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Sep 14, 2011 05:38 PM

Sausage recipes

care to share your favorite sausage recipes?

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  1. Sure!

    Italian Sausage:

    1 lb. high-quality, additive-free ground pork
    3/4 teaspoon fennel seed
    1 teaspoon salt
    3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more if you like)
    1/4 teaspoon sugar (for browning)

    Mix gently, making sure that seasonings are well-distributed. Cover and place in fridge for 24 hours before using for best flavor. If you're in a hurry, as I usually am, use right away.

    Breakfast Sausage

    1 lb. high-quality, additive-free ground pork
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    1 Tablespoon or more ground sage
    1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
    3/4 teaspooon sugar (for browning)
    1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
    1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

    Mix gently, making sure that seasonings are well-distributed. Cover and place in fridge for 24 hours before using for best flavor. If you're in a hurry, as I usually am, use right away.

    These recipes are obviously very simple, but I've found the flavors to match how I think these sausages should taste. Feel free to adjust to regional/personal tastes!

    29 Replies
    1. re: sandylc

      Thanks sandylc! Looks simple enough . . . and both sound delicious.

      1. re: sandylc

        Thanks for these, I'm especially wanting to try the breakfast sausage recipe as I'm always trying ot find plain pork ones that taste mainly of pork. Dumb question: do you put it in casings or just do the pan-fried patty thing?

        1. re: grayelf

          You can cook it in patties or you can cook it crumbled and make cream gravy with sausage in it for biscuits.

          1. re: sandylc

            I like the looks of the Breakfast Sausage, Sandy. My recipe is lacking....OOMPH....and yours seems to have that!

            What I do with my breakfast sausage, and I make it in 5-pound batches, is patty them up six to a pound and quick-freeze the patties on cookie sheets. Then zip-bag the frozen patties.

            If I want patties, I have patties. If I want a pound, for biscuits and gravy, I thaw six patties.

            1. re: Monch

              Great idea. I should maybe learn to plan ahead! Good ground pork is sort of hard to come by in my neck of the woods. Hormel brand pork mostly rules, and they love to add all sorts of stuff to their pork. We have to search out smaller places, farmers, etc. to get good pork, so it would make sense for us to follow your lead and make a whole bunch at a time.

              1. re: sandylc

                Ah...I actually grind my own. My local supermarket has a cryo-pak of "pork ends"...usually about 4.5 pounds then I add my own pork fat to recipe.

                (Have a frozen stash of pork fat from a local source)

                I dice the meat and fat, toss with all the dry ingredients, soft-freeze the result. Then grind the whole mess together. Does a really nice job of distributing the spices.

                Since I don't stuff the breakfast sausage, and WANT it to be crumbly for gravy, I don't mix the grind, like I would for andouille.

                Since I have to have the KitchenAid grind attachment out and dirty, anyway, might as well rock out five pounds!

                1. re: Monch

                  Oh, my.... This past summer my son decided to make homemade bratwursts...

                  Still on college schedule, he started grinding and stuffing casings at 11 pm. He used a hand-crank grinder that didn't really attach well to any surface in the kitchen, so it was a struggle.

                  The next morning, every surface in the kitchen, including the floor, was slimy with pork fat. We had to use a steamer to clean up.

                  The brats were delicious!

                  I guess I should look into the attachment for my KA. Ha.

                  1. re: sandylc

                    My ONE attempt at using the KA stuffer, a separate purchase from the grinder, resulted in the purchase of a 5-pound stuffer from

                    Grinder = Good; Stuffer = Bad

              2. re: Monch

                More red pepper flakes can always be added, as well... but be careful! You can fry a bit to test the seasoning.

          2. re: sandylc

            My basic Italian recipe is close to yours with no sugar, but added cayenne. Its here

            With colder weather just around the corner, I'm jonsing to dry-cure in my basement again.

            vday, I'd suggest "Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing" by Rytek Kutas, "Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing" by Micheal Ruhlman and perhaps "The Art of Charcuterie" by John Kowalski and the CIA. I just picked up the last one yesterday and am looking forward to a weekend of perusing and planning.

