In 1981 I did a "stage" in a little village called Mionnay, near Lyon, France. The master of classic French cuisine, chef Alain Chapel, presided over a three starred Michelin restaurant. I was there in January 1981 and as was the tradition, the chef had a pork butcher come and make the Lyonnaise style sausages for the year. Since I was an able and willing pair of hands, I was asked to help make the sausages.
The butcher was a stickler for tradition so the meat had to be ground using a hand-crancked grinder. The process involved hand cranking a meat grinder with holes ⅜ inch in diameter followed by a complex method of mixing to insure the blending was correct. Oddly, the curing was done in an attic. Hanging from the rafters, they were allowed to dry out and cure in the cold, dry winter air. The recipe follows and yields some 100 pounds of pre-cured sausage. The quality of the product is paramount.
100 pounds Pork meat, well trimmed and sinew removed, 20 part lean, 7 part fat
6 Garlic cloves, remove germ, crushed
75 gram freshly grounds black pepper
2 Large handfuls of whole black peppercorns
1250 Grams sea salt
1 scant tsp. salt peter
1 Bottle pinot noir
Grind once an a chilled meat grinder with a ⅜ inch holed plate. Grind meat and fat together. Spread out onto a clean work table and add the seasonings. Knead together to mix well. Form into a long oval. take about a gallon of ground meat and knead with the palms of your hands. Turn 180 degrees and knead again. Turn 180 degrees and knead once more. Do this to all the meat. Repeat the entire process 2 more times for a total of 27 mixings. Work in a cold room, 40º F or less.
Soak pork casing in salt and vinegar water for 24 hours. Rinse and squeeze dry. *Wedge the stuffing into a sausage stuffing machine. Turn the casing inside out and blow to open up. Feed onto the stuffing tube. Fill the casing then tie a string along the curve. Tie to the other end of the sausage. Cut off excess casing.
Tie as you would for a beef roast in 3-4 places. Prick with a five pronged sausage pricker and expelled any air bubbles.
Air dry in a cold place overnight. Double check for bubbles and expel any air as described before.
Hang the sausages in a cool, 35-40ºF, well ventilated place to dry and cure for 2-3 months. A cold attic is the tradition. The sausages must not touch each other to allow air circulation. A white mold will develop as part of the curing process. When fully cured, store in specially prepared white ash.
Note that larger casings are wrapped in a net to keep from baking.
*Wedging is tossing a small amount at a time to force out air bubbles. It is borrowed from the potters skill set.