One of the first things that South African expats look for in a foreign country, is boerewors. You know... that yummy South African sausage that everyone likes to braai on a Sunday (or a Tuesday, or a Friday...)
The problem is... the USA isn't like South Africa where you can go to the grocery store and buy boerewors. You either have to buy it online or you have to learn how to make boerewors yourself.
While it is convenient, buying boerewors can be a hit or a miss. This is why some people choose to learn how to make boerewors themselves.
Luckily, it isn't rocket-science. Here's how to make boerewors yourself...
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What You Need To Make Boerewors
You will need a few items to make boerewors. Here's a list:
- Meat: We use a beef/pork mix of 75% beef and 25% pork. For the beef, we use trimmed brisket because it already contains a good amount of fat. You need about 10 - 15% fat in your meat mix.
- Casing: You can buy casing online [link to Amazon.com], or in the meat section of many grocery stores, or at a meat market. Here in Central Texas, we buy hog casing at HEB. One packet makes about 20 lbs of boerewors.
- Spices: Some people buy boerewors spices online [link to Amazon.com] and others use a boerewors recipe that they adjust for taste as they go along.
- Meat Grinder with Sausage Stuffer: When we started out, we used a $100 meat grinder with a sausage stuffer attachment. It worked fine, but was quite slow. Then we bought this meat grinder [link to Amazon.com] and it changed our world!
- Cutting board & knife: You're going to need to cut your meat into cubes.
- Large plastic tub: You'll need a large plastic tub [link to Amazon.com] (or two) to mix your meat cubes with the spices and to hold your ground meat before stuffing.
Hint: Make sure your grinder has a 6 mm (1/4 inch) cutting plate [link to Amazon.com]. It gives the correct coarseness to your ground meat.
Preparing The Boerewors Meat
In a nutshell, to prepare the meat, you'll cut the meat into cubes, mix in the spices, and grind the meat. Here are the details:
- Cut all the beef into 1.5 - 2 inch cubes.
- Since you'll have less pork and want nice distribution, cut the pork into slightly smaller cubes, let's say 1 - 1.5 inch cubes.
- Mix all the beef and pork in your plastic tub.
- Add the spices to the meat and mix thoroughly. (I usually spread about 1/4 of the spices over all the meat, mix, and repeat.) Our method also uses malt vinegar and water, which I add at this point as well.
- Grind all the meat. Remember to use your 6 mm (1/4 inch) cutting blade. (If you use a 10 mm cutting blade you'll have to grind twice. If you use a 4 mm cutting blade, your ground meat may be too fine.)
Preparing The Casing
Natural sausage casing, like the hog casing we use, comes packed in salt. So you have to prepare the casing before stuffing:
- Remove the casing from the package and rinse under running water. Also run the water through the casing.
- Put warm water (not hot) in a bowl. Add a little white vinegar to the water. About 1 tablespoon is enough. The vinegar softens the casing and helps to give it that little "crisp" on the braai. (Thanks to my friend, Ron Hetzler, for that tip.)
- Put the casing in the water for approximately 45 minutes before stuffing.
Stuffing - Making The Boerewors
You are now ready to make your boerewors, that is, stuffing the meat into the casing.
Hint: Up to this point, one person could do it all, but with the stuffing, it's easier to have two people... one person to feed the meat into the stuffer and one person to control the flow of the casing off the stuffer pipe. You don't want to over-stuff the casing, or the sausage will burst on the braai.
- Set up the sausage stuffer on your grinder. We found the bigger stuffer pipe to work better than the small one.
- Pull one or more of the pieces of casing over the stuffer tube.
- Fill the stuffer with meat, turn it on, and wait for the meat to start pushing out of the stuffer tube.
- As I mentioned earlier, the person who controls the flow of the casing off the tube, has to stay aware of how tight the sausage is being stuffed. You definitely want to avoid over-stuffing it.
Hint: If the sausage appears to be over-stuffed, simply turn off the machine, pull some more casing off the tube, and redistribute the meat in the sausage by squeezing it by hand.
And that's all there is to it. You may feel a little unsure at first, but you'll get the hang of it in two ticks!
Now it's time to head outside and have a nice braai!
Resources From This Article
Please share this article with your friends, and share your boerewors successes with us in the comments below!
where do I get the spices
Hi Bob. Your can buy Ouma’s Boerewors Spices online.
Good instructions, we make our own boerewors using a recipe as well as our own biltong.
Thanks, Ena. That’s great to hear that you’re doing it yourself too. 🙂
You said that you use brisket for the beef portion… what cut of pork do you use? Will be first time trying- thanks!
Hi Nadine. We use pork loin. It’s relatively cheap and works well.
I tried this for the very first time, and it came out very dry. Any idea what I did wrong, and what I should do to make it juicy?
Hi Dave. If it came out very dry, it is likely that you didn’t have enough fat in it. The recommended amount is about 15%. Someone also told me that they add a little oats to the meat before grinding because the oats tends to help retain moisture. You can try that too. The final thing is to watch for is not over-braaiing the wors.
Hi John… Im an avid boerie fan who is trying his hand at making it @ home!!
I use the 1/4 inch grinding plate, but my wors comes out with an almost too fine consistency when eating it, doesnt have that granular wors consistency…any ideas of what I may be doing wrong in the preparation?
I used the Natural hog casings as recommended, and find them a bit thick and tough…any others that you think I should try ?
Thank You for your SA in Austin website…fantastic recipes.
Hi Kurt. How many times do you put the meat through the grinder? If it is more than once, the wors will be too fine. We cut the meat in cubes, spice it, and put it through the grinder. When we stuff it, we remove the 1/4 inch grinding plate and three-bladed cutter, and replace them with a special plate with three big holes for the ground meat to push through. Doing that, for us, the consistency is good. If you’re doing that too, then maybe you should try a 1/3 inch grinding plate.
About the casing, if you can get your hands on lamb casing, I believe it is a thinner casing. You can try your local butcher, or it may be sold on Amazon as well.
The recipe calls for 10 tsp of coriander…is that volume before or after grinding? Thanks I’m advance!