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Stuffing the casing was done through the use of an Enterprise sausage stuffer and lard press. A removable perforated liner allowed the "cracklins," or cooked lard-meat, to be pressed into thick cakes and the lard caught in lard cans. With the liner removed, the machine became a sausage stuffer. This patented screw press had a corrugated spout on the bottom, on which the cleaned casings were slipped; as many as could be crowded onto its six-inch length.
Then the press was filled with the finished and seasoned sausage. A flat lid was pushed by turning a crank and winding down the screw. This forced the sausage out of the spout, and by holding the end of the casing closed, it would fill up and pack the stuffing into two- or three-foot strings of inch-thick sausages.
When all the casings had been filled, the rest of the sausage was made into patties and fried down. The cooked patties were then packed into gallon-size stone jars and covered with the hot lard. Such containers kept very well for eating later on during the winter.
The stuffed sausages were hung on hooks in the smoke house and cured by the heat and smoke for several days over a slow-smoking fire of hickory chips, until they achieved a brown, crinkly texture. Sausage cured this way would also keep well until used. Some of the stuffed links were cut down into pieces, fried down and stored under fresh lard like the patties.
My remembrances of a farm breakfast include some of that home-made stuffed sausage, a pair of farm-fresh barnyard eggs fried in the sausage grease until the edges were brown, with a heap of pan-fried potatoes, all washed down by several steaming mugs of hot Peaberry coffee. Yum, yum good! Now that is livin'! FC
The late Perry Piper was a newspaper columnist in Indiana and Illinois for more than 12 years. His columns, reprinted here from his memoirs, appear in Farm Collector with the permission of his family.
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