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, we are back. Lieutenant Tom Papoutsis, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. We are here in McLean, Virginia; Fire Station One in Fairfax County, and we just got done regrinding all of our meat. As you can see, now, we have got this all reground; now, its a fine grind, and we are going to get ready to start stuffing this sausage. Now, what I am going to need to do, is I have this off of here, now I need to take this back off, and we are going to put our sausage stuffing attachments on, and that is basically -- its going to be very simple. Like I said, you take this ring here, a little bit of run here, when you get here inside this ring. We are just kind of clean that out, and that will actually go right back in with the mix, there we go. And like I said, very carefully, watch the blade, its probably easier to just take the tip of your knife and just pull that off of there. Okay, so we are going to get rid of that; we are going to pull this out, and again, theres a little bit of gristle there, we are not going to use that. We dont need the blade now. We are not going to use the blade. Now, we have two different sized, what they call a sausage horn, okay? This is what we are going to put on here, and then we are going to thread our casing on, and once we get our casing thread on, we are actually going to put the meat back in, and we are going to start making sausage, and we are going to start casing it, okay? We are going to use -- actually, this is for like the little tiny, breakfast type sausages, if you will. This is more so for what we are going to do today with the larger, more Italian sized -- theres actually bigger ones that you can use for like kebabs and stuff, and thats one other thing, when I am putting this together, I am going to explain it to you. First off, I am going to just leave kind of, a lot of this stuff in here, because -- or take it out, and there is a piece of gristle, we dont need that. But making sausage, there are so many different things to do with sausage. Now, this piece here, this little piece goes over the top, and that holds the yolk in or the auger, and then this horn is going to go on top, and we are going to slide this just like that. Now we are ready to start making sausage. Let the fun begin. Here we go. Now, as I was saying, whenever you are making sausage, the difference in sausages is actually whats in them. When I say whats in them, if I want to make salami -- regular, like a general salami, I am going to do the exact same thing that I just did, but also I am going to do, is put black pepper and garlic in it and a little bit of salt. We are going to use a bigger casing -- stuff it in a bigger casing, and then thats going to hang for a couple of months to dry, and you can make homemade salami. Sopressata, its the same way; you are going to put different ingredients in. So, just because we are making Italian sausage here, theres other things you can do by just taking the same base ingredient as far as the ground pork is concerned, and then change the spices up, use a bigger casing, and with this, we are going to cook it immediately or freeze it, whatever you want to do with it, but with the other sausages like your salami, your Sopressata, stuff like that, what you actually do is, you hang those; they are done in the winter time when its cooler; the temperatures are cooler, you have a nice cool basement that you can hang them in, or some place like that. That could be a whole another show, we are not going to get into it right now, but we are going to get back into stuffing our sausage.