5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
An encyclopedic reference for the small-time sausage cook,
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This review is from: Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing (Hardcover)
While this really is a massive, densely informative collection of instructions for obtaining cured meaty bliss, to call it a cookbook in the traditional sense might be misleading: If you were to open up to an arbitrary page without reading the associated chapter and technique introductions, you might be tempted to believe there is missing information.
The recipes in this monster are closer to lists of ingredients, sometimes accompanied by suggestions and variations. They are organized in such a way that you might find virtually no information on the actual process your ingredients will need to run through for dozens of pages at a time; if you don't want to put in the (relatively minor) time investment to read the introduction and chapter forewords, you'll simply need to backtrack a bit once finding the recipe you're after to make sure you're filled in on the relevant techniques.
That said, it's very much worth reading those introductory segments, which are rife with insight and can greatly aid in figuring out not just how to handle the recipes to which they pertain, but more generally which sections you'll be most interested in based on the general tastes they produce, techniques they involve and equipment they require.
Perhaps more importantly, though, there is a great deal of safety information regarding handling, preparation and storage -- particularly in the beginning -- which are vital. This alone is reason enough to take your time and digest everything this book has to offer.
Ingredient measurements for sausage are most often given for batch sizes of 10 and 25 pounds; sometimes the 10 lb listing is replaced by 100 lb. I have made several batches out of this book, always in 5 lb batches (simply by halving the 10 lb listings), and all have been very successful.
For the most part, you won't find anything new-age in here; what you will find are many, many tried-and-true old-world meat preparations. Sausage aside, the sections on curing meats -- including the preparation of various sorts of bacon -- are enthralling and thorough.
I highly recommend this to anyone who's interested in attempting sausage making at home; even if you never use a single recipe from it (though it's highly doubtful any omnivore could page through this without finding at least one intriguing concoction), this is a powerfully educational reading experience.