Tom PapoutsisTom Papoutsis is a “Firehouse Chef” that currently holds the rank of Lieutenant with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. Tom’s experience in the Fire Service spans over 29 years, 19 of which have been with Fairfax County. The bulk of his firehouse culinary expertise has been practiced during his tenure there. He was a national finalist in the 2004 Tabasco Cook & Ladder Competition finishing in the top 10 of the nations Firehouse Chef’s, and traveled to New York City to compete in a cook off with his peers. He has also been placed on the “charity” auction block several times to prepare meals for the highest bidder. Tom likes to specialize in Italian and Greek cuisine being of the same heritage, but also enjoys preparing Asian and of course “Good Ole American” foods as well. He concentrates on entrées but also has a few hors d’oeuvres and dessert specialties as well, such as his versions of Bruschetta and Amaretto Cheesecake. For the past year he has been studying the practice of making homemade Italian deli meats and sausages. Tom’s motto: “It’s just cooking, not rocket science, take a chance…..you might like it!” Residing in Chambersburg, PA with his wife JoAnn, twins Jonathan & Katie and “Buddy” their Golden Retriever. Tom enjoys cycling, hunting, fishing, woodworking, raising his children and helping form today’s youth while volunteering with son Jonathan’s Cub Scout pack. Tom can be reached via e-mail at [email protected]
Okay, Lieutenant Tom Papoutsis, we are back, Mclean, Virginia, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. We are making homemade Italian sausage today. Now, weve already trimmed our meat, weve got it ready to go. Next step, we grind it. This is pretty easy, but the key to it is, is we dont want to grind it too fast. Let the machine do the work. There is a certain bit of gristle in here that will get caught in the blades. If that happens, we are going to show you how to clear your blades, and start all over again. But typically, whats going to happen is, if you do it nice and slow, and you dont force the meat through, its going to do very well for us, okay. So what I am going to do, I am going to start out -- I am going to turn my machine on at about a medium setting. This is -- actually goes two, four, six, eight, ten. So, we are going to go to about number four, okay? Then what I am going to do is, I am just going to start dropping this in, and we drop that meat in, give it a little push, with our pusher, and youll feel it actually go down, and its going to start coming out the other end. There we go, okay, and thats all we are doing. Now, in a matter of a couple of minutes, you can run quite a bit of product through here. It does a very good job, and like I said, we are using a coarse grind right now. The reason we are going to do the coarse grind is, is the coarse grind is very good to start with. Dont try to go -- if you are going to grind meat, and you are going to go fine, dont try to do it all in one shot; do a coarse grind, then go to a fine grind, and it will actually go a little bit faster, a little bit quicker for you. But you can see how well this thing is just eating this meat, it does a fantastic job. This attachment is about a $50 attachment for this machine. Pretty much so, if you paid over $50, you paid too much, but try to -- if you have decided you want to go out and get one, its a fantastic thing. You can do a lot of stuff with it, and we are also going to use this to do the sausage stuffing, because we have the cones. But you can see how our product is coming out here. Now, weve got a little bit of resistance here, so I am just going to kind of hold this down, and let's see what happens here. We are just kind of -- there it goes, okay? So, it just takes a little bit. Sometimes, a piece doesnt want to feed quite right or something, so all we are going to do is just take our time and feed it in nice and easy, one piece at a time. Dont try to drop it in too far or too fast. As I was saying, as far as the coarse grind is concerned, we are going to take this coarse ground meat, we are going to mix all of our spices in it, and then, once we are done with that, we are going to come back and we are going to do a fine grind with the spices in it, because weve got to hand mix all these slices, and once they are all done -- and I think we are done here, weve got a little bit coming out -- thats about it, okay. So, I am just going to take my finger and just clear that, and thats it. Here we have all of our ground meat, its ready to go. All we have to do now is add our spices, and thats it. We spice it, we put the other plate on, we regrind it, and we are going to start stuffing the sausage.