I have been in Cochrane for about a month and a half now.  I had only planned to be here for one month, but several things, which I won’t bother going into here, came up and down and around the corner.  I have actually been quite enjoying myself.  My parents have been very patient with me as I attempt to raise money to buy a ticket to Hanoi.

I am going to fly to Hanoi on my sausage.  Today I took some big first steps toward my absurd goal; I processed twenty pounds of pork, which I have since turned into several things, one of which is sausage.  This blog will walk you through the process step by step, should you ever want to make your own sausage.  I find it both meditative and rewarding: you might too!

***I highly recommend that you listen to Chance the Rapper through this entire process.  I have included a link to his wonderful mixtape, Acid Rap, at the bottom of this post.***

Safeway was having a sale on Pork Shoulder picnics this week, so I purchased three of them.  I always ask the butcher for a whole, cryovac-wrapped shoulder– that way, I know that the meat has been touched by one less person prior to processing.  The shoulders look like this, and come to about $15 a piece.  Shoulder butts are preferable, but if you add a bit of extra fat to the mix, picnics work too.


You will notice that these shoulders still have the skin attached, but it is easy to peel off.  My parents have a dog named Rosie, and I think she will be quite happy to devour these skins as I have been baking them for the past couple hours.  Unlike the store bought treats, these treats are low in sodium which is good because Rosie has high blood (hound) pressure.

Pork Rinds.jpg

By virtue of being shoulders, this cut also has an embedded ‘mutha-fuckin’ bone!’.  The bone is really easy to remove, however, provided you have a sharp knife.  Since we are making sausage, we don’t have to make the meat look pretty: just hack away at that shoulder– the more meat that is left on the bone, the better the broth.  Yahoo!  We have now divided these shoulders into their three essential components: skin, flesh, and bone.  How primal!

To Make Pork Rinds:

  1. Lightly salt the ‘inside’ of the skin.
  2. Place on a Parchment-Paper-Covered baking sheet.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 325 F.
  4. Put in the oven for one to two hours.
  5. Let cool.
  6. Share that shit with the dawg!

To Make Sausage:

  1. Put pork through the grinder TWICE (it is very important that you do this twice for the right consistency).
  2. Add fat (bacon or side pork also works very well)
  3. Add Salt and spices (if you think I am gonna give you Cowboy Sausage’s world famous recipes, YOU ARE OUT OF YOUR MIND! 🙂
  4. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Put into casings.
  6. Allow to sit (hang, if possible) over night to allow the spices to absorb into the meat. (VERY IMPORTANT)
  7. If you are smoking the sausage as I am, you can now put the sausages in the smoker, otherwise, just cook ’em up!

To Make Pho:

  1. Put the pork bones in a cast iron frying pan with a bit of avocado oil and brown them.
  2. When the bones are beginning to blacken, put them in a larger pot with eight cups of water.
  3. Add the following and simmer for as long as possible:
    1. 1 Medium onion, peeled, halved, through the root end.
    2. 2 chiles de arbol
    3. 2 Garlic Cloves crushed
    4. 1 Cinnamon Stick
    5. 2 Star anise pods
    6. 1 Tsp fennel seeds
    7. 1 1″ piece of Ginger, peeled and crushed
    8. 2 Tsp of avocado oil


A lot of people don’t know this, but Pho is often eaten for breakfast in Vietnam.  I allow this broth to simmer overnight, and then strain in the morning.  I then add all kinds of fun stuff (the more cartalidge, the better as far as I am concerned), along with thinly sliced beef hip, bean sprouts, lime, basil, jalapenos, rice noodles, etc.  ENJOY!

I hope you enjoy these recipes.  I am now off to process two white tail deer.  Stay tuned for those recipes tomorrow!


Nick (Ding Dong)