Angry Toxicologist

AngryFoodie

As promised yesterday, here’s how I make breakfast sausage (I do it for taste but it will also lower your nitrate intake). And as to the old saying, I’d much rather make sausage than make laws.

You’ll need a meat grinder. I like the food grinder that attaches to a Kitchen Aid mixer since I can use it with the strainer for other things (making applesause, applebutter,…ETC). How to Cook Everything says you can use a food processor but I highly doubt you could do it acceptably without smearing things.

Throw the small hole die and the rest of the grinder parts in the freezer.

Mix together
2-2.5 t of salt
1 t of black pepper (I like 1.5 t but seem to be in the minority)
1T of minced fresh sage (I use the Berggarten variety becuase it grows well in a pot)
1.5 t of minced thyme (don’t use lemon thyme, most others are fine)
3 T of brown sugar
dash of nutmeg
some people like some ginger or cayenne pepper for kick. I am not one of those people, but if you do like it, I suggest 1 t dried ginger or 0.25 t cayenne pepper.

Get a pork shoulder somewhere around 4 lbs. Then get about 0.75 fat back. Don’t trim either of these (try to get fresh fat back but if you can’t just rinse off the salt). Cut all into small cubes and mix together with the spices. It’s important to keep things cold so throw it in the fridge after you cut it up.

Set up the grinder and get a bowl and set it in another bowl with ice and water in it and put it under the grinder. Grind away. If it starts to smear (you don’t see seperate little chunks of fat and meat), stop it, take the die and blade out, and remove the sinew that has probably built up. This can happen more often if you don’t tighen up the die properly (you’ll probably see some oozing out of the threads of the cap if you haven’t tightened enough). Fry up a little bit to make sure the seasoning are good and for immediate gratification.

Don’t even think about running this again through a stuffer attachment making it into nice little links. Unless you have a seperate professional sausage stuffer, this isn’t worth the huge pain it is for the small diameter sausages. Take the sausage and make it into patties seperated by plastic wrap, wax paper, or foil and wrap in foil and throw into the freezer. Or you can make a log and throw that in the freezer and saw off a few slices when ever you want with a coping saw (the blade is thin and is easy to clean). Make sure you use a stable cutting surface if you saw, you don’t want to be making blood sausage. Clean everything and when you’re done throw every thing in the sink, fill it up and put in a cap full or two of bleach.

When you cook the sausage, do it at low or medium low heat in a heavy skillet. Enjoy.

Comments

  1. #1 chezjake
    November 2, 2007

    Sounds good, and quite like my own. I’d go with the greater black pepper quantity, leave out the nutmeg, and add the cayenne (or a bit of hot paprika, for less heat).

  2. #2 Jules
    November 2, 2007

    Where do the nitrates come from in commercial food? Is it part of a preservative? Sorry if this is a stupid question!

  3. #3 AngryToxicologist
    November 2, 2007

    The nitrates are put into almost all processed meat products as a preservative, mainly for botulinum bacteria. it’s pretty rare but deadly and good idea for massive food operations; ideally if everything was done right there is no need for nitrates, but there are too many things that could and do go wrong. If someone was to make dried sausages that hang in the open air, nitrates is really the only way to go. Here, since you are either eating the sausage right away or freezing it, there is no problem.

  4. #4 Kaleberg
    November 3, 2007

    Actually, you can use a food processor, but you have to grind relatively small batches and use the pulse setting. The trick is to pulse just until the meat is sort of chunky, not smooth. I’ve actually done this, but for big batches I just take out my chopping blade and hack away. It’s actually easier. It’s the true ginsu knife experience.

    Also, I gather that dried sausages tend to rely on a competing bacterial culture to keep botulism and the like under control. They actually inject bacterial cultures as they do for cheese. Between keeping their kitchens clean and flooding the environment with competitive, safe for consumption bacteria, they tend to get pretty good results without nitrates. I’ve kept salamis for months. It was a bit hard, but being drier, it was probably even safer.

    This process is not flawless. As with raw milk cheeses, there is some risk. Of course, there is some risk of food poisoning from nitrate based cured meats, and from pasteurized cheeses. Artisanal outfits can keep their standards pretty high. The raw milk dairy in our area is amazingly clean and the folks who run it are extremely careful. If they went into industrial production, they’d be hard pressed to keep the food stream safe.

  5. #5 Kaleberg
    November 3, 2007

    Pork shoulder is good, but butt is the way to go if you like a stronger pork flavor. Also, go for uncured bacon, pork belly fat, if you can get it.

    I know I sound like a food loon, but I do eat every day, usually several times.

  6. #6 Abercrombie
    December 1, 2009

    This process is not flawless. As with raw milk cheeses, there is some risk. Of course, there is some risk of food poisoning from nitrate based cured meats, and from pasteurized cheeses. Artisanal outfits can keep their standards pretty high. The raw milk dairy in our area is amazingly clean and the folks who run it are extremely careful. If they went into industrial production, they’d be hard pressed to keep the food stream safe.