It's generally accepted that sausage factories must be the most disgusting places on earth—giving rise to the old saying about how sausage-making shouldn't be seen close up, if you want to keep eating sausage. After touring a local sausage factory, that old adage rings pretty hollow. I can, in fact, think of about a gajillion things offhand that are way grosser, from the zit I currently have on my ear to the sight of my coworker's dog eating its own feces.

The only part of the process that's even remotely queasy-inducing are the big vats of pork and beef that arrive frozen from Midwestern factory farms—seeing such a huge quantity of thawing meat is a little overwhelming. The rest of the process is tidy and straightforward.

First, meat is ground into manageable bits using a series of specialized machines, then stirred with spices until the mixture has the approximate consistency of mayonnaise. This creates the sausage filling.

Next, the filling is stuffed inside a casing—casings are made from hog or sheep intestines, and look a lot like a really long condom. To stuff the sausage, a giant robot arm dumps the vat of sausage mix into the top of a funnel-shaped machine that shoots a long tube of meat into its casing, filling it up like a little meat balloon. After that, individual sausages are packaged and shipped away, where they are then purchased and shoved into the pork-hole that is your mouth.

And that, my friends, is how sausages are made.