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Breakfast sausage question?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hey guys, I'm totally new to sausage making of any kind. I cook plenty of them and in doing so, EAT plenty of them, but I've never tried making my own.

To start out, I wanted to mix up a batch of loose breakfast sausage and work my way up to links, then more complicated sausages like brats and stuff.

So, my question:

If I'm just making loose pork sausage, or maybe patties, there's no smoking or cooking/curing involved in making this correct? Just mix up the meat with the spices, package it and refrigerate/freeze it?

Since I don't own a grinder or a sausage stuffer, this might be my best bet to start out. I plan on using ground pork for the first batch and working my way up to more complicated methods.

If you have any advice, I'd sure appreciate it! I did go through about 10 pages of postings in this forum before I asked my question. :)
post #2 of 15
You are correct you can just get fresh ground sausage mix in your spices well then put it in the fridge or freeze it. Then when your ready to have it either fry it or hot smoke it. Many markets sell fresh sausage that they have ground and added the spices to sometimes they stuff it into casings and sometimes not.
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the quick reply, first thing tomorrow, I'm off in search of some ground pork. If it passes the family's test, then I'll be looking into a grinder. ;)
post #4 of 15
If ya get a good recipe for the breakfast sausage the grinder ? will be mute with the family! LOL
post #5 of 15
As Jerry mentioned you are correct.

I think this is the best way to start out. Remember any sausage you can put in a casing you can pat out and grill as a burger. Before I had a stuffer and a fancy grinder we made hundreds of pounds of breakfast sausage with a #10 hand grinder and plenty of elbow grease.. Regardless get started you will not regret it.
post #6 of 15
Yep, that sounds like a very sensible way to start down the path to addiction and ruination like the rest of usicon_mrgreen.gif. Seriously, a very reasonable way to give it a whirl then work your way up from there.
post #7 of 15
As otherws have said, you are thinking correctly - no smoking unless you want to.

I started with breakfast sausage. Very easy and a great way to learn. It will be better than anything you can buy in the store.

I have a grinder, but before I did, we just hammerred some pork butt in the food processor. Used to make Italian sausage by the ton for Chicago pizzas. Works fine, you just don't have quite the control over the grind size. Still was very acceptible and you know what's in it, unlike buying ground pork from the store.

Let us know how it turns out.
post #8 of 15
Instead of using ground pork, have the store grind a butt for you. That is the cut that you'll be using later, so you'll know now how it will also come out later. Ground pork is basically trimmings from all cuts and tends to be very fat. Good luckicon_wink.gif
post #9 of 15
I agree whole-heartedly with Hank. Have your butcher special grind a butt for you, or you may not have enough fat content to make a nice sausage. If you let him know a little ahead of time, he can have it waiting for you when you get there.
Good Luck!
post #10 of 15
I hope the above isn't an apology... that's why we are all here!

Diddo to all of the other suggestions. Not a lot of patty sausage experience for me, we just grind our pork scraps plain, package and freeze, then season when we pull them out. (An advantage of doing your own butchering is being able to controll the fat content).
One of my favorites is a little Tony's and some season all salt. Save out a package of plain grind and try it. Sky's the limit after that.

post #11 of 15

Make Test Batches

When I am trying a new recipe, I make like a lb test batch and do a "fry test". Fry up a small piece, let it cool and taste test it. You can always add ingredients to get the taste you are looking for.

Most breakfast sausage recipes have too much sage in them for me, it carries a pretty robust flavor.

Try to use fresh seasonings as possible, some do have a shelf life.

I use a coffee grinder to grind whole black pepper to make my own course ground.

Buy this book even before a grinder it is considered the bible by some. I think they are in the 4th edition. I dont know what the difference in the editions are but I they are different.

post #12 of 15
Before I had a scale I would measure the meat and fat in a cup. The end product was a little dry. Fat has a little more volume per pound than meat. Also,add just a little water to your recipe to help the flavors blend.store in fridg for several hrs. , mix again, then process. Roll,stuff in casings.make patties etc. I first used a sausage funnel before we got uor machine.
post #13 of 15
Wanna try a very quick version of a basic breakfast sausage? Go to the store and buy 1 pound of ground pork. To that, add:

1 1/2 tsp salt (kosher, canning and pickling, or lacking those, table)
1 tsp black or white pepper
1 tsp ground sage

This will be a little on the spiced up side, but is in the ballpark for a basic, salt/pepper/sage breakfast sausage. If you have a choice, add a little pork vs. less than a pound.

(Mix these together, then hand mix these in with the ground pork. Add a couple tablespoons of ice water if it's too dry to mix well).

Form your patties by hand, or take about a 4 oz wad and form it into a ball, then press it into a patty by putting it between two layers of wax paper and pressing it on the counter with something flat and heavy. Wet your hands and the wax paper to keep the sausage from sticking to them.

If your meat lacks fat, use a little cooking oil or bacon grease to lube your fry pan.
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
So I took the plunge and bought the ground pork today. It was fresh ground pork, thankfully, not the rolled stuff in the mystery tubes. :)

I used the Hi Mountain Prairie Sage Breakfast Sausage blend to make this. It was super easy, all in all.

The ingredients in this saga.

Here it is all mixed and ready to be made into patties.

Test patties in the pan. Always make one for me and one for the wife, better known as the boss.

The final result.

Overall, I was pleased. I can't say it was a "knock your socks off" kinda flavor, but that's in the seasoning, not the methods. For one, I think this blend is a bit too spicy for breakfast in my house. While I enjoy a good pepper burn, the family doesn't. I think in the future, I may blend my own seasoning, replace the red pepper flake with about 50% ground black pepper.

I've blogged about this on my site as well www.blackeyedpigz.com

Thanks everyone for your suggestions and assistance with my first homemade sausage. I'm sure as I get the time, i'll be working on more seasoning blends to try out. Now to lean on the boss to let me buy a meat grinder. :)
post #15 of 15
Here's a link to a previous post on breakfast sausage seasoning that my dad used in his store; I have it both by weight and by volume if you don't own a scale:


It's a good basic breakfast sausage seasoning. I usually mix it with the meat then grind it, but you can add it to ground pork too. Adjust as your taste buds like, more or less. Dad sold thousands and thousands of pounds of it out of his country store.

As far as a grinder goes, there's some good buys out there on smaller grinders that will give great results; just post asking what others have in what price range and you'll get directed to many sites you can compare and find the best buy for you. I own a 1 hp. Cabela's, it's a little higher end model around $350-$400, but there's some very good $99 grinders out there too that do a good job.
However, even my grinder sucks at stuffing compared to a stuffer. You can get a 5lb's very reasonably and would heartily recommend saving a little on the grinder so you can get a stuffer too. Grind it in one step and stuff it in a different step - it saves wear and tear on the grinder too!
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