Making Sausage

Em Good, George Petrich and David Pearlstein with a fresh batch of Link Lab Sausage.

Otto von Bismarck is quoted as saying that "Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made." We would respectfully submit that Bismarck would change his mind if he saw the facility that David Pearlstein has built for his company, Link Lab Artisan Meats.

We spent the day with him a few weeks back and watched how he and his crew make the sausage that is the centerpiece of our latest seasonal, the Link Lab Sausage Primo. We thought we would share a few pictures from the day.

The process starts with breaking down pork shoulders from Tails and Trotters in Portland. Those big hunks of pork shoulder were actually still a bit frozen in the middle. That is good for 3 reasons. First, from a food safety standpoint, the colder, the better. Additionally, the colder the pork fat is, the more it stays together, which results in a juicier, more succulent sausage. And truthfully, it is a lot easier to cut!

After it is cut down into smaller pieces, it is fed, 25 pounds at a time, into the meat grinder. It is very similar to a hand-cranked grinder that you might see, except it is a LOT bigger. In the picture below, Em Good is actually standing on a stool so that she can get the leverage to push the meat into the feeder tube should it become necessary. After each batch of pork is ground, it is returned to the refrigerator to stay as cold as possible before the spices are mixed in. When all of the pork has been ground, the spices are mixed in by hand. The sausage is then loaded into the stuffing machine, which is essentially a big hydraulic press that stuffs the sausage into casings or bags. After that, the bags are vacuumed sealed and packed for shipping to our locations.

George Petrich cuts the pork down to fit into the grinder.

Em Good at the grinder. This machine can grind 150 lbs. of meat in 11 minutes.

EVERY batch mixed by hand.

White wine, brown sugar and spices are added after the initial mix of the dry spices.

Em and George load the sausage into the stuffer. It can hold 50 lbs. of sausage at a time.

Out of the stuffer and into the bag!

The biggest vacuum sealer I’ve ever seen.

Packed and ready to go!

Em Good, George Petrich and David Pearlstein with a fresh batch of Link Lab Sausage.