Meal prepping doesn’t always mean making a thousand frozen breakfast burritos and take-to-work lunches. Sometimes, meal prepping can include vacuum sealing your favorite chicken recipe in a bag to freeze for convenient worknight dinners. Lately, I have been packaging dinner size portions of my favorite meals in bulk amounts and freezing them for later use. I have also been using my power cooker to can salsas, sauces, and jams to preserve the massive amounts of fruits and veggies I am getting delivered from the farmers market faster than I can eat. I can then heat them up easily on busy weeknights for dinner. While it is essentially reinventing the wheel, as most of these things are already conveniently pre-packaged at the grocery store, my wheels are healthier, free from fillers, and uses better quality ingredients.
This past weekend, with the extra time on my hands due to teleworking and quarantine, I decided to make my own beer brats using the recipe I got here, doubling the recipe to make several batches. All I needed was a giant chunk of pork shoulder, a bunch of veal, some seasonings, beer, and hog casing. Most of this was easily available from the grocery store, but I had to go downtown to a local butcher shop for the hog casing. I threw in some extra jalapenos and shredded cheddar cheese I had that needed to be used and hung the results on my pan hooks to dry. Once they were dry, I vacuum sealed them up in dinner size portions, dropped one portion into the Sous Vide for dinner, and froze the rest.
How I F*d Up:
There really wasn’t much of a f* up with this one. If anything, the cheese (considering I just threw in half a bag of shredded cheddar I had in my fridge) was completely undetectable, with the only effect being that I upped the calorie count. However, even without tasting the cheese, the brats came out amazing, and should freeze and cook well later.
Suggestions For Improvement:
While there was a few areas of improvement, as there always is, the results, came out delicious, considering I didn’t know what I was doing and was just following instructions I googled. I ended up finding out there is so much to sausage making that classes are offered on the subject, including specific protein to fat ratios and special cheeses to withstand the temperatures. If I’m going to continue making sausages, I may look into one of these classes one day.
I did not buy enough casing for all of the stuffing. I doubled the amounts of ingredients, including the length of hog casing, but it still wasn’t enough and I was left with a lot of extra stuffing. I ended up vacuum sealing a bag of just stuffing and will now have to go back to the butcher shop for more casing and go through the stuffing process over again. I’m pretty sure the casing can be stored and used later, if too much is bought, so it’s better to have a bit extra than to have not nearly enough and have to go back for more.
If cheese is going to be added to sausage, make sure to get the right kind of cheese that won’t melt away and disappear completely, or just don’t bother with the cheese.