15 December 2010

Breakfast Sausage

I love sausage, especially breakfast sausage.  It reminds me of my childhood.  When I was young, every Sunday morning we would go to Grandma and Pa's house for biscuits and gravy.  Sausage gravy, to be more specific, and there were always extra sausage patties on the side.  To this day, the smell of sausage cooking on the stove reminds me of walking into their house on Sunday morning, anxiously anticipating that first bite.

My fondness for sausage inspired me to make my own, especially since many store bought varieties have less than desirable ingredients.  When my dad bought me a meat grinder attachment for my KitchenAid stand mixer, there was no holding me back.  Armed with a recipe from Alton Brown, I set out to make my own breakfast sausage.

To my surprise, making the sausage is especially easy.  The most time consuming part for me was dicing the pork butt; but after that, it's a breeze.  Once the pork was diced, I combined it with all the other ingredients and put it in the refrigerator for an hour. 

It already smelled like sausage, though it really looked nothing like it.  After an hour, I fed it through the meat grinder.  Sure enough, as it came through the other end, it looked exactly like sausage!

So, if it smells like sausage, and looks like sausage, surely it must taste like sausage.  Right?  Right!  In fact, it is some of the best breakfast sausage I have ever had.  All the herbs and spices compliment each other perfectly, and there is a hint of sweetness from the sugar.  Plus, there is a freshness that isn't there with the store bought brands that put it over the top. 

Making my own sausage is well worth the effort. It tastes so much better than the mass market varieties and it is much cheaper per pound as well.  Delicious and cost effective, I can live with that!

Breakfast Sausage
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown
Printable Recipe

2 pounds pork butt (2 1/2 pounds with bone), diced into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 pound fat back, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage leaves
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Special equipment: meat grinder

Combine diced pork with all other ingredients and chill for 1 hour. Using the fine blade of a grinder, grind the pork. Form into 1-inch rounds. Refrigerate and use within 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months. For immediate use, saute patties over medium-low heat in a non-stick pan. Saute until brown and cooked through, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

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