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]
Lieutenant Tom Papoutsis: Hi! I am Lieutenant Tom Papoutsis, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue.
We are here today to make homemade Italian sausage. Before, we had done some chilli, right now, we are going to do this homemade Italian sausage, we are back at Fire Station 1 in McLean, Virginia, and we are going to start out by introducing, what we are going to need to do this.
First of, some of the tools we are going to need, you are going to need a good mixer that we can actually add attachments to. You might have one of these things hanging around the house, and possibly might just use it every once in a while to maybe make some bread, or mix something. A lot of people dont really know exactly what you can do with this. We are going to go over that today.
We have a meat grinder attachment that we are going to put on, we are actually going to grind the meat, we also have our sausage stuffing cones that we are going to use, natural casings that we are going to stuff our sausage in natural casings.
So, on the bigger end of the scale, this is what we are going to use. As far as the ingredients we are going to use, the meat we are going to use is actually this is whats known as a pork butt, or a portion of a pork butt. A pork butt, as it sounds does not come from the backside of the animal, but rather the front shoulder, when you are dealing with a pig, the backside is the hams; the two front shoulders are actually what they call the butt. You can see theres quite a bit of fat in here. We are going to work on trimming this fat up, and kind of making it a little leaner.
What we are doing today, we are going to use just the regular shoulder portion, or butt portion of the animal, and thats going to give us the fat thats typical with sausage. We have natural casings; our natural casings actually come from the pig, and these we are going to show how these things work, and what you need to do with them. But thats what we are going to use, as far as what we put the actual sausage once its mixed in.
Some of the ingredients we are going to use, we have fresh garlic, I am going to use some fresh flat parsley, Italian flat parsley, I have fennel, I have some rosemary, I also have basil, oregano, some paprika and crushed red pepper, and thyme. We are going to use these three ingredients to spice it up a little bit. We have some white wine, dry white wine we are going to use, and some salt, and actually some cracked black pepper. But pretty much, so, this is what we are going to use today, and lets get started and let's make some sausage.