The sausage making experiment turned into a three day affair.
The first night I ground 2 1/2 lbs of breast, leg and thigh meat. It took about 45 minutes. While it wasn't as physically demanding as grinding wheat is, it was definitely slower because I could not get any meat to actually come out the little holes, like it showed in the helpful picture on the box (did I mention this did not come with instructions?). I did get about 1/2 lb through, most of which was given to the dogs because it "cleaned" those nice holes which were still full of machine grease, despite a thorough washing. I am sure all you house dogs out there are salivating just thinking about that raw meat, but Molly looked at me dolefully as if to say, "Chicken again? Can't I just sleep on your bed instead?" Poor deprived farm doggie.
The 2 lbs that I kept mostly came back up out of the hole into which I'd put the chicken pieces originally. Ah, whatever, at least it was the right consistency.
In the morning, using a recipe I found online, I mixed in spices and whatnot and fried up some patties. Not bad. But too sweet (maple syrup in the recipe... I put in way less than called for and left out the brown sugar!), and not salty enough. I also found a critical piece of the grinder which I had accidentally left in the sink during my original cleaning, hence the pitiful first grinding session (DUH!).
The second night I roped Stephen into grinding, and he did a great job. He ground over 5 lbs of thighs and legs in less time than I had done 2.5. He still had some trouble with the meat coming up out of the big hole. The leg meat is full of tendons and membranes that are pretty annoying too. Hard to cut off the bone and hard get through the grinder.
This morning (day 3) I tried another recipe, and this one was a success! It was a bit too salty and I think had too much thyme, but I am going to tweak the recipe until we come up with a winner!
After all my excitement about the hog casings, real life is winning out (with its sick babies, and breaking down vans), and I am freezing the sausage into logs to cut for patties. Three nights of staying up late dealing with dead chickens is enough for me. But I WILL make sausage links some day by golly! There's all that beef in the freezer....
Here are the winning sausage patties cooking: