A fairly simple breakfast sausage mix. This is based on AB’s Breakfast Sausage, with a few tweaks I made along the way to make it work better with the ingredients I had on hand, my schedule, and my taste-buds. The reason I say it’s “almost there” is that I’m sure I’ll continue to tweak the recipe over time. Since you can’t taste it until after it’s ground and cooked, this is the kind of recipe where notes are extra-handy.
- 2 pounds pork butt (2 ½ to 3 with bone), cut into ½″ to ¾″ inch cubes
- 1 tbsp kosher salt (AB calls for 2tsp, but at that level I had to salt the patties, which led to a much higher salt level overall)
- 1½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp dried sage (I’ve doubled this and liked the results)
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp finely chopped rosemary
- ½ tsp grated nutmeg
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- Optional: ½ pound pork fat, if you got a really lean pork-butt.
- Meat grinder
- Chop, grind, and otherwise prepare spices. Dump them into a 1 gallon zip-top freezer bag.
- Cube meat, dropping it into the bag. If the meat is really lean (less than 20% fat), add up to ½ pound of pork fat. Getting the lean/fat ratio right might require some experience, but an untrimmed pork butt is about right. If your butcher trims it, asking him for extra pork-fat and explaining that you’re grinding your own sausage will help him help you get the ratio right.
- Mix everything in the bag thoroughly. You want to get some spice coating every cube of meat.
- Refrigerate meat and spices at least an hour, preferably overnight.
- Grind meat with coarse blade of grinder.
- Put meat back into zip-top and chill for a half-hour in freezer, or for an hour or two in the fridge. The goal here is to get the fat to firm up again. If the fat melts during second batch of grinding, you haven’t chilled things enough.
- Grind meat with fine blade of grinder.
- Package for storage. I use one quart zip-top bags, putting about ¾ pound in each.
This recipe will give you about two pounds of finished breakfast sausage. It’ll keep for about a week in the fridge, or for a few months in the freezer. Cook it just like you would the factory-made stuff, except with more mouth-watering good smells from the pan.