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130 of 138 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for hands on advice. Buy It.
`Home Sausage Making' by Susan Mahnke Peery and Charles G. Reavis is a great small book in its third edition since it was originally published in 1981 by the very small publishing house, Storey, which specializes in culinary titles. Reading this book shows up the dangers to a reviewer in reviewing the very first book one encounters on a specialized subject such as home...
Published on January 5, 2006 by B. Marold

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183 of 185 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Coaching, weak sausage
I've had this book for a while now, and have made a few different sausage recipes from it. First off, the book is very good on encouraging readers to try making their own sausages, and it gives a lot of detail on what's involved in the process for various styles of sausage (smoked, loose, dried, links, etc.). The information about dealing with casings was right on the...
Published on July 15, 2004


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183 of 185 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Coaching, weak sausage, July 15, 2004
By A Customer
I've had this book for a while now, and have made a few different sausage recipes from it. First off, the book is very good on encouraging readers to try making their own sausages, and it gives a lot of detail on what's involved in the process for various styles of sausage (smoked, loose, dried, links, etc.). The information about dealing with casings was right on the money and very easy to follow--I'm not sure I'd have gotten the good results I have without this particular section. Overall, the instructions are very clear, accurate, and really encouraging and helpful for beginners.
Unfortunately, this is kind of where the good news ends. So far, I've found the recipes to be kind of wanting. They're clever, and it's a comprehensive selection of sausages, but all the ones I've made have been pretty weakly spiced. I'm not talking about them not being hot enough--I like spicy food, but I don't think everything needs to be spicy--I'm talking about not having sufficient quantities of spices. For example, the bratwurst I made from their recipe didn't taste much like anything except meat. This is a fairly subtle sausage at the best of times, but as recommended in the book it's flavorless.
I have consistently found that I need to greatly increase the amount of spices in the sausages beyond what the recipes call for to get a flavor that seems appropriate. I'm a serious and very experienced cook, so I don't think it's a problem on my end. But your mileage may vary.
With that said, though, I still can recommend the book as a good starter into the concepts and techniques of sausage making. Would I buy it again? Maybe not. Will I refer to it again now that I have it? Definitely--on the technical side, it won't steer you wrong, and it's very user-friendly.
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130 of 138 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for hands on advice. Buy It., January 5, 2006
`Home Sausage Making' by Susan Mahnke Peery and Charles G. Reavis is a great small book in its third edition since it was originally published in 1981 by the very small publishing house, Storey, which specializes in culinary titles. Reading this book shows up the dangers to a reviewer in reviewing the very first book one encounters on a specialized subject such as home sausage making. Just three days ago, I reviewed `Bruce Aidells' Complete Sausage Book' by meat and sausage experts Aidells and Denis Kelly, published by cookbook behemoth, 10 Speed Press. Naturally, with Aidells' reputation and my liking the previous two books this pair have done, I gave the book a very complementary review.

Now, I read another book on exactly the same subject and I find an even better book that addresses all of the criticisms I had of the Aidells and Kelly book. Specifically, it makes liberal use of illustrations of both equipment and technique, with the added bonus of being very specific about health hazards and the means for avoiding them, by being clear about cooking, aging, and smoking temperatures. Thankfully, there is enough difference between the two books and they are both inexpensive enough to make it worth your while to own both. If you really need to limit yourself to one, the Aidells / Kelly book is better for the armchair sausage buff, who is more interested in things to do with sausage and with the scoop on what is in the sausage he buys at the deli, megamart, or specialty meat store. Peery / Reavis is better for people who are really interested in actually making sausage, based on the much better illustration of sausage making equipment and technique, and fewer recipes, compared to Aidells / Kelly on what to make with sausage.

Peery / Reavis also has a much broader interpretation of what constitutes sausage. In addition to all the obvious preparations, this book includes recipes for making scrapple (2 recipes) and other American favorites. While both books include lots of famous international recipes for fresh and cured sausage, Aidells / Kelly presents these recipes is a more organized fashion which is better suited if you happen to want to make a Spanish or Cajun or oriental sausage.

I compared the recipes for `basic breakfast sausage' in both books and found the ingredients to be virtually identical. The only difference in ingredients is the presence of dried marjoram in Peery / Reavis and their substitution of brown sugar for granulated white sugar. Peery / Reavis' procedure was also more detailed, especially since it was oriented toward making sausage in casings while Aidells / Kelly refers you the general technique on filling casings without repeating the instructions for the specific recipe.

While Aidells / Kelly organizes their recipes by region, Peery / Reavis organizes their recipes by ingredients, giving us chapters on:

Pork Sausages

Beef, Lamb, and Veal Sausages

Combination Sausages

Game Sausages

Poultry Sausages

Seafood Sausages

Vegetarian Sausages

Both books have lots of sidebars on the origins and trivia about sausages. The introduction giving the history seems like one of them cribbed from the other, as they both seem to touch on the same bases, right down to the references to sausage in Homer's `Odyssey'. Aidells / Kelly is just a bit more interesting in this background information; however the charm of Peery / Reavis' background from U.S. bratwurst central in Sheboygan, Wisconsin is not lost in their obvious love of their subject.

