The Wifeoid and I tried our hand at sausage making this last Sunday. I picked up an LEM model #1113 meat grinder/sausage stuffer and some Home Pack brand hog casings off Amazon a few days earlier. The price was right and it seemed to me to be a better built unit that the attachments you see out there made for the KitchenAid mixer. So, after a trip to the market for 2 pork butts and some fresh herbs and spices…away we went. I followed mummel’s sticky instructions for handling the sausage casings and got them soaking on Friday after work. The trimming went smoothly thanks to some sharp knives and the LEM grinder worked flawlessly. We cleaned and then refrigerated the meat and the grinder parts so everything was nice and cold.
We were a little concerned that the pork butts wouldn’t have enough fat onboard to make the sausage juicy and not crumbly, but they turned out awesome. We ground almost 14 Lbs. of pork and ended up freezing nearly 5 Lbs. or so of ground pork for our next session. We used Alton Brown’s recipe for Breakfast Sausage and Emeril Lagasse’s recipe for Spicy Italian Sausage – both from The Food Network web site and, lastly, a Mexican Chorizo recipe with the remaining ground meat that I got from the cleaning lady at my office here in Las Vegas.
After the first course grind, we mixed the herbs and spices together with the ground pork then fried up some sample patties… In retrospect, a good rest period after mixing probably would have been beneficial to allow the flavors to blend. As it was, the breakfast sausage was moist and flavorful…but there was something missing. I’m a big Jimmy Dean fan and, while this recipe was very tasty, it was nowhere close to what I want in a breakfast sausage…some recipe tweaking and or perhaps a commercial seasoning mix from L.C. Legg, for instance, is definitely in the works.
The Spicy Italian Sausage was spot on. Nice and moist with a strong fennel taste. This would go well in any spaghetti sauce or lasagna recipe or grilled alone with the old “peppas and sawseege.”
The Mexican Chorizo was delicious albeit quite a departure from the store bought variety I’m used to. First off, there was actually some sausage left over after cooking instead of a pile of goo and a mess of grease in the pan. It wasn’t flavored quite the same either. The fresh cilantro and a hint of citrus taste came thru loud and clear. Again, some recipe tweaking will be in order to get the taste where I want it.
All in all, not a bad effort for first timers. We smoked the sausage in our Pit Barrel Cooker over some apple and cherry wood chunks after we cooked a couple racks of baby backs ribs.
Here’s some pics…