And now we begin the process:
John soaks the casing for thirty seconds.
The wet casing is then placed over the stuffing tube,
gripping it firmly while stepping on the pedal to begin the stuffing process.
As the stuffing comes out, the sausage is held firmly so as to avoid any loose areas or air pockets.
The stuffing is halted when the sausage reaches a length of about two feet.
Frank Piazza throws the extra meat at the end of the sausage into a bin
in order to secure the end with a tie.
A student assists in tying the end, affixing a label tag in the process.
A link is created in the middle of the log using a plastic tie.
Holes are punched into the sausage with a punching tool.
Holes are created all over the sausage to ensure adequate drying during the aging process.
(See enlarged picture by clicking on the image.)
A student helps hang the sausage to begin the dry curing process.
They are arranged in rows alongside oak barrels used for wine.
The sopressata are cured for a period of 3-4 weeks, or until 30% of its weight has evaporated.
After that period, they may either be consumed or stored in vacuum-sealed bags for later consumption.
We had some after the class before a lunch of whole roasted pig.
On the left are the hot sausages, and on the right the garlic sausages,
sliced thinly as curing has created a very tough consistency.
Read here for the Whole Roasted Pig (coming soon)