|"My how the turn tables"|
|My mom is going to make an "Osborne Cox" joke in the comment section I just know it...|
I started off the day with slicing open vacuum sealed bags with Anthony at the purge sink (purge is the blood/juices in the bag) before our class fabricated the scraps to obtain the proper fat to lean ratio needed for our breakfast sausage production (the ratio is 70% lean meat to 30% fat by the way). After we were done, Chef Elia gave a quick demonstration on how to use the sausage machine and the proper method for feeding the sausage into the casing. When he demoed the breakfast sausage he made it look ridiculously easy. Once the long 20 foot casing was filled with sausage meat, Chef Elia pinched, twisted, and spun the long sausage into a chain of link sausage like he was under a time constraint for Iron Chef. The man could move. Each sausage was linked off perfectly giving way to a long linkage of uniform sausages. "I love this shit" Elia proclaimed while masterfully linking the sausages. "Somewhere between heaven and here there's a layer of this stuff" he said with a fat grin on his face. Now it was our turn...
|"Your Abe Froman....the Sausage King of Chicago?"|
Zeth, Timothy, and I (3 out of the 4 "Dream Team" members) washed dishes, cleaned table tops, sanitized chef's station, and took pointers while the other teams were making...and sometimes not making sausage. Finally our time had arrived. I was chosen to be the first sausage maker for our team so we threaded the casing onto the feeding nozzle and I was underway making sausage. I had a herp derp moment initially because it took me a second to get a feel for the machine. The first few inches of sausage tore threw the casing so we had to start over. Damn, nothing I can do about that. The second go around was much smoother. The trick is to keep your fingers underneath the nozzle applying subtle pressure to the Nth degree on the casing so that it fills to the proper size when the meat is feeded into it.
It's much harder than it looks as everyone in the class quickly discovered. You have to crank the plunger with one hand to force the meat through the nozzle while working the casing with the other. If you crank to fast or don't feed the casing your sausage link will look like a skinny ass snake. If you crank too slow or pinch the casing too tight you will get "dog shit" as Elia described. The second try I got the hang of it and cranked out a long almost uniform link sausage (except for a few skinny parts that can be fixed later).
While the rest of my team attempted the sausage stuffing process I began to pinch, twist, and spin the long link sausage into 6 inch links. If you have a perfect link sausage to begin with this part is much easier. Since there were a few skinny sections I had to pinch some of the meat and pull it down the casing and add it to the previous link before twisting (otherwise you get a mushy feeling sausage...nobody likes that). It was a time consuming task but I took the time to do it right. When chef evaluated my links I asked him how I did, a bit apprehensive seeing as how this is my first go around with making sausage. He told me I did fairly well, much better than most in the class. "HELL YEAH!" I thought, but there was no time to celebrate a good day, I had to clean up and finish strong. No half-ass. You'd be surprised how much better your day goes when you get positive feedback compared to days you don't. I thought I killed it on sausage day only to find out the class did so poorly he gave us all the same score for the day, which from what I am told is a score of "shit"....