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ITALIAN GARLIC HOT SAUSAGE

5 pounds pork, finely-ground
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons ground mace
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
8 large garlic cloves, finely-chopped
1 tablespoon fennel seed, finely cracked
1 teaspoon Prague Powder #1
1 cup ice water

What I do is throw all the ingredients except the pork into the
blender and let God sort it out. That saves a lot of trouble at
the spice mill, coffee grinder, mortar & pestle, whatever. This
morning, I threw in a few ice cubes for the "ice" part of the ice
water, then threw in the whole peeled garlic cloves (and these are
quite large and fat - don't know if they have less flavor that way,
but they sure are easier to work with) and the rest of the water.
As soon as I hit the switch I was mad! I had an opened bottle of
white wine in the fridge and that would have been better. I don't
normally keep white wine around the house, red wine either, but
started buying it when I was on my mustard binge a couple of weeks
back. Soon, I found myself sloshing it into just about anything I
cooked, so I started buying an occasional $5 bottle of "something
white and dry" and - HEY! - what's the deal with Chardonnay? The
local Harris Teeter has literally hundreds of Chardies from all
over the world, maybe even Antarctica, and they've pushed all the
other whites off the shelves. I had a helluva time finding a
Sauvignon Blanc and there wasn't a Blue Nun in sight! Has the world
gone on a Chardie binge? Someone please explain to me, it has been
a few years since I bought wine regularly.

Anyway, I threw the rest of the stuff into the blender and it got
nice and frothy. One thing I've noticed about this method is that
what comes out of the blender doesn't always smell very appetizing
- especially if you did as I didn't and used white wine for the
base and threw in a bunch of garlic, but this mixture smelled just
fine. I think you might contain more of the aromatics by grinding
spices in liquid, but I do it just for convenience.

After mixing, the sausage filled my stuffer nearly to the brim. I
pumped this into 22-24mm sheep casings and made a nice long spiral.
I cut this in half and twisted into 3-inch links. I put on Sam
Cooke's "Twisting The Night Away" because I was reminded of it by
my means of remembering how I twisted the last link. I squeeze
enough to clear a band of the casing then twist alternately "towards,
towards, towards", three twists and then, so the whole thing doesn't
get twisted into a mangled mess, "away, away, away" - then's when
I thought of Sam Cooke. I have to say those things aloud because
sometimes I forget which way I twisted the last link.

After another round of 22-24mm casings, I got tired of putting them
on the stuffing tube, so I finished off the stuffing with 40mm
casings. All this stuff went into the smoker at 130 to dry an
hour, then smoke for 3 hours at 150. These are intended for grilling,
so I didn't check the internal meat temperature. I formed the
smaller sausages into "Bruce Spirals" (he's the "tootpick" guy)
and skewered them each twice at a right angle - making for very
easy handling on the grill. I cut off the string that held the ends
shut because Bruce told me, "No strings! They don't use any strings!".
I'm pretty sure this batch won't be quite right either, but he'll
still buy me a beer - and I bet he'll be pleased to have them for
the 4th.

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