It is a craze that seems to be sweeping Northumberland. From Berwick to Hexham and everywhere in between the art of sausage making with our company has become more and more popular, and we have even reached out to people in Lincolnshire, Wales and Paris!
Since we started the courses in November 2012 we have managed to sell over 3500 courses, and are still fully booked for the next few weeks. If you have been wanting to do a course, or have just been wondering what they entail, then read on.
It was a cold Friday morning when 12 soon-to-be sausologists arrived at the sausage experience tent in Brockbushes. With loads of free parking, a great cafe and set in an easy-to-find location, it is an ideal spot for the course.
Inside the tent it is all kitted out with all the equipment you need to learn to make sausages. In the corner there is a stack of ingredients to choose from to make exciting flavours, the table is decked out with white and red table cloths and topped with machines, bows, scales, knifes and jugs.
The courses are led by Tim. He is enthusiastic, welcoming and after all this time he is still passionate about teaching people the art of making sausages.
Once the group have washed their hands and put on their rather dashing blue plastic aprons, the course can begin. Tim starts with introductions, getting to know the group a little before telling them our story. Without giving too much away he begins with how Claire, our managing director, bought the butchers in Wark. There was only two shops left in Wark, and the butchers was soon to close.
Claire used to work down London, but came up to Northumberland where her family run a sheep farm. Claire bought the butchers and discovered how great the sausage was. Without changing the base recipe, she added new exciting things to them and went from making about 70kg to what we make now, up to two tonnes a week.
The journey Claire and the team has made over the last four years is an exciting one, and Tim keeps everyone listening and interested while he tells the tale.
Next, it is time to get stuck in. The way Tim teaches people to make the sausage on this course, is exactly the same way we make ours, just to a much smaller scale. First he introduces the pork. We use pork shoulder, which makes a meatier sausage, and gives them about 75% meat content.
This is then minced once through our multifunctional sausage machines, which mince and make sausages, and is very user-friendly. Then to the 750g of minced pork, 70g of rusk and 20g of our seasoning is added, followed by 150g of water, or other liquids such as wine or cider.
This is then all mixed together before the team are let loose on our huge range of ingredients. Tim advises to keep the flavours simple, at least for the first batch, because they need to be enjoyed, and jelly beans, chocolate spread, or baked beans (which yes, we’ve had in the past) isn’t a flavour we’d choose! Although, we don’t judge.
Everyone is pretty sensible, some fennel is used in one batch and some chilli in another, there’s also a fruity cider, apple and cranberry one.
The next stage is transforming the sausage meat, which at this stage is great for burgers, meatballs or stuffing, into sausages. The mincer is transformed into a sausage making machine by simply adding the sausage attachment, and is loaded with the skins. We only use natural skins for our sausages, and putting them on the sausage attachment brings a few giggles to the table, as Tim explains, it’s like putting on a pair of tights.
Finding the end of the skin can be tricky, but once they have this is then put onto the tube and the tube is then splashed with water to avoid tearing. Using a fast backwards motion the skin is placed onto the tube, and filled to create enough for two batches of sausages, and an inch is left to hang, to avoid the sausage falling straight out of the end.
Once the sausage attachments are filled with the skins, it is time to fill them with the sausage meat. Working as a team is essential here, with one person plunging the meat down the hole and another guiding the sausage as it comes out of the tube.
The first batch of sausages all look great and we have many proud faces around the table, so it is time to make the next batch. This time Tim steps back and they are left to their own devices, but he is there to help if anyone needs it.
More tasty flavours made such as traditional leek, gherkin and garlic and red wine with satsumas and chilli it is time to end the course by taking the machines apart to show everyone how they work, and to gather every last bit of sausage meat.
Talking to the team at the end of the class everyone thoroughly enjoyed it, and would definitely recommend.
Christine Couper, a library assistant, bought her partner, Walt the course as a present because he loves trying new things. She said: “The course was absolutely brilliant, it wouldn’t have been the same without Tim though, he taught the course very well and had the right amount of humour.
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