I was a bad girl last week. Instead of working on my weekly post early, I wasted my time binge-watching Star Trek: DS9 and planning my Lady Sif cosplay for next year’s Comic Con. Seriously though, Sif is awesome. She’s fierce, strong and beautiful and her outfit is practical and modest. Win win here! I am SO going to rock that armor… as soon as I learn how to work with worbla…
However, that is not what this post is about, and in an attempt to avoid hijacking my own post with binge-watching and cosplay, we are moving on! Today, we are going to tackle homemade sausage. Because sausage is awesome. Nitrates, corn syrup and MSG? Not so much. I love making homemade sausage because I can control exactly what is in it. Plus, store bought sausage has reached $4 per pound in my area, and the nitrate free stuff starts at $5! I can make it for less than $2 per pound, easy.
The key thing that you are going to need is a meat grinder or high speed blender (like Vitamix, Ninja or Blendtec). I am using a meat grinder attachment from a pre-1980 German mixer with a special attachment adapter for my KitchenAid. Most mixers have meat grinder attachments that are specific to their product. I also made half of the sausage with my Vitamix (something I would have NEVER considered doing before getting it!) in order to show you what it will look like.
The ground pork on the left was done with the meat grinder and the right was made in the Vitamix. While the blender does a great job of incorporating the fat AND takes mere seconds to break down (2 1/2 lbs in under a minute), I prefer the texture of the grinder. Once they are mixed together, you really can’t tell the difference. To each his own I guess.
I started with a 5 lb pork butt roast that I purchased for $1.85 per pound (you can find large roasts for less when it is on sale and stock up) and the spices I needed. How beautiful is that roast??
Then I cut the roast into chunks approximately 1 inch in size. This was the most time consuming part, but it is necessary for either appliance to be able to handle the meat.
Once you have it cut up, you get to move on to the grinding! This is the best part. If you using a blender, you want to start your blender empty, and adjust the speed to just over half (6 on the Vitamix). Drop the chunks through the hole in the lid and push them down with the plunger until well broken down. For the grinder, place as much of the meat as you can in the loading tray and grind per manufacturer’s directions. The best part about using the grinder is that the meat squirming out totally reminds me of gagh. But, seriously, unless you are a Klingon, don’t eat the sausage at this point! Ha ha.
Side thought: I was raised by parents that took great pride in broadening our culinary horizons. We ate all kinds of “weird” stuff as kids. Now, as an adult, I have taken it one step further and purposely seek out new and strange things to try. Bacon ice cream? Amazing. Octopus carpaccio? Actually a lot better than you’d think. Chocolate hazelnut soda? Like drinking carbonated chocolate syrup… very odd. I would love to live in the Star Trek universe and try all the weird alien food. Not entirely sure I’d like gagh, but I’d try it at least once!
Now, back to the human food! Once your pork is all ground up, you get to mix the spices in, by hand!! This is my daughter’s FAVORITE part. Not really. She typically runs out of the room, gagging. My 4 year old, on the other hand, gets great pleasure in watching me smush the meat between my fingers with a maniacal evil laugh. Cooking in our house in a very serious ordeal, with lots of theatrics.
Now, all that is left to do is to divide up your homemade sausage into freezer containers or baggies for future use. Or, you could cook up all 5 lbs of your new homemade sausage. I don’t judge. You can form patties or links (although links are technically in casings, my son won’t eat it unless it’s “linked” so I just make them in log shapes), or you can just smush the whole pound into the bag. Whatever works for you.
Nom. Ready to try it for yourself? Here’s the recipe I used for this batch. You can adjust the ingredients as you see fit. Like it spicy? Add more peper. Cutting back on salt? Go for it, but don’t leave it out altogether or it will not taste like sausage. Promise.
(makes 5 lbs)
*all seasoning measurements are for dried and ground seasonings.
5 lb pork butt roast, ground
2 T salt (if you use coarse salt, be prepared to have your sausage be a tad crunchy)
1/2 T white pepper (you can substitute black pepper if needed)
1 T rubbed sage
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 T nutmeg
1/2 T thyme
1/2 T red pepper flakes
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix by hand until spice mixture is thoroughly incorporated. Separate for freezing or cook over medium heat until no longer pink in the middle.