As time goes by, sausage makers and sausages are getting dumber and worserer. By that, I mean more finely ground, leaner, and blander. Not to mention the fact that synthetic casings are even becoming more widespread. Take the classic Czech-German Central Texas style of sausage, the “hot gut” that you used to find everywhere, especially at local barbecue joints. Back in the day, any respectable BBQ joint made and smoked their own sausages. It was a way to use up meat trimmings and trimmed fat, and make a product that could add to the bottom line, that anyone could afford. Now, most joints purchase pre-made sausages. Takes too long to make them, they complain; can’t afford the man hours, they moan; I can buy sausage as good as I can make, they unjustly justify.
The meat itself has become homogeneous, culled from these blasted modern breeds that have had all of the flavor (and much of the flavorful fat) bred right out of them. Wake up people! There wouldn’t be a big movement to bring back the old heritage breeds if they didn’t taste better. This was all the result of greedy meat moguls getting a bunch of soul less egghead animal scientists to invent pigs and cows that took less time to mature while eating less food. This path gone wrong is all about money, not taste. You might as well be eating Soylent Green!
What we get now, even from the two esteemed sausage makers in Elgin, is a pale shadow of what you used to be able to buy. With sausages everywhere, the grind of the meat has gotten finer. When you have a coarsely-ground sausage, the meat usually tends to be from better cuts; it’s easier to camouflage lesser quality cuts of meat when it’s more finely ground. Line up three smoked sausages, and my money is on people choosing the one with the coarsest grind as their favorite. Every time.
The fat content of today’s sausage has definitely gone way down, with sausage makers snubbing their nose at the old adage: “fat means flavor”. They are trying to get politically correct with something as sacred as sausage, figuring that going lean is somehow healthier and that it will boost sales. Here’s a clue to the misinformed: someone eating a sausage isn’t worried about their health…they want good flavor, above all else. Eating a sausage is, or should be, a religious experience, not a protein source meant only to curb hunger. Lastly, today’s sausages have gotten too freakin’ bland. Reduced, subtracted, and downright gone is the garlic, the black pepper, and the cayenne that used to grace our precious Centex “hot gut” smoked sausage.
Hopefully, if enough people start bitching about it, we can revert back to the old ways, and sausage, real sausage, can be saved. We need to start by making sausage from good heritage breed meat. We need to get rid of all of the grinding plates with the smallest holes. We need to add more fat, and more spice, and smoke them longer. And we need to insist on getting what we deserve.
Mick Vann ©