If you have never attempted to make your own pork sausage, you will certainly enjoy the higher quality product you can make yourself. Commercial producers grind up various cuts of pork, and add those mysterious chemical ingredients that are hard to pronounce. They generally don’t use freshly ground spices either, which makes a big difference. Even if you don’t have a kitchen stand mixer with a meat grinder/sausage stuffing attachment, you can still make this recipe using ground pork from your local supermarket and your food processor to grind the pork fat. Form it into patties for grilling, or use it in bulk in pasta recipes. I often find recipes that call for removing the casings from Italian sausages – using the meat in place of ground beef. No need to mess with making links if you don’t want to go to the trouble.
Basically, home sausage making involves procuring a cut of meat suitable for the purpose and grinding it in a meat grinder. Additional fat is typically added, along with spices. If you speak to the meat manager of your local supermarket, they’ll tell you that they throw away all the fat trimmed off of pork roasts. Ask them to set a few pounds aside for you, and freeze it for use as needed. A good meat manager won’t charge you for that. You can procure hog casing from your local meat market or butcher (not supermarket) which is what you want to stuff your meat mixture into for sausage links. If you haven’t made sausages before, there are many how-to videos on YouTube and elsewhere online. It really is not difficult.
As I experimented with sausage making, I discovered that despite the addition of fat to the recipe the sausages sometimes cook up a little dry instead of juicy and tender. After some research, I found that adding phosphate fixes that problem. This is a food grade additive that is available from the Ames Company (http://www.theingredientstore.com). Its inexpensive and makes a real difference in the final result. It helps the meat retain moisture during cooking.
1/4 tsp coriander seed, ground fresh
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp food grade phosphate additive mixed with ½ cup of water (we use Amesphos)
1 tsp fennel seed, ground fresh
2 tsp granulated garlic (we use Penzey’s)
2 tsp freshly ground tellicherry black pepper (Penzey’s India Special Extra Bold is highly recommended)
¾ Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp Kosher salt
1 ½ lb pork fat
1 tsp white peppercorns, freshly ground
2 tsp fennel seed, whole
4 lb boneless pork shoulder roast
Cut the pork shoulder and the pork fat trimmings into 1 ½ inch cubes. Spread the meat out on a sheet pan and pop it in the freezer for an hour or so. You want the meat to be almost frozen solid. Put your meat grinding equipment and bowl in the freezer as well. Everything needs to be kept very cold.
Grind the meat and pork fat, and return the ground meat to the freezer for a short time while you prepare the spices. If you do have a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment to mix the ground meat and spices on slow speed until thoroughly mixed. Otherwise, manual mixing will just take a little longer. Its important to mix the spices with the meat as completely as possible. You’re done. Now, wasn’t that easy?
If you are not making links, you can divide the bulk sausage into 1 lb packages and freeze any amounts that you don’t plan to use in the next day or so. If you are making links, rinse out the hog casing with warm running water and stuff the meat mixture into the casing. Twist into links and hang the sausage up to dry for 2 to 4 hours. Refrigerate for short term use, and cut off and freeze links that won’t be consumed within a couple of days. Here are some pictures of the process in our kitchen, but this is where it’s most helpful to watch a few videos before trying it for the first time yourself.
These are really good on the grill, and work very well in the usual array of pasta recipes. Impress your dinner guests!
Your Daily Bread
Luke 15:11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.