Have you ever bought some wors (sausage for you non-locals) at the shop, and then wonder exactly what is the beef vs donkey ratio? Or slice into it, and then find these weird cubes of what you hope is fat? With all the junk that gets added for the sake of stretching profits, who knows what some unscrupulous people will add to their sausage. So I decided to invest in a meat grinder!
I’ve wanted to make my own sausage for a while now, but was a bit too intimidated to do it. I remember helping my dad years ago with making droë wors, and he sure made it look very tricky. Granted, he made it by hand – no electric grinder – so the feed was done completely manually. With an electric meat grinder, at least the feeding would be a bit more measured. Or so I hoped…
Job 1 is finding the casing. To the uninitiated, this is basically either sheep or pork intestines. For a first try, I went for the pork, as it’s thicker, and would be easier to handle for a novice. Two things you should know though: firstly, it’s expensive (but you do get a lot out of it), and secondly; it fucking stinks! I thought it might have gone off, but after consulting many, many people, found out that’s what it’s supposed to smell like.
Once you have the grinder and the casings, making the sausage is basically like having a blank canvas. You can use any meat and herb combination you want – the important thing to remember though is the fat-to-meat ratio. As a rule of thumb, I went with 30% fat, which I got from pork rashers. My first try was conservative, so I just used beef chuck, mixed with Italian spice.
Using the grinder is very easy. As you push down on the feeder, the minced meat will automatically feed into the casing.
It didn’t look as perfect as I would have wanted – there were a few air bubbles at the start – but overall not bad for a first try!
Now is there a better accompaniment for wors than pap? I think not. And because the sausage was hand-made, we decided to do fancy pap, in the form of polenta chips. This is really easy to make. Follow the instructions for the polenta (make sure it’s fairly think), and dish into a oven pan.
Chill for about an hour, then cut into thick chips. Deep fry the chips in sunflower oil, and serve with a spicy chakalaka – easy as that!
To pair with the meal, we decided on the Babylonstoren Babel Red blend.
This is one of my favourite red blends, as it’s complex yet balanced, and very affordable considering the quality. It’s basically a blend of everything – shiraz, cab sauv, malbec, petit verdot, merlot, cab franc, and pinotage. Because of this, you get a nice balance of chocolate and red berry flavours, which worked very well with the Italian spiced beef in the sausage.
So there you have it! Making your own sausage is easy, and you can really play around with the ingredients. You can find a decent meat grinder for about R800 (I got mine at Takealot), but there are some more expensive options. I’m assuming these would work better if you have a bit more to do – mine did get a bit hot after working for about 15 minutes. Just prepare yourself for the smell of the casings…!
As a side note; we also had a bottle of Babylonstoren Chenin Blanc. Because we had no idea if the sausage would be edible, we decided to a Scandinavian-inspired shrimp open sandwich as a starter.
It’s a light dish, and paired well with the refreshingly fragrant tropical Chenin. If you’re ever in the Franschhoek area, Babylonstoren is definitely worth a visit!
BoozyFoodie did a little write-up of our visit there: https://boozyfoodie.co.za/the-beauty-of-babylonstoren/