8 November, 2021
There’s a story behind the spicy sausages….grab a chair and let’s get into it.
I am a food canner. I have a 23 quart Presto pressure canner I have named Bubba…for no reason I can discern. My stove is old….I rent – if I owned, that stove would have been donated or given to someone in need. The stove works, however, the burners and the pieces that hold the burners in place are not strong enough to hold a 50 lb canner (Bubba’s a heavy fella when he’s full).
A while ago – 2 years, perhaps – I bought a ‘canning’ burner from someone on Amazon and the blessed thing didn’t fit into my stove and make contact. My stove is a Beaumark and nobody has the right pieces for it. The landlord had to replace the burner element in the oven, on the bottom, and had to use an element from a different, but similar, oven because there are no parts for a Beaumark.
Basically, I have not been able to can anything for a couple years now. I did buy a smaller canner, it’s a T-Fal (don’t waste your money). The seal lasted four canning sessions and failed….I’ve had the Presto for 8 years and am still using the original seal. Recently, I tried finding a replacement seal for the T-Fal and failed miserably…..I could have replaced the canner with another identical, but not the seal. It’s going to become a soup pot.
A couple weeks ago, I was watching canning videos on Youtube, because that’s how I entertain and torture myself, and a canner I trust was testing 3 electric canners. I bought the one that didn’t fail any tests she put it through. 🙂
It came a week ago. The first canning session was a jar of chili, a jar of split pea soup, a jar of pinto beans and two jars of ham. Successful and I was so excited.
This weekend, I felt I needed to break out the canner again. Food prices are rising, panic buying comes and goes in waves, I always feel so much better with a pantry that is crazy full. Now, I have seen people can these little cocktail weinies in barbeque sauce – not quite my thing, but spicy? Yes, Ma’am, Pam. So off to the store I go. The store I knew carried those little weinies…but only had small packages of them yesterday. I know, without a single doubt, that the last time I saw packages of those little weinies, they were big packages. Not being one to quit, I grabbed two of the little packages, and then I turned around. There were packs and packs of garlic sausage ends and summer sausage ends and each pack was $5. I dumped the mini weinies and grabbed four packages of the sausage ends and a big jug of vinegar and skittered myself on home.
Part of the reason I wanted to make spicy sausages, or spicy anything, was that a while ago my son brought home 3 of those massive jugs of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce from the hotel he works at. They are past their best before date (not expiry date), but absolutely still good. They are, however, massive….really huge! I like hot sauce, but even I’m a little defeated by the size of these rascals. Canning spicy sausages would take care of some of the sauce.
I chopped, sliced and jarred those sausages with one and a half red onions, chopped into pieces (16 jars worth – oops, incapable of small batches, apparently). And then, I made up a brine to put in with them.
Spicy Sausage Brine Ingredients:
- 1 cup water
- 3 cups white vinegar
- 2 cups Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
- 1 TB chili flakes
- 1 TB whole peppercorns
Pour all into a saucepan and heat up. Pour over the sausages. Cap the jars, let cool and store in the fridge.
Because I’m a bit of a rebel canner, I canned them. By no means am I suggesting anyone else do so….I’m actually not thrilled about the texture of the sausages now they’re canned. We’re going to try frying them and using them for Jambalaya and dishes like that. I would think that as some of the jars empty, there will be a trip to the store for more sausage. 🙂
The texture of the un-canned sausages is what you would expect. The spice can be adjusted a little. From what I understand, these can be kept in the fridge for months – the vinegar keeps them safe. I would leave these at least a week to allow the sausage to soak up the spice before eating them. When the sausages are gone, I’m dumping hardboiled eggs in the brine.
According to the label, Frank’s has no carbs, so this is keto and low carb. It is high sodium, though, so have a care about how much you eat at a time.
Will I do this again? Yes, absolutely. Will I can it again? Not likely. These syphoned like crazy in the canner but the lids and rims were spotless when they went in and there was an inch of headspace. Clearly, there needs to be about ½ an inch less headspace and I still don’t think this would work. The fat in the sausage is not canning friendly, at all.
I just tried a sausage piece each from the canned and from the uncanned. The canned is spicier and definitely not as nice a texture, but I do think frying it will improve things. The uncanned, even though it’s only 24 hours old, is really good.
Now that the jars are all filled, I managed to use half of one of the jugs of Frank’s. Expect more recipes using hot sauce because there are still two and a half jugs to go. 🙂