12 May, 2010

Homemade Breakfast Sausage

The Stop & Shop in my town is one of the most sausage-friendly stores in the area.  They always carry natural hog casings, and they're really good about carrying inexpensive cuts of pork for grinding up batches of homemade sausage.  And they're the only store in town that routinely sells pork fat, an essential ingredient for good sausage. (You can talk about lean sausage all you want, but I guarantee that you wouldn't like the stuff if it were less than 20% fat.  It's a fact of life.)

Last weekend, I scored a nice batch of Stop & Shop's pork fat that was slightly more meat than fat; since the ratio looked so good, I decided to just grind it as is and make some breakfast sausage from it.   I broke out my ol' faithful meat grinder - a massive Porkert No. 10 - and threw both the grinder and the pork trimmings into the freezer to condition them for processing.  Partially freezing the pork makes it grind much easier and better, and putting the huge, heavy grinder into the freezer gives me about half an hour or more of thoroughly chilled equipment for perfect grinding.

After mixing in the spices and letting the flavors blend for a few hours in the fridge, I stuffed the sausage meat into the casings, twisted them off into links, and set them back into the fridge overnight.  We fried them up the next day.  They were awesome.

Breakfast Sausage
Makes 2 pounds of sausage

2 pounds of fatty ground pork - 20% minimum, 30% is better
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
3/4 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon of dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon MSG

Mix the ground meat with the remaining ingredients and allow to rest, refrigerated, for a couple of hours for the flavors to blend.  Stuff into casings for sausage links, or just form into patties and fry.

  • Use less ground black pepper for a milder sausage.
  • I used Turkish Aleppo pepper instead of the crushed red pepper flakes. You could also sub hot Hungarian paprika or cayenne pepper if you wish
  • Skip the MSG if you want.  I've tried it both ways, and I definitely prefer the MSG version.
These really should be stuffed into a small-diameter natural sheep casing, but all I had was the wider-diameter hog casings.  So they came out the same diameter as Italian sausage.  They were still delicious, though.

Sizzle, sizzle.


Marc said...

Nice looking sausage! Stop & Shop (Enfield) sells hog casings for real? Never even would of thought to ask. How are they packaged and what quantity?

Dave said...

Stop & Shop in Enfield sells cryovac packages of hog casings right where they sell sausages. Look on the top shelf, in the corner on your right. I think you get a dozen casings in the bundle. Quality is decent - they're very clean - but if you want to keep the leftovers you'll need to pack them in a tub full of salt because the original packers don't use enough for really long-term storage.

Some of the best casings I ever used I bought at the Asian market. They were fresh, and simply labeled "INTESTINES." They needed a little more rinsing than the prepared salted casings I'm used to, but they were very tender and easy to work with.

Eating The Road said...

Wow...I'm impressed. Those look fantastic. So from buying the ingredients to eating them is what...20 some odd hours?

Dave said...

ETR - Awesomeness takes time.

Marc said...

A "local" Asian market?

Dave said...

Marc - A. Dong's, in the Shield Street Plaza in West Hartford.