HOW TO BE A BOERIE BOSS
If you love eating boerewors and you’re keen on cooking and you know how to braai boerewors, we bet you’ve thought about making your own boerewors. Well, my fellow meat enthusiasts, it’s not nearly as daunting as you might think. With enthusiasm and the right equipment, you’re halfway to making boerewors! Let us teach you how to make your own boerewors sausage.
- THE MEAT
You can opt for one kind of boerewors meat or mix things up. A mix of beef, pork and lamb work well in a ratio of roughly thirds, but it’s up to you. The main thing to ensure is that you have enough fat in the meat to keep it juicy while it cooks, otherwise your boerewors can dry out. And remember, fat equals flavour! So, if you prefer the flavour of lamb fat over beef, for example, then you should choose a nice fatty cut of lamb (think neck or any cut close to the tail-end) and opt for a leaner beef cut. Alternatively, you could add rindless pork belly or beef fat to increase the fat content. You want a ratio of roughly 80% meat to 20% fat. Depending on your grinder’s feeding slot, cut your meat into suitable size chunks and refrigerate it.
- BOEREWORS SPICE RECIPE
Boerewors is famous for its strong, fragrant coriander flavour, and that comes from dried and ground coriander seed, not the leafy green stuff! I would strongly suggest you roast your own coriander seeds in a dry pan to bring out the flavour, and then grind the seeds yourself. I like to grind half the seeds to a fine powder and leave the other half a little course for texture.
The other players in the spice game are black pepper, salt and, often, nutmeg and cloves. If you like a bit of garlic, you could add some garlic powder, but I believe fresh adds better flavour. Herbs like thyme and rosemary also work well.
Something you need to decide before you grind your meat is whether you would like to spice it beforehand and let it marinate in the spices for a while. Adding the spices after grinding means getting your hands a little dirty and you also run the risk of overworking your meat and making it too compact.
Pro tip: Once you have spiced your meat, whether before or after griding it, you should fry a small patty of it in a pan and taste your seasoning. Once it’s in the boerewors casing, there’s no way to adjust the flavour of the meat (except, perhaps, with copious amounts of All Gold Tomato Sauce and Mrs Ball’s Chutney!).
There are various grinder options available for making sausages at home. The old school, hand-cranked cast-iron grinders that you screw onto your countertop always work well, and they’re pretty inexpensive too. If you have two right hands like me, you might want to invest in a grinder and sausage funnel attachment for your food processor. It’s also worthwhile having more than one size grinding plate so that you can play with how coarsely you would like to grind your meat. I like mine rather coarse; it gives the meat more texture and that’s what you are after with boerewors. Too fine of a grind will give you the texture of English pork sausages, and that’s not what you’re after here.
It’s essential that the meat be very well chilled before it’s minced, otherwise it may get stuck in the grinder and even become a little mushy. Be sure to refrigerate everything for at least three to four hours before you commence the grind.
There are two types of sausage casing: natural (made from animal products) or synthetic. The natural type has a much better texture once it’s cooked, so opt for this variety. Casings are generally sold based on their diameter: sheep casings are around 2-3cm in diameter and pork castings are 3-4cm. So, decide if you want thick or thin wors and buy your casings accordingly.
Once you have got your casings, you need to soak them in warm water to soften them for an hour or two. Next, you need to rinse them at least twice: place the open end of each casing over a tap and rinse some water through, running your fingers along the casing to force the water out and rinse them thoroughly.
Fix your stuffing funnel onto your machine and thread your casing onto the funnel. Place an open end onto the funnel and keep threading until you get to the other end. Leave a 10cm overhang of casing at the end and begin feeding in the meat, gently supporting the stuffed end as it fills. The casing should not be overstuffed. It should give slightly when you press on it – in other words, your finger should leave an indentation. Continue in this way until you have used up all your meat. Any leftover casings can be lightly salted, placed in a plastic bag, and frozen until needed.
Roll your boerewors into side plate-sized coils and either cook or freeze them until needed.
BASIC BOEREWORS RECIPE
Makes 4 to 5 coils of boerewors
1 kg beef chuck steak
1 kg pork shoulder
1 kg lamb neck
500g pork spek (pork fat)
2 Tbsp (30ml) good quality salt
Good grinding of black pepper
4 Tbsp (60ml) coriander seeds (toasted with half ground into powder, half coarsely ground)
A grating of nutmeg (about ½ tsp)
Pinch of cloves
4-5 fat cloves of garlic, finely chopped
½ cup (125ml) red wine vinegar
- Cut the meat and fat into sizable chunks that will fit into the feeding slot of your meat grinder.
- Toss the meat with all the spices and vinegar and place in the fridge to marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Grind the meat and stuff the sausages as explained above.
To see the best way to cook boerewors, check out this blog post for tips on how to cook boerie like a pro!