This week I had the opportunity of eating a Chongqing home-made sausage. You know something is home made when you can identify each ingredient's flavor distinctly. The preparation method is very traditional and usually practiced around Spring Festival when meat is plentiful and the weather is cool enough to prevent spoilage. It is much preferred to store in open air since a freezer tends to alter its flavor and quality. Hence, by the time Chongqing summer of 40 C comes around, most of the sausage will be finished. Basically, small pieces of pork are cured in salt, black pepper, prickly ash pepper (if you live in Southwest China), and Báijiǔ 白酒 (Chinese white spirits). After deep marinating, it is stuffed into sausage skins, tied at equal intervals and then hung throughout the kitchen to dry. You may want to avoid night visits to the fridge for a while.
Before cooking, the sausage is soaked in warm water (55 C) for about an hour and then rinsed to remove excess salt. Finally it is boiled for 20 minutes and ready to eat. It is mainly served as its own dish. Left overs can be cut into fine pieces and used in fried rice. Flavor is compared among aunties and grannies, along with compliments and next year's requests.
This is nothing like your store-bought sausage because for one, the meat is chopped not ground or minced. You really feel like you are chewing on something. Secondly, you know exactly what you are eating, not isn't questionable body parts or left overs. After avoiding sausages for a long time, this makes me consider eating them again.