As a trivial aside, I must object to Peery / Reavis' comment on Otto von Bismarck's comparison of sausage making and lawmaking, as Bismarck's intent was clearly to illuminate the nature of lawmaking and politics and not to make a culinary comment.

Both books are very good. Get both, but get Peery / Reavis first if you really want to make sausage yourself.
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76 of 80 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Underwhelming, June 7, 2006
While the book is informative and provides good instruction about some of the basics of sausage making, it is nonetheless lacking in many respects. First, most of the book's recipes that I've made come out under-salted and under-spiced. While this is something that you can test for and adjust during production, it would have been better for the authors to simply provide quantities that produced sufficiently seasoned sausages. In short, most of the sausages end up bland, tasting more like plain ground meat than sausage.

Furthermore, the recipes utilizing sausage are unimpressive as well. Most cooks experienced enough to make fresh sausage probably don't need a recipe for a sausage omelette or sausage pizza.

Finally, and most importantly, the book misses some important techniques that are essential to proper sausage making. While they do make mention of freezing meats for 30 min. before stuffing, they don't sufficiently emphasize how essential it is to maintain near-freezing temperatures throghout the process until the casings or stuffed. Failure to do so will result in dry, crumbly sausages, something I learned the hard way. Additionally, there is no discussion of the "primary bind," an essential step in sausage making whereby the ground & spiced meat mixture is beaten (either by hand with a wooden spoon or with a paddle attachement in a stand mixer) for a couple of minutes before stuffing. This allows the meat to bind together, preventing a loose & crumbly sausage, yet this essential step is entirely absent from the book.

My recommendation would be to look at "Charcuterie" by Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn. Not only does that book provide all the ins & outs of sausage making (plus the reasoning behind them) from award-winning professionals, the recipes are perfectly seasoned every time. The book has the added benefit of providing information on some more exotic things to do with meat as well, such as dry-curing hams, prosciutto, salami, etc.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Second Favorite Sausage Book, November 22, 2010
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This is one of my go-to books for sausage recipes. My favorite is Bruce Aidells's Complete Sausage Book, but this book is a close second.

The instructions are good for beginners and the recipes are good for all skill levels.

My favorite recipe in this book is the Garlic Sausage. I love garlic, so I bump up the quantities of fresh garlic. I also increase the fresh ginger a little bit (don't tell my wife--she hates ginger). The results are phenomenal.

So here's the dirty secret about sausage cookbooks: There are really only about ten or so recipes that the average DIY sausage maker wants to cook. That won't sell a book though. So they have to fill the pages with goofy recipes you'll never try (like Duck Sausage!). I ignore those recipes when I judge the book, because I know they have to fill the pages and maybe there's some guy out there who really wants to make duck sausage. I think there's a rabbit recipe too, so if Bugs and Daffy ever settle things once & for all, the winner will know what to do with the loser's corpse to hide the evidence.

My only real gripe about this book is that the recipes are organized by meat type instead of by recipe type. I think the recipes should be organized regionally (German, Italian, Mediterranean, Asian, etc.) or by type (breakfast, etc.). I have to skip through the book to find the one I'm looking for, because I know the varieties better than I know the meat contents. ("Is Bockwurst pork, veal, chicken, or mixed?").

I've noticed complaints from some of the other reviewers about the bland spices. I guess that's sort of true, but I assume that from most cookbooks and I usually bump up the seasonings per my own taste preferences.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great recipes, just be careful with the seasonings, October 13, 2008
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I just purchased this book. Yesterday, I was ambitious and wanted to try out some of the recipes. I started out with the portabella sausage for a nice lunch meal. Easy and fantastic. A real keeper of a recipe.

Next, I wanted to try the cotechino. We hosted an exchange student from Reggio Emilia and I wanted to try this recipe from her home town. The results were good. A touch too much cloves for my taste, but passable. I'll cut the cloves to half the amount next time.

The third recipe was the chorizo. A very good recipe for a mildly hot version. It was perfect for my wife. It can easily be spiced up by just increasing the red pepper. The fennel seed was just right and I would not adjust that. Another keeper.

Finally, I made the bockwurst. I noted the quantity of cloves and was concerned. However, the first recipe for the portabella sausage was so good that I was going to trust the author. That was a mistake. Unfortunately, I did not sample any of the meat sausages until I had prepared and mixed all three. If I had sampled them as I went along, I would have never used the quantity of cloves specified in the bockwurst recipe. Three-quarters of a teaspoon of cloves was about three-quarters of a teaspoon too much. A pinch would have been right. Mace would have been maybe a better choice. It is disappointing since everything else with the recipe was very good.

