A Delicious Grind at Indianapolis' Goose the Market
I'm forearm deep in 20 pounds of ground pork, folding in thick seams of salt, nutmeg, ginger and ground cinnamon. Neither this breakfast sausage nor my fingers move easily in this production room, cooled to a protein-binding 40 degrees. Sausage making is vigorous work, and I quickly learn it's more an art form than a science.
"That's the nice thing about sausage," says Ted Klees, who teaches this class at the Smoking Goose Meatery, a younger sibling to upscale grocery Goose the Market. "Do what you want, and it'll probably turn out fine."
Beforehand, the 10 of us toured this butchery near downtown Indianapolis. We admired the gleaming meat slicers, savored the aroma of whole cloves and peppercorns, and fogged the chilly air with vapory oohs and aahs in the Aging Room, a maze of dangling hams, salamis and thick slabs of bacon.
It was a great motivator: We'll keep everything we make-breakfast sausage, chorizo and Braunschweiger.
"I'm just going to eyeball this to see if it's ready," Ted says, dipping into a student's tub of proto-sausage. He palms a blob and flips his hand. The blob sticks. Perfect. Mine plops back into the tub. Not quite done.
We take turns working the "injector," a device that squeezes ground meat into long, glistening tubes of casing (cleaned intestine). Next, we twist the lengthy coil into plump links.
Ted shows me how to pinch both ends of a link, then gradually work my hands along the sausage toward each other, compressing the sausage and expelling air bubbles. This takes concentration. The meat is slippery, and my fingers are agile as a hippo in heels. At home, I find it far easier to handle the sausage links in a hot frying pan with some eggs popping alongside.
The art of cuisine rarely gets more intimate than when you make the food yourself, and Smoking Goose classes-also covering whole hogs and holiday turkeys-allow that. Like any good piece of handmade art, you'll find just as much satisfaction in savoring the product as you did creating it.