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Curator's Corner

How sausage got stuffed
Sausage filler as catalogued at the museum

With summer coming to an end, we all reminisce about things we will miss during the long winter months. We will miss the warm days, swimming at the pool and, of course, the BBQs. The great thing about BBQs is that you can grill and cook anything. One BBQ staple is the sausage, hot dogs, or wieners, as some might call them. 

Sausages are ground meat seasoned with a variety of spices that get packed into a cylindrical skin casing. There are many different types and flavours of sausages. Some specific types in most grocery stores include Bratwurst, Italian, and Kielbasa. In the modern era, meat is not the only filling for these wieners. Vegetarian, Vegan, and Plant-Based substitutes are now appearing on grocery shelves across the nation. 

No matter what you call them, these foods are something that is a must-have for the summer. Usually, most people go to their supermarkets to satisfy their sausage cravings. Making sausages from scratch is not a common occurrence in most homes.

Sausage meat is easy to make as you grind up your favourite meat and mix it with some spices, and there you go. Casings for sausages, though, are not made by human hands. These casings, also known as skins, were made from animal intestines (the common material) or skin (hence the name). Typically, these would be from pigs, cows, and sheep.

In the 20th century, though, artificial casings came into the market and were made from collagen, cellulose, and even plastic. Collagen is the most common and comes from the bones, hides, and tendons of animals. These are artificial casings as they have to be processed and shaped.

The shape of the intestines makes them easy to fill. When you had your cases prepared and the filling made, you needed a device to fill them. Original devices looked like this one, where you would have the filling inside and push the wood part in. They squeezed it out of the funnel, which is where you would place the casing. Modern devices help us with grinding, filling, and sealing sausages making it easier than ever to make homemade sausages.

Why aren’t people making their own though? It might be a lack of experience and confidence in making this dish. Fear of dealing with the mess and dealing with animal intestines. People may also like the convenience of having their sausages pre-made at their local grocery stores. Whatever the case, people love their sausages at any time of the year.      


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