Are you a fan of country-style sausage? Have you ever tried air-dried sausage?
If not, you’re missing out on a delicious and unique flavor experience. Air-dried sausage is a regional delicacy that’s been enjoyed for generations in certain parts of the United States.
It’s made like other country sausage, but instead of being smoked, it’s air-dried to preserve it. This means it doesn’t need to be refrigerated in the same way as other sausages.
In this article, we’ll explore how to cook air-dried country sausage and share some tips on how to make it at home. So, get ready to tantalize your taste buds with this savory treat!
How To Cook Air Dried Country Sausage?
Cooking air-dried country sausage is easy and can be done in a few different ways. One option is to boil it in lightly boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes until it’s well cooked. Alternatively, you can fry or grill the sausage until all sides are golden brown.
When cooking air-dried sausage, it’s important to ensure that it’s cooked thoroughly to avoid any risk of foodborne illness. So, make sure to check that the sausage is fully cooked before serving.
What Is Air-Dried Country Sausage?
Air-dried country sausage is a type of sausage that is made from coarsely chopped pork meat and fat. It is seasoned with garlic, paprika, and other spices before being stuffed into natural casings. The sausage is then allowed to ferment, which is essential to ensure that it does not spoil. After fermentation, the sausage is air-dried for several weeks to develop its flavor.
Unlike other types of sausage, air-dried country sausage is not smoked and does not need to be kept refrigerated in the same way. Instead, the sausage is preserved either by adding salt, which removes moisture that bacteria are fond of, or by adding nitrates, which prevent the worst kinds of bacteria from growing.
Commercial meat processors are required by law to keep air-dried sausage refrigerated during the beginning of its aging. However, many backyard sausage makers do not bother and instead safely continue the aging process in the open air as long as they hang the links in a cool, dry spot. Most connoisseurs believe that the sausage gets better with age, so the longer it air dries, the better.
Air-dried country sausage is a regional delicacy found in eastern North Carolina and can be purchased at most retail grocery markets in that area. It is also possible to make it at home using a meat grinder and following proper food safety guidelines.
The Benefits Of Air-Dried Country Sausage
Air-dried country sausage is a delicious and unique type of sausage that has a number of benefits. First and foremost, it has a distinct flavor that comes from the fact that it’s air-dried rather than smoked. This gives it a subtle smoky flavor that’s not overpowering, as well as a tender texture due to the air pockets left by the coarse grind.
Another benefit of air-dried country sausage is that it can be stored at room temperature without the need for refrigeration. This makes it a great option for camping trips or other outdoor excursions where refrigeration may not be available.
Additionally, air-dried sausage is often made with natural ingredients and without preservatives, making it a healthier option than many other types of sausage. It’s also a great source of protein, making it a filling and satisfying addition to any meal.
Finally, air-dried sausage can be aged for extended periods of time, which allows it to develop even more complex flavors. This makes it a perfect option for those who enjoy experimenting with different flavors and textures in their food.
Tips For Making Air-Dried Country Sausage At Home
Making air-dried country sausage at home can be a fun and rewarding process. Here are some tips to ensure that your homemade sausage turns out delicious:
1. Choose the right meat: Use fresh, high-quality meat that is free from any signs of spoilage or discoloration. Pork is the most commonly used meat for air-dried sausage, but you can also use beef or a combination of meats.
2. Keep the meat cold: It’s important to keep the meat cold throughout the grinding and mixing process to prevent bacteria growth. You can even chill your grinder and mixing bowl in the freezer before use.
3. Add the right amount of fat: A good rule of thumb is to use around 20% fat in your sausage mixture to add flavor and moisture. Too little fat can result in dry and tough sausage, while too much fat can cause the sausage to spoil more quickly.
4. Use curing salts: Curing salts are essential when making air-dried sausage as they help prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Follow the instructions carefully when adding curing salts to your mixture.
5. Choose your seasonings: Experiment with different seasonings to find your preferred flavor profile. Common seasonings for air-dried country sausage include salt, pepper, paprika, garlic, and fennel.
6. Stuff the sausage: Once you’ve mixed your ingredients, it’s time to stuff the sausage into casings. You can use natural casings like hog or sheep intestine or synthetic casings made from collagen.
7. Hang to dry: Hang your sausage in a cool, dry place with good air circulation. It’s important to monitor the temperature and humidity levels during the drying process to prevent spoilage.
By following these tips, you can make delicious air-dried country sausage at home that rivals any store-bought variety. Enjoy!
Serving Suggestions For Air-Dried Country Sausage
Air-dried country sausage is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. Here are some serving suggestions to help you make the most of this delicious sausage:
1. Breakfast: Air-dried country sausage is a great addition to any breakfast dish. Fry it up and serve it alongside eggs, toast, and hash browns for a hearty breakfast.
2. Charcuterie board: Air-dried country sausage is perfect for a charcuterie board. Slice it thinly and serve it alongside other cured meats, cheeses, and crackers.
3. Pasta dishes: Add air-dried country sausage to your favorite pasta dish for an extra burst of flavor. It pairs well with tomato-based sauces and creamy sauces alike.
4. Pizza topping: Slice up air-dried country sausage and use it as a pizza topping. It adds a savory, meaty flavor that complements the other toppings perfectly.
5. Sandwiches: Use air-dried country sausage as a sandwich filling. It pairs well with cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mustard or mayonnaise.
No matter how you serve it, air-dried country sausage is sure to add a delicious flavor to any dish.