Passion for Pork

Sausage Time at Irving Farms

Sharman - Friday, July 6, 2012
Meat Grinding

I have been visiting Alan and Nicola Irving of Irving Farms Fresh at the Saturday farmers markets for years now. I had always been a fan of their sausages, and when I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease two years ago, their sausages (which are made in their gluten free facility) became a staple for me.


When they invited me out to their home in Round Hill Alberta to take a peek at things, I was excited when Alan told me they were going to have to make a few batches of sausages.

With one sausage-making making lesson under my belt, I was eager to expand my meat-casing portfolio.


Alan sharing his secret recipe with me

An Irving Sausage


While my first instructor suggested a 3-1 ratio of meat to fat, I learned that anIrvingsausage is leaner – roughly 15% fat. A helpful tip for grinding is to have your meat (mainly shoulder cuts) chilled. Alan sent the meat through the grinder twice to help distribute the fat and create a finer texture.


I barely had enough time to get a peek at the big book of recipes before I was immediately put to work measuring seasoning and mixing them into the meat. I’ve always leaned to their traditional British sausages, but after mixing the first batch of maple together… I was ready to convert.


A little help from the meat mixer

The steps were simple, add dry ingredients, add wet, stir, mix to meat – chill again. After I had made four different types I was moved over to another side of the kitchen.


My favourite part (insert sarcasm) involved attaching the intestines to the sausage stuffer. My first go-round with this activity wasn’t too bad, and it was actually easier the second time. The intestines came extended thanks to a plastic strip lengthwise down the middle – you simple lined the plastic up to the end of the stuffer and slide the casing across.


Filling the Sausage Stuffer

We had packed the table-top stuffer with the maple mixture, and as Alan hand cracked it out – I was responsible for gently guiding the casing along, trying my best for neither a skinny-nor pudgy sausage width.


Once we had a large enough length established – I was able to polish up on my linking skills. Alan showed me the length of what one should look like, and I did my best to out two – pinch- and spin.


After a few minutes I had the hang of things, but the true test of my skills came down to weighing. Sold six to a pack, one package should measure out around 454 grams/1 lb for $7.00. I got a “pretty good” from Alan and kept linking.


Casing on - hard part over

After we were done I was eager to take a package of fresh maple sausages home – I couldn’t wait for breakfast, and not only was the maple flavour satisfying at dinner time – the kitchen smelled sugar sweet.


Note to all customers – you never poke/pierce an Irvings Sausage! They are lean and popping the casing will result in all that juicy flavour escaping. So don’t do it!


Saturday is going to be a scorcher, so I encourage a stroll to the Old Strathcona, City Market Downtown, or St. Albert Farmers Markets to pick up some Irvings Sausages this weekend. Flavours include:


Measure two - pinch, and roll

English Breakfast



Pork and Leek


Mild Italian

Sweet Chilli Zinger

Habanero Chilli

Sundried Tomato & Basil

Rosemary & Garlic


To see additional locations to purchase Irving Farms Sausages… click here.