Sausage is more than just a culinary staple or a hobby for Rick Brown, owner of The Sausage Source in Hillsboro — it’s in his roots.
“I really started this business to help people keep family traditions,” Brown said. “When I was growing up I remember my grandfather, my great-grandfather and great grandmother — I remember everyone making it together and enjoying it together.”
Brown’s great-grandparents were originally from Ruthenia, which became part of Poland. They immigrated to America and were one of the first to visit Ellis Island. The family kielbasa recipe was passed down from his great-grandparents to him.
Brown opened The Sausage Source in 2001. He has a storefront and a deli that caters to the needs of sausage makers or charcutiers in training (and hungry customers, too). A lot of his business comes from online orders, Brown said, and he ships sausage-making supplies all over the world. Many of his customers are hunters who would like to make their own sausage.
Sausage can be made from any kind of meat (pork, chicken and game, like venison). Binders (like soy protein flour) prevent the sausage from having a dry consistency.
“Usually there’s a recipe you go by,” Brown said. “The better the meat you use, the better the sausage. … The better equipment you have, the easier the process is.”
He said it’s not difficult to make your own sausage, but there are different recipes and techniques to follow. For some sausages, the casing needs to be a certain size, and for others the meat should be ground multiple times (like hot dogs, which require a few trips through the grinder).
The only tricky thing to note about making sausage comes when certain sausages need to be smoked. While some, like Italian sausage, are cooked raw, others need to be smoked first (like kielbasa and Andouille sausage). That’s when botulism can occur, if the cooking is not done properly. Adding nitrates as a curer prevents botulism; most people use celery salt as a curer, Brown said.
Although Brown doesn’t offer classes at The Sausage Source, he supplies equipment, seasonings and how-to books. A starter kit can cost $50 if you’re just looking to give it a try, but if you want to equip your own charcuterie it can cost around $300 for a full starter kit.
“If I’m making sausages, I’ll [invite people] in and show them how to do it,” Brown said. “Most people ask me once and that’s it. I just guide them through it.”
As seen in the April 24, 2014 issue of the Hippo.