The bockwurst is going to be edible only if it is included with other stronger flavors. The veal is a light flavor to start with and any spicing should be in moderation. I wasted $15 in ingredients. I will make this recipe again with only a pinch of cloves.

So, how do I rate this recipe book? I will give it four stars. The recipes look good and relatively easy with readily available ingredients. The negative is the author's fondness for cloves.

I will experiment with more of the recipes and will be more careful in following the prescribed seasoning. The levels of salt and pepper, so far, are just right. I have followed recipes for sausages from other sources and had batches that were much too salty. I plan to cut the quantities of suspect spices in all first-time future recipes and will sample the mix. I can always add additional seasoning before stuffing.

I would recommend this recipe book with the caveat that one needs to be initially conservative with following the spice quantities. You can always add more to suit. You can never remove or counter excessive seasoning.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good overview but bad recipes, March 25, 2012
For the novice sausage maker, this book gives a good overview of the process, but the recipes are a disaster.

The first chapter explains the history of sausage, necessary equipment and ingredients, and a step-by-step (with illustrations) of how to make sausage. The appendix includes metric conversions and a resources page that is also very helpful.

Although I never intend to make cured sausage, I found that section of the book to be enlightening. Their recommendation to use a factory prepared seasoning/cure mix is a good one, especially because I found their own recipes to be lacking. Obviously no one took the time to taste test the recipes before going to press.

The first recipe the book recommends is a breakfast sausage. Fortunately I made it in bulk, rather than in casings, because when I fried-off a small patty the next morning I found it to be bland and flavorless. The ratio of fat to meat was a little off as well, with one thin 3-inch patty yielding more than 2 tablespoons of fat in the pan. The downside of having to remix the bulk sausage with addition spices is that it is likely to increase the toughness of the sausage patties when cooked.

In addition, the ingredients & supplies are not as readily available as the authors would have you believe. My local butcher would not sell me fresh casings or pork fat, even though they make sausage themselves. Many of the spices recommended are either hard to find, or totally inappropriate for the recipe. For example, being a Wisconsinite, I know that traditional Sheboygan sausage DOES NOT contain whole coriander.

The book has some interesting ideas, including recipes for wild game, vegetarian, fish, and poultry sausage. An experienced sausage maker could look at the ratio of spice, meat & fat and know if the portions were correct. Sadly, a newbie is likely to make many failed batches before knowing how to tweak the faulty recipes.

Knowing the recipes are poorly researched makes me question their technique as well. Anyone new to sausage making should checkout the USDA website for food safety in homemade sausage before proceeding.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good survey of the basic techniques., September 25, 2005
By 
Brian Strauss (Oakland, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This book proves to be outstanding in introducing a person who is completely unfamiliar with the basics of sausage making. After reading this book one will know everything that one needs to know to confidently procure the right equipment, shop for the right ingrdients, and how to get started. The tips on food hygene were helpful, but the dangers of poisoning related mishandling meat seem overstated, and may spook some people from untaking a tradition that was for centuries carried out before refridgerators and certainly in less clean circumstances than the modern kitchen. All in all, it's a clear simply written introduction to the craft of sausage making and that makes it ultimately a success.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sausage making made easy, December 14, 2010
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I recently bought a kitchen aid mixer with the grinder and sausage stuffing attachment. This book has the variety in sausages I was looking for. I decided to experiment in making my own since the price of sausages more than doubled in my area. It's something I never did before, but it's worth the effort.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good base for sausage making, October 23, 2010
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I got this book along with some other supplies (see my other reviews if you're curious). The recipes in the book and the sausage supplies, sources and history are all good and typical of a book of this type. However, I have a few gripes, none of which would have prevented me from buying this book, but you can take them under consideration:

1) I felt a lot of the spices were under-done. I found the maple breakfast link recipe in the book was widely circulated on the web. However, after making it according to the recipe, you can barely taste the maple. I was expecting something closer to the gusto of some commercial maple-flavored links. Some recipes seemed to adequately demonstrate the desired flavors, but others are disappointing unless you slightly over-spice.

2) I really disliked that the recipes weren't created in a "per pound" method. In a family of sausage types, one recipe might get you 5 pounds of sausage and the one on the next page gets you 7 1/2. And then there's the issue with finding the right amount of meat when you're at the store.

3) I wish more time were devoted to working with natural casings. I found (and still find) them difficult and cumbersome to work with, yet others seem to find them plenty handy to work with.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Home Sausage Making, February 19, 2010
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Home Sausage Making : How-To Techniques for Making and Enjoying 100 Sausages at Home

The book is great. You can't put it down. It gives information on equipment, choices, sources for spices, different casings and more. It gives stories on histories on various sausages, recipies on veal, pork, chicken, game, vegetarian and more. A great find that inspires you.
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