            1. re: porker

              +1 on Kutas and Ruhlman...with Ruhlman being a little more "approachable".

              Wouldn't you say, Porker? Kutas tends to be more like a textbook, than a cookbook, but is a fantastic reference nonetheless...just don't expect it to be a modern cookbook.

              Just one amateur's observations.

              I got my Kutas on and think I paid $9.99

              1. re: Monch

                I got my Kutas (could never remember the Kutas name, but Rytek sticks with me....) at a used book store for $5. I didn't even open it when deciding to buy - just that 5 bucks seemed a bargain even if the book was lousy. When I started reading, I realized it was dated, but it has boatloads of good info nonetheless.

                Ruhlman is slicker, nice pictures, and up to date (was given to me as a gift). It also seemed to have sparked a mini charcuterie boom where you have Ruhlman groupies and disciples. Nothing wrong with this - just an observation. It seems, though, that some people write about Ruhlman as if he is the dawn of charcuterie, when in fact its been around for a while.
                Perhaps his style de-mystifies the art more than other books?

                As I mentioned, I picked up "The Art of Charcuterie" just yesterday. It was almost an impulse buy, but one I did not take lightly. In Canada, this book lists just shy of $80. I haven't paid that much for a book since university...

                I bought it because........ had I not, I would have been agonizing over it all the way home, through today, and the weekend. Like I say, it looks promising as hell and I wish I didn't have a pesky wedding to attend this weekend just sos I can peruse at leisure!

                1. re: porker

                  "It's been around for awhile...."


                  Laughed out loud.

                  1. re: Monch

                    I am very pleased to see my bit of irony has not gone un-noticed! Hehe.

                    1. re: porker

                      The rest of the office thinks my sausage has slipped off my cracker....oh well.

              2. re: porker

                Yeah, my kid did a few sessions of home-curing last summer and over winter break. There were all sorts of things hanging in my basement. He used the Ruhlman book and was happy with it.

              3. re: sandylc


                Gotta say that the breakfast sausage is spot on to my taste.

                Made a large batch and scaled up the ingredients proportionally.

                Have made sausage gravy, for biscuits, and even had a patty as a sandwich for dinner last night.

                The recipe is spot-on to my taste. I ground my own pork rib ends and added 10% white pork fat to get to approximately 80/20 lean to fat.

                After grinding, I ran the batch through the stand mixer, with the paddle, to fully incorporate the ingredients.

                You're right...however...better flavor the second day.

                Thanks for taking the time to post the recipe.

                1. re: Monch

                  Thank you so very much for saying so. I like it, too. I appreciate that you took the time to post your positive response.

                  1. re: sandylc

                    Late to responding, but I too really enjoy the breakfast sausage from sandylc. So quick and easy but tastes like you slaved over it for ages. My kind of recipe ;-). Many thanks for posting it.

                    1. re: grayelf

                      Thank you!! I needed that spirits-lifter today!

                      1. re: sandylc

                        Forgot to post.

                        Sandy's sausage was the star of the Thanksgiving "Stuffin' Muffins" that I made for the "out-laws" on Turkey Day.

                        Everyone wanted my stuffing recipe (it was out of my head), but I had to tell them that the sausage came from a fantastic recipe posted on Chowhound!

                        1. re: Monch

                          Mrs. Porker just started adding sausage to her stuffing. Very good indeed!

                2. re: sandylc

                  For one pound of pork 3/4 teaspoon of fennel is just a wee too much,it just over powers pork ,you know Italian sausages are made also without fennel.

                  1. re: mutti

                    Whatever works for you. I think it's a good amount and that fennel is pretty much the defining flavor of Italian (-American) sausage.

                    Are you Scandinavian? :-)

                    1. re: sandylc

                      German and Italian.Tell me do you roast your fennel??It's just that I've been following Lidia's recipe for years, she uses 1 Tablespoon to 6 pounds of pork.

                      1. re: mutti

                        No, I don't toast it. I probably should.

                        1. re: sandylc

                          FWIW: An old Italian first showed me how to make sausage. He never toasted the fennel (and so I don't). I'm not saying you should or shouldn't, just different strokes is all.
                          I don't have strict ratio, but I use 2 handfulls for 1 leg of meat (about 15lbs).

                          1. re: porker

                            Although I don't mind fennel at all, my favorite Italian sausage is handmade daily by the ancient Sicilian guy who has a deli down the street from me, and it is utterly fennel-free. Don't know if he just doesn't like it, or if Sicilians don't do it that way or what, but it's still unmistakably Italian … and he's been doing it that way for about 60 years.

                            1. re: Will Owen

                              Yeah, I always thought fennel was a defining Italian sausage flavor.
                              We were at a family run restaurant a couple of years ago. These folks do their own fresh/dried sausage, soprasseta, cappicolli, and prosciutto. I mentioned to Joe (might have been his brother Dino) that I missed the fennel flavor in their sausage. "Oh, you must be thinking of _____________ kind of sausage. We don't put it in".
                              Fill in blank with area of Italy that uses fennel in sausage (I don't remember...its a bring your own wine place....).
                              Its the first time I heard that fennel in sausage is an Italian regional thing.

                              I prefer them with fennel...
                              But I do get the idea that regionalism runs deep in Italy; if your family makes anything a certain way (sausage with or without fennel, for example), doing it differently is sacrilege.
                              My old Italian friend (he's since passed) thought I was nuts when modifying the recipe to something like merguez. Sure, he realized theres plenty of different kinds of sausage in the world....its just that you don't make them.

                3. You can mess around with chorizo's spice profiles quite a bit. But here is a basic recipe. You can scale up if you need to.

                  1 lb ground pork, not too lean
                  1/8 lb pork fat diced finely
                  1/4 cup white vinegar
                  1/4 cup dry sherry
                  1 tsp salt
                  3 crushed garlic cloves, large
                  2 T good paprika
                  1/2 tsp cumin
                  1/2 tsp dried oregano
                  1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
                  1/4 tsp ground cloves
                  1/4 tsp ground coriander

                  It's best if you mix all this stuff together and let it sit for a couple days in the fridge, but it's not strictly necessary. You can form this into patties or stuff it into a sausage casing. Each time I make it, the spices are a little different.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: cowboyardee

                    This looks like really good sausage. I wonder where the heat is? Is that a regional thing, maybe? I haven't had much success with chorizo, so I will try this one - would it be a sin to subsitute ancho chili powder for the paprika? I'm guessing that the vinegar is what mine was missing - thanks for filling that in for me!

                    1. re: sandylc

                      There's not much heat in mine, or maybe none - depends on how spicy your paprika is.

                      Subbing in ancho chili powder isn't a sin at all. Go right ahead. Sounds good. Ancho has a pretty distinct flavor so try adding a little to the mix, then fry up a tiny chunk. Taste and add more if desired. If you want more heat without more ancho flavor, add some cayenne or red pepper flakes as well.

                      1. re: sandylc

                        sandy, i am in the portuguese chorizo camp and i think the heat there comes from pimenton- both the hot and the sweet, plus cayenne. La Vera is the best pimenton brand.(over chinata).

                    2. Ruhlman and Polcyn's Charcuterie is a good place to start, especially if you are just starting out and need to learn basic techiques.

                      Here are a couple of good online sources for recipes. In fact, they are the only good online sources I've found.



