Making my own lap cheong (Chinese dried sausages) had been on the to do list for a very long time. I got some synthetic sausage skin for a while starring at me everytime I opened the cupboard. I finally plucked up the courage and made some. I had avoided making them because I was too scared to poison myself. Having made my own bacon (not Chinese) for a while now I have more confidence to venture into other cured meats.
I don't have a sausage stuffing machine, so my stuffing method was very primitive with just a standard funnel and a stick as a plunger. Stuffing machine can be expensive, I don't want to buy one without the confidence to make more again.
I like lap cheong with tiny chunks of fat and meat bind together. Hand cut meat lap cheong 切肉蠟腸 are more expensive in the Far East and taste better IMO. So I hand diced the meat very fine. Coarse mincing will be my second choice if I want to save time. Avoid using store bought minced (ground) pork because they can be contaminated during processing and sitting on the shelf for hours or even days.
I have been toying with either drying the sausages in the oven for few days at low temperature or natural air drying. To turn the fan oven for days can have consequences: 1. It can cost a bit on the electric bill and 2. With the oven operating at low temperature for such a long time may damage it and this is not the expense I would envisage. So in the end I decided to risk it and dry the sausages naturally in ventilated area. I took them outdoor during the day when the weather is dry and airy. At night I hung them in my kitchen next to an open window.
I think the addition of cure salt is essential. Cure salt helps the meat to cure properly and avoid the danger of contamination and causing botulism. I bought this cure salt from US so the concentration is to US standard. Do measure cure salt accurately.
For the ingredients and recipe:
400 - 500g pork fat
1.25 kg lean shoulder pork (can also use leg meat)
1/2 cup light soy
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup Chinese rose wine (mei kwei lu) or Shaoshing wine
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp 5 spice powder
5g #2 cure salt (#2 Prague powder)
sausage skin (natural or synthetic)
Other tools I used:
funnel and stick for stuffing the sausage
needle to prick the sausages to release trapped air
scissors to cut the skin and string
some cotton or butcher strings for tying the sausages
wire cloth hanger to hang and dry the sausages.
- Coarsely ground or finely chopped the pork fat and lean meat. I hand chopped (very finely diced) the meat you can use a mincer machine.
- Then thoroughly mix the pork with the seasoning mix, best use hand you can wear gloves if you want. Put the meat in the fridge overnight.
- Then stuff into sausages. I used a thin 21cm synthetic skin. I used a funnel and a wooden stick as plunger. Took me sometime. The sausages are in pairs and tied with a string in the centre.
- Hang the sausages. I used a wire cloth hanger which worked really well.
- Leave to dry in an airy place to dry. I had left it dry outdoor during the day and brought back and hang in the kitchen at night.
Review so far:
- So far the sausages have been drying really well. No sign of spoilage at all. The smell was lovely and strong with the marinade day 1 and 2. After day 3 -4 the sausages had shrivelled and dried quite a lot and smell had diminished.
- The colour of the sausages are reddish with speckles of white fat meat. 'They look great like the real thing.
- I reckon they will need 1 week drying time before ready to eat.
- I am hooked. If I am still alive after eating these sausages will definitely make some more. To save time and effort, I have ordered some sausages stuffing attachments to use with my meat mincer, Can't wait to make more.
- I find synthetic skin easy to split will get some natural skin next time.
- The sausages after drying for 4 days looked thinner than I expected using a 21mm wide skin. Will use a thicker (wider) skin next time.
I can't wait to taste these sausages. If you don't hear from me after 2 weeks or so, you know I had poisoned myself. Keep my fingers and my toes :) crossed, I don't want to end up in the hospital.
I have also made a batch of lap yuk (Chinese dried bacon), it has only been drying for 2 days, too early to post will keep you posted.
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