The confit issue ended up being moot -- I hot-smoked the legs and served them with a (vaguely) Thai-ish dipping sauce. Now I've got a cup or two of duck fat for next time.
The stuffer and grinder came last weekend, but I had to wait until this weekend to use them. Today we made boerewors (strange that this traditional South African sausage hasn't been mentioned here yet: 4lb beef, 1lb beef fat, 40g salt, 40g ground toasted coriander seed, 15g black pepper) and mergeuz out of the book (subbing in plain-old sweet paprika, crappy pre-minced garlic, and kosher wine that smells like it was made from Manischewitz; I also left out the water by accident). We stuffed the whole lot in kosher collagen casings ($1 a foot -- outrageous!).
Edit: I used 1/4 lamb fat and 3/4 beef fat in the merguez -- it's a nice mix, and I think balances the lamb flavor pretty nicely. I love lamb, though, so that could go either way.
Sadly, there are no pictures of the process.
I see three problems with the process. First, I didn't account for the cashering (salting and draining) of the beef and lamb, so everything came out a little bit oversalted. It's not too bad, but it's definitely on the salty side. (Leaving the water out of the mergeuz definitely didn't help.) Second, I wasn't particularly rigorous when cutting out the sinew and connective tissue from the beef (we used "cholent meat", I have no idea what cut, maybe shin), so there are (sparse) bits of gristle in the boerewors. I also ground it on the medium die, so maybe the smaller die would have helped. The other problem was linking. Bits of meat get squeezed into the parts I twist. When I cut off a link to test it (purely scientific, no personal investment or anything), the twist didn't "set" and the sausage cooked with loose ends. I've seen kosher sausage do this before, so it may be a collagen thing. Anyone else have any experience with collagen casings, or general linking tips?
All in all, it was a great experience. My father tried sausage for the first time and, surprise surprise, he likes it. (Well, at least the first time he'll admit. He may have been harboring an illicit longing for sausage ever since he started keeping kosher.) Kashrut has me at the end of my rope: twenty days and counting until I can start making bacon!
Edited by michael_g, 12 August 2007 - 05:21 PM.