60 minutes.
- Allow the sausages to cool and then slice and enjoy!