I've been grinding my own pork for sausage for a couple of years now but bought a pound of "hot" Jimmy Dean sausage the other day because it was on sale. (I'm not picking on JD; I'm betting most of that stuff in a tube is pretty much the same.) I won't do that again. First there's the texture. I made a couple of patties and the meat is ground so finely that they're like pre-formed, smashed burgers. Then this morning I crumbled some up and fixed in a scramble. Because I already knew that (see my quotation marks above) that hot wasn't hot, I minced up some jalapenos and browned with the meat. The eggs were good, the jalapenos were good. The sausage had a meat flavor but not a sausage flavor. I probably could have substituted beef and not been able to tell the difference.
If you have a KA stand mixer, the meat grinding attachment is about $50 and is so worth the money. If you don't want to grind your own meat, at least pick out a piece of pork shoulder, have the butcher grind it coarsely and bring it home and season it to your liking. In addition, you don't have to have all of the following:
"PORK, WATER, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF THE FOLLOWING: CORN SYRUP, SALT, SPICES, SUGAR, MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE. "
I still remember the first time we fixed home ground sausage. Bob looked at me and said "If this is sausage, what's that stuff we've been eating all our lives that is called sausage." I guess I was a slow learner :) There aren't a whole lot of things Chow-related that I consider myself an expert on but this is something I know for sure. Try this and I guarantee you won't be sorry.
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