Making sausage

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by koukouvagia, Nov 16, 2010.

  1. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    I want to make sausage at home.  Not interested in the casing, but plain sausage meat that I can use to cook in food or make patties.  But it occurs to me that I don't know anything about seasoning sausage and what seasonings to use in different sausages.  I'm most interested in breakfast sausage and italian sausage.  What to put in there besides pork?
     
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Breakfast: garlic, sage, cayenne or other chile source such as flakes, or hot sauce. salt, perhaps black pepper.

    Lots of italian varieties but for the generic stuff in the US: garlic, salt, oregano (but many dried green herbs work well), Skip the fennel seed in my opinion.

    I've used generic breakfast sausage in many italian dishes with good results. I do this for convenience and to skip the fennel flavor which I don't often want in my italian food. Easy to doctor up with some extra herbs or other flavors if I want to tilt it some.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2010
  3. tylerm713

    tylerm713

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    Sage is by far my favorite addition to breakfast sausage.
     
  4. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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  5. chefedb

    chefedb

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    There are many companies that sell a premeasured  spices in small bags. Find them on line
     
  6. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    And remember the fat. As a rule of thumb, you want about 20% fat so the sausage has good flavor, moisture, and binding. This is about the amount you get in buying a whole pork shoulder. And the meat is good for that too.

    Certainly there are reasons to use less fat. If you need to cut down on the fat,  you can replace about half of the fat with plain cooked rice by volume (more of those darn volume measurements. This gives a similar mouthfeel to the sausage and helps keep the sausage moist as a final product but isn't a perfect replacement.
     
  7. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    According to "Ratio, The Simple Codes behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking", by Michael Ruhlman, page 131-142, the base ratio, by weight, is 3 parts meat to 1 part fat or about 25% fat by weight.
     
  8. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    If you've not done it before, here are a couple of tips.

    1. Do not, as you might find yourself inclined, use the fine grind. Sausage is, comparatively, a rough grind. Go no finer than medium. \

    2. Add your seasonings to the cut up meat before running it through the grinder. This assure more even distribution, and helps to not overwork the meat.

    3 As noted above, the mix should include 20-25% fat. A good way to start, when using lean meat (i.e., beef, lean pork, lamb, venison) is to add two pounds of fatty pork to three pounds of the other meat.

    Caution: Making your own sausage can be as addictive as mainlining heroin. So make sure you have time for a new hobby before embarking on what can be a very exciting culinary experience.
     
  9. robertguillegan

    robertguillegan

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    I have also been wondering what other things I might add up to my sausages. But now I know. Thanks alot guys!! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/licklips.gif
     
  10. teamfat

    teamfat

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    The response by our esteemed member from the great state of Kentucky implies that you will be using a meat grinder, not buying preground stuff.

    I agree that grinding the meat yourself is the best way to go. If you don't have access to a grinder, one can use careful pulsing in a food processor. The texture won't be quite the same, though, but good enough to get you started on learning the basics of seasoning sausage. Some sausages are better with varying chunk size in the mix.

    If you do get hooked you will definitely want a grinder! Besides, if you grind your own hamburger you don't have to cook it to well done like store bought ground meat.

    mjb.
     
  11. chefedb

    chefedb

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    A little trick when grinding in a real grinder .Make sure meat is really cold , and if possible place grinder in fridge prior. You can also run some ice through with the meat you are grinding. This stops meat from getting to soft do to friction caused by grinding, and helps maintain a steady temperature of meat for food safety issue.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2010
  12. maryb

    maryb

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    For pork breakfast sausage untrimmed pork butt usually has the right fat to lean ratio.
     
  13. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    How do I prep the garlic for the breakfast sausage?  Is it minced?  I'm not a fan of sage, are you sure sage is an ingredient in breakfast sausage?
     
  14. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Minced or paste is best for the garlic. And yes, I'm sure it's sage. Doesn't take much sage to flavor it.
     
  15. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

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    For once, I disagree with Ed:
    The heck with food safety. If you allow your mixture to rise in temperature more than trivially above dead cold, it will break. When you cook it, the fat will run out and leave you with crumbly blah that tastes dreadful. Everything you use, ingredients and equipment, should be and remain COLD. The pieces of the grinder can be frozen; the meat can be frozen just until barely crunchy, but straight from the fridge will be fine. Grind into a bowl sitting in another bowl filled with ice and water. In fact, you'll only break a mixture, even if you don't do these things, once in a while, but if you do you will be very sorry, because there is no fixing it: once it's broken, it's pet food. On a related note, once your mix is fully ground, you must bind it: beat it with a spoon or a stand mixer or whatever until it is sticky and binding together. Again, if you use a mixer, keep everything COLD: refrigerate the bits and pieces after grinding for 30 minutes, then mix in a chilled bowl. You will often add liquid (wine, water, etc.) during this mixing: make sure what you add is ICE-COLD.

    I strongly recommend Ruhlman and Polcyn's book Charcuterie for learning the fundamentals. Bruce Aidell's various books are also excellent and provide far more recipes.
     
  16. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    I think that's what Ed is trying to say, keep it cold.  I didn't realize making sausage has to have such severe temperature control.  I was just gonna mix up some meat like when I make meatballs.
     
  17. teamfat

    teamfat

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    [quote name="Koukouvagia" url="/forum/thread/62972/making-sausage#post_331285"]
    I think that's what Ed is trying to say, keep it cold.  I didn't realize making sausage has to have such severe temperature control.  I was just gonna mix up some meat like when I make meatballs.
    [/quote]

    Yes, they are both saying keep it cold, Ed added the bit about food safety and Chris is saying food safety is not the issue. They both are saying that letting the grind get too warm will cause texture problems. Electric grinders tend to generate more heat than hand grinders. I wish I had an electric one, though. I tire of the process when I do more than a few pounds in my hand grinder. Besides, mine is an odd size and I have trouble finding different plates for it.

    But when starting out you can do it just like making meatballs with preground meat, some texture issues but you can get a good tasting sausage patty hat way.

    One cookbook I have about Russian and Balkan cuisine lists a recipe for a sausage with pomegranate seeds in it, I've been meaning to give it a try someday.

    mjb.
     
  18. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Aidell's  books are an excellent source of most of what you have to know to do sausage of all types. The guy knows what he is doing and is modern in his approach. And again I am talking on a commercial basis not one's home re. food safety. taste and everything else Chris says is also valid and true.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2010
  19. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    What do I have to bind it with?
     
  20. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    This is getting way too complicated.

    Your intuition was correct.  You can do breakfast sausage patties the same way you'd do meatballs providing you're buying the pork already ground.

    All that cold rigamarole is a way of dealing with the fat's texture and applies if you're doing huge quantities or grinding your own meat.  If you are grinding, you want that meat and fat as cold as possible.  Even semi-frozen is good.  When grinding very cold, the connective tissue cuts cleanly and the fat retains its integrity without becoming  greasy.  Cold will not only give you a better grind but the grinder and the surrounding zip-code will be easier to clean afterward.  Cold is even more important using a food processor.

    When I grind for sausage, I mix the seasonings, liquids (if any) and binder (if any) into the first grind, chill all, and let time and the second grind take care of marrying the ingredients.       

    Breakfast sausage doesn't need a binder.  "Sausage grind" pork, sage, a little maple syrup, salt, a few red pepper flakes and perhaps a drop of liquid smoke cover the situation nicely.  But if you wanted a different texture you could for instance go with a finer grind along with some bread soaked in half in half and shredded.

    Hope this helps,

    BDL