Annual Family Hog Killing + Canning Instructions + Sausage Seasoning Recipe

I am all for eating clean and whole foods.  I love knowing where my beef comes from (down the road), I love picking my own greenbeans grown by my father-in-law, I love frying squash straight from the garden in the back yard and I love our annual family hog killing that provides us with sausage, tenderloin, pork chops and bacon for the whole year.  There's just something about being able to recall exactly where your food is from.

I began to participate in the family hog killing last year where I saw everything...

This year I was lucky enough to be placed in the kitchen next to the canners with my sister-in-law and good friend.  Although I wasn't working next to a pig head this year, standing up for twelve hours straight staring at a pressure gauge can really go to your head.

We stuffed meat into jars, talked about life and made sure the pressure did not go above 10 lbs. for an hour and a half.  Here's the recipe my lovely mother-in-law shared with me for sausage seasoning and how to can sausage, or any meat for that matter:

S A U S A G E   S E A S O N I N G

I N G R E D I E N T S

- 3 Quarts of ground sausage

- 3 tbs. salt

- 1/2 tbs. black pepper

- 1 tbs. red pepper

- 1 tbs sage

S T E P S

Mix all the seasoning ingredients into a bag and begin mixing it into the ground sausage until it's evenly distributed and then freeze the sausage in sewn sacks, or you can it use the following method:

C A N N I N G   I N S T R U C T I O N S

1.  Clean the pint sized jars and their lids.

2.  Pack the sausage, tenderloin or pork chops into the jars leaving about 1.5 inches of empty space at the top. 

3.  Clean off the rim of the jar and screw on the lid.

4.  Clean out your pressure cooker and add 1 quart of water.

5.  Add as many jars as your pressure cooker will fit and turn your heat to high (or 9) and if you're just starting out to can, I would recommend slowly heating up the pressure cooker by raising the heat a couple notches at a time.

6.  Allow the pressure to build until it reaches 10 lbs.

7.  Keep it at 10 lbs. for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

8.  Allow the jar to lower to 0 lbs. of pressure (do not do anything until this reaches 0 lbs) and then open the lid and use your jar grabber to remove the jars from the pressure cooker.

9.  As you allow the jars to cool, you will begin to hear "pop"s and "ping"s that will mean that the jars have fully sealed.

I do want to warn you that you may want to mentally prepare yourself for the long, long hours of standing and waiting on the canner...it's potentially very brutal. To help you deal with this long time period, I recommend you have friends and family come to keep you company!