Which is better – Neese’s or Jimmy Dean?
The correct answer is neither, of course.
My Girl Scout co-leader has a son who raises pigs, and once a year they butcher one. They grind up all the meat, season it, and sell the sausage. It is excellent. I never thought that I liked breakfast sausage. We didn’t eat it much when I was growing up. But I have discovered, especially after eating hers, that it’s really quite good.
One day, I was looking up a recipe for something; I don’t remember what. But one of those annoying pop-up videos came on – you know, the kind you can’t get rid of until 10 seconds in. And she was talking about making sausage, using a boston butt roast.
Well, our local Harris Teeter just happened to have boston butts on sale that week for 97 cents per pound. Normally I buy them to make BBQ, but I decided maybe to try making sausage. I picked one up, and since I wasn’t sure if it would be any good, I decided to cut it in half, make half sausage and half BBQ in the sous vide. (Is that really BBQ? Dunno, but it’s good.)
Well, the sausage was delicious, almost as good as my friend’s.
So this time, when they had butts on sale, I decided to turn the whole thing into sausage. I also adjusted my spices a bit, and added maple syrup. Because everything is better with maple syrup.
Most of this is based on a recipe from Bruce Aidell’s Complete Sausage Book.
I used my boning knife to cut out the bone and chunk up the meat. Strips work very well in my kitchen aid grinder. Sausage needs a good bit of fat, so no need to get rid of any. Some recipes say to add extra fat, but I really don’t think that’s necessary.
I mixed up the spices and added them to the meat, tossing so that it was all coated pretty evenly.
I ground it using the coarse grinder, because I decided I wanted to do a double grind to get a finer texture. (The second grind was a pain in the butt, because grinding already ground meat means you have to really work to stuff it in the grinder.) (Feel free to use the fine grinder, and just grind it once. I’m not sure it’s worth the extra work to do two grinds.)
After it was ground, I added the syrup and water, mixed it up some more, and put it in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
Then I ground it again, and packed it up into 1 pound bags to freeze.
So I got 6 pounds of excellent sausage, and probably saved about $25 by doing it myself. Is it worth it to save that money? Only you can decide. For me, yes – once my friend’s sausage runs out, there’s nothing I can do about it until the next time they kill a pig, and also I don’t mind doing silly things like spending an hour making my own sausage.
If my guy was not the amazing man he is, who will clean any mess I make and never complain, and I had to clean that food grinder after using it – I probably would not make my own sausage.
But his favorite meal of the day is breakfast, and I know he’ll enjoy the results.
Too much work? Here’s a short cut – go buy a pound of ground pork. Mix in the spices and syrup, and cook it up.
This recipe has a little bit of spice – enough to notice, but we didn’t think it was enough to call it “hot.”
For every pound of pork, I add
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp dried sage
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp water