Making Your Own Sausage (Or Just the Seasoning)

Months before getting my meat grinder for Christmas, I anticipated the day that I’d be able to make my own sausage. As soon as I got the grinder for Christmas, I got to work looking for good sausage recipes to try.

Best Websites for Sausage Recipes

A quick Google search revealed 3 excellent websites with lots of sausage-making tips and recipes: 1. http://www.meatprocessingproducts.com/sausage-recipes.html
2. http://www.wedlinydomowe.com/sausage-recipes
3. http://lpoli.50webs.com/AlphabeticalList.htm#FRESH

How We Chose Which Recipes to Try

I browsed through hundreds of recipes found on these sites and chose about 25 to try based on these criteria:
1. Normal meats, like beef, chicken, and pork. I skipped over recipes that called for veal, game, and organ meats (yuck!).

2. Fresh. With few exceptions, I skipped all smoked, cured, fermented, and other heavily processed meats. Fresh sausage is uncured, therefore much healthier than the other types.

3. No weird ingredients. I chose sausages that included just meat and basic spices. Some recipes called for strange curing salts, even for fresh sausages. I skipped those as well as some recipes that called for herbs/spices that are rare and expensive. I made substitutions for only a few spices when they weren’t the dominant flavors in the recipe.

Our Rating Criteria

For the past 4 months, I’ve been testing those recipes in my kitchen. My husband and I gave each sausage a rating (out of 10) based on 3 criteria:

1. Taste. Is it yummy? Plain and simple.

2. Texture. I found that I like only meat + spices, no added fillers like bread, potatoes, or rice.

3. Versatility. Is the sausage good alone? Does the flavor blend well when mixed in with other foods? Does it go well with lots of things, or are the flavors too exotic to do that?

Our Favorite Sausage Recipes

The results are in! After testing sausage recipe for several months, we found our absolute favorites. It turns out that all the ones we like are ones that are commonly sold in the US.

1. Spicy Italian: Lasagna, Pizza, Spaghetti, Zuppa Toscana
2. AndouilleJambalaya, Gumbo
3. BreakfastOmeletsQuicheBiscuits & GravySouthern Country CasserolePupusas; Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Muffins
4. Chicken Apple: stand alone
5. PolishChiliShepherd’s PiePotatoes Au Gratin, German Stew
6. Bratwurst: stand alone

In case I forgot any, just click the tag “sausage” at the bottom of this post.

Recipe Notes

1. I omitted any alcohol called for, as well as the occasional weird type of curing salt. (You’ll know by the chemical-sounding name.)

2. I make 1 lb. at a time. Use your best guess when it comes to the really small measurements (like 1/12th of a teaspoon, etc.) They work out just fine.

3. Baking meats in the oven as a substitute for smoking or fermenting (pepperoni, salami) did not turn out well. The meat dried out too much and didn’t come close to the texture of the real thing.

4. You can use pre-ground meat and just mix in the spices.

5. No need to buy casings: it’s fine to keep sausage as crumbles or form it into patties.

6. Pork makes the best sausage. Beef is too expensive, and chicken doesn’t have enough flavor on its own.

7. If the recipe calls for a filler, such as bread, potatoes, or rice, you will definitely taste it. I didn’t like any of those as much.

It takes a little time, but the savings are pretty substantial. I never used to buy anything but the cheap breakfast sausage in the roll, but now I can have any of these for about 2.00/lb (or less, if the pork is on a super sale.)

Sausage Seasoning Hack

Want sausage flavor without the meat? Mix up a bunch of the spices in a jar and use them to season potatoes or vegetables.

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