Home Cooking 17

Musings on homemade sausage

porker | Dec 10, 201108:17 AM

foodlovergeneral asked me about homemade sausage and to avoid the possible wrath of a Chow police shakedown (off-topic), I thought I'd post here.

As I mentioned, homemade sausage isn't a mysterious, I-can-never-do-that type of activity. Armed with a $40 hand-crank grinder and stuffer tube, its a relatively easy task. In fact, many people skip the grind-and-stuff: they just season ground meat and make 'sausage' patties.

You can try this too. Buy 2lb ground pork, spread on work surface, sprinkle 1.5TBL salt, 1TBL black pepper, 3 TBL fennel seeds, mix well and you have 'sweet' Italian sausage. Want 'hot' Italian sausage? Add a TSP of cayenne and 2TBL crushed chile, mix. Cook a bit of it and adjust seasonings accordingly.
Form into patties, cover, and fridge overnite, letting the meat 'cure'. Cook or freeze next day.

Want breakfast sausage? Buy 2lbs pork and add something like this (I grabbed this from allrecipes.com)
2 teaspoons dried sage
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 pinch ground cloves
Form into patties, cover, and fridge overnite, letting the meat 'cure'. Cook or freeze next day.

Want Merguez? Start with ground lamb and add (from charcuterista)
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
3/4 cup roasted red pepper, diced
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon spanish paprika
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced
Form into patties, cover, and fridge overnite, letting the meat 'cure'. Cook or freeze next day.

Well you get the idea; sausageis basically seasoned ground meat. The type of meat and seasonings determines the kind of sausage (hot Italian is my favorite).

Grinding your own meat gets you control of what goes in (lean/fat, gristle/no gristle, pig lips&ass/no pig lips&ass, etc etc) and consistency (coarse and chunky, or fine and smooth).
Lotsa people think grinding your own will save BIG bucks. In my experience, making my own sausage winds up to be the same price as store bought. Why do it then? Well, I enjoy it for one thing. That, plus I get EXACTLY what I want. Most store-bought hot Italian sausage ain't hot. I can make mine as wicked as I want. Most store bought sausage is >50% fat (this is what makes them yummy). I can control the amount of fat - I also make italian chicken sausage when I get on the health kick band wagon

Unfortunately, Mrs. Porker is getting a bit uppity and wants to go Xmas shopping. I'll continue this later. (not quite sure where its going anyway {;-/)
Oh yeah, as foodlovergeneral asked, I'll eventually get to air-dried sausage - I'll probably have to post a health warning or something, as many people get kind of squeamish when talking about home-curing.
See you later!

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