Portuguese linguica is a sausage open to variation, but it must have garlic, and almost always has both paprika and hot chiles. My version uses oregano and red wine, too. Whether you smoke your sausages is up to you. I like smoked sausages, even if they are only lightly smoked. If you cold-smoke your links below 90°F, you will want to use the Instacure No. 1 I call for in the recipe. It helps keep the sausage safe from evil bacteria. If you hot-smoke your sausage, or don't smoke them at all, you won't need the Instacure.
Course: Cured Meat
Author: Hank Shaw
3 1/2poundspork shoulder or wild boar meat
1 1/2poundspork fat
6gramsInstacure No. 1(optional)
1tablespoondextrose or white sugar
1teaspoonhot paprika or cayenne
1tablespooncrushed black pepper
1/2cupdry milk(optional - it helps the sausage retain moisture while smoking)
3/4cupred wine,preferably a Portuguese wine
Chill the meat and fat until they're almost frozen by putting it in the freezer for an hour or so.
Take out some hog casings -- you'll need about 3 to 4 standard lengths, about 15 feet -- and set in a bowl of very warm water.
Chop meat and fat into chunks that will fit into your grinder. Combine the salt, instacure (if using), sugar, garlic, dry milk and the rest of the spices and mix it into the meat and fat with your hands. Let this rest in the fridge for about an hour. (Optional expert step: Mix the chunks of meat and fat with the salt and curing salt overnight before proceeding. Doing this will give you a better bind on the sausage.)
Grind through your meat grinder using the coarse die, about 6.5 mm or so. If your room is warmer than 69°F, set the bowl for the ground meat into another bowl of ice to keep it cold. Put the mixture back in the freezer while you clean up.
Add the wine to the meat mix, then mix thoroughly either using a Kitchenaid on low for 60-90 seconds or with your (very clean) hands. This is important to get the sausage to bind properly. Once it is mixed well, put it back in the fridge while you clean up again.
Stuff the sausage into the casings. Do whole coils before making links. Twist off links by pinching the sausage down and twisting it, first in one direction, and then with the next link, the other direction. Or you could tie them off with butcher’s string.
Hang the sausages in a cool place. If it is warm out or if you are smoking your links, hang for one hour. If you have a place where the temperature will not go higher than 38°F, you can hang them as long as overnight.
If you are smoking your sausages, get your smoker going while the sausages hang. Smoke the links for at least 3 hours, and as many as 12. I prefer a lighter smoke, so you can still taste the pork and spices. I prefer oak, but hickory, maple, pecan or a fruit wood would also work.
Once the sausages have dried and/or smoked, put them the fridge until needed. If you are freezing the sausages, wait a day before doing so. This will tighten up the sausages and help them keep their shape in the deep-freeze.
These sausages will keep for about 5 days in the fridge, and, if well sealed, will keep in the freezer a year.