Friday, February 6, 2009

Handling Hank

From Hank
Wine is a weird muse. She either fills your mind with fine ideas that fly from your fingers and land loquaciously on the page (or at least it feels like that) or she throttles your brain stem, leaving everything in print like unto that bucket of night crawlers knocked into the sand by your drunken brother after he hooked the striper that proved to be kelp.

Which is just another -deliberately pretentious-way of saying that last night following a throwdown with my homeboy Bacchus, I tried to post this but gave up after typing the opening sentence, what, 10-15 times? Wow, was that ever frustrating! Almost as frustrating as opening a bag of sausage casing and finding that once again you have unwittingly conducted an uncontrolled experiment in knot theory. Your sausage casings, which came from the supply people, neatly looped and tied into a hank, is now a bird's nest. So now you have to spend minutes that seem like days untangling this ball of salt encrusted guts or -if you are like me- you spend 3 minutes grappling before you grab a knife and cut the bloody mess into coctail-frank sized bites.

Of course, this stupid, counterproductive and financially punishing waste of time could have been avoided if you had taken apart the hank in an orderly way instead of yanking the thing apart as soon as you opened the bag.

Here is one way to handle a hank of hog casings so that they don't end up looking like a Medusa's mantle of dessicated snakes. If you have another method I'd like to hear about it. This one is not perfect, but it's a helluva lot better than doing nothing.


Jason said...

You know, the knitters of the world have a method for dealing with hanks of yarn involving a swift and a ball winder.

Bob del Grosso said...

I followed your links and think that a ball winder would be a great way to organize the casing once it has been unknotted from the hank. Wonder why the producers of casings don't wind them into balls before shipping? Cost, I suppose.

Michael Greenberg said...

Or maybe they don't want knitter/sausage makers to accidentally make a sweater no one wants to wear?

Seriously, this is a useful post -- I've been keeping mine in the huge knot they came in, painstakingly pulling out ten feet every time I need it. Thanks!

Courtney said...

Thanks for this - both useful and timely, as I have a bunch of guts coming in this weekend. So I'll give this a try.

Brian said...

was this ever timely!

I actually just got everything for a kimchi pork/veal sausage prepped a few hours ago and went through this mess!

My method (that I got by with this time anyhow) consisted of gently loosening the mess with my fingers into our under counter sink (which I had filled with iodaphor and water just prior for sanitizing some gear I was using for brewing and English Brown ale) and sorting that way...

I like your's better of course. Normally I would gladly cut these guts into sections but I also found out, for some reason, that the price of pork has almost doubled at my local butcher in I need every bit of that intestine since it cost me $7 bucks (two months ago it was $3) for the whole mess! Great post, and again very timely! Cheers, Brian

Andrew said...

Wait a minute, you mean they don't come preknotted? Very useful technique, I'll try it with the next round.

Sarah84vn said...