                      If you compare recipes for the same sausages in Charcuterie and the two web sites you'll see there's no "correct" version of any sausage, so feel free to experiment. One thing I have noticed is the quality of meat you use is very important in fresh sausage, and critical in cold smoked, dry cured, and fermented sausages. For me there are 3 categories of pork: supermarket, Niman Ranch, and pasture raised. Supermarket is fine when you are starting out and prone to making mistakes, and Niman is good for fresh sausages and cooked or hot smoked sausages like andouille, but I only use pasture raised pork in dry cured and fermented sausages, even though it costs 4 times the supermarket price. After all, trying to improve the taste of mediocre pork by tweaking the spices is like putting lipstick on a pig.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Zeldog

                        I like the advice, Zeldog.

                        I've been doing my own andouille for several years, even investing in a Bradley digital smoker, and am beginning to branch out. The supermarket stuff has been "acceptable".

                        Have JUST found a wonderful pasture-raised source for pork. Have done Ruhlman's bacon with pork belly from this source....fabulous.

                      2. here's another:

                        Pork and Apple Sausage Patties

                        1 large onion , finely chopped

                        2 large Granny Smith apples, in 1/3 ” dice

                        1/2 fennel bulb, finely chopped

                        2-3 tsp. minced garlic

                        2 T. fresh sage, minced

                        1 T.+ dried thyme

                        1 tsp.+? cayenne

                        2 tsp + ground allspice

                        grated nutmeg (about 1/2 of a nut)

                        1/2 T. coursely ground black pepper

                        1 T. kosher salt

                        4 ou. fresh breadcrumbs

                        1/2 c. heavy cream (or light cream or milk)

                        32 ou. ground pork or pork shoulder mixed w/

                        1/2 lb. chopped raw bacon

                        1/2 c.+?brandy

                        2 T. tamari *

                        1-2 T. teriyaki sauce

                        1/2 c. chicken pate(mine has chicken livers,butter, brandy, shallots,apple, allspice, thyme, S and P)

                        *(kikkoman black label, made in japan; or Eden green label, imported from Japan- are the best)

                        Sautee onion,garlic, fennel, and apple in butter 5 minutes+ til soft and translucent, not brown. Add sage through allspice and saute a few minutes. Let cool.

                        Preferably cuisinart the pork shoulder til medium rough ground- not fine like store bought. Transfer to mixer, add nutmeg through pate and mix with paddle to combine well. Add onion mixture a few minutes til fluffy.

                        Saute a small patty of this mixture, taste, and re-season as needed. Re-saute and taste.(the tamari through pate were critical in giving the depth of flavor I was seeking.)

                        With a light touch, form 4" 4 ou. patties to saute/ or freeze, defrost and saute.

                        1. Hey all!

                          Quick question: what's the rule-of-thumb ratio of meat to fat for the typical homemade sausage?

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: biggreenmatt

                            Hiya BGM,
                            Short answer: depends.
                            Longer answer: anywhere from minimal to about 50% fat.

                            When making sausage for drying I use seasoned meat only - no fat. If I were to fry these up for eating, they'd be dry dry dry.

                            When I make "low-fat" sausage I use maybe 10% of fat. Again when frying, its pretty dry, but acceptable in things like sauce.

                            I think for a juicy sausage, you need 30%-50% fat. When grinding, I'd add 2 pieces of meat then 1 piece of fat, giving about 30% fat for this.

                            1. re: porker

                              Yeah, should've clarified- looking to make the usual poach-n-brown sausage, not charcuterie.

                              1. re: biggreenmatt

                                If you're looking for great taste and consistency, 30-40% fat would not be a bad choice. Sounds gross, but hey, it is what it is.
                                This from the USDA:
                                • “Fresh Pork Sausages” may not contain pork byproducts and may contain no more than 50% fat by weight.
                                • “Fresh Beef Sausages” may not contain beef byproducts and may contain no more than 30% fat by weight.
                                • “Breakfast Sausages” may contain meat and meat byproducts and no more than 50% fat by weight.
                                • “Whole Hog Sausage” contains meat from swine in such proportions as are normal to a single animal and no more than 50% fat by weight.
                                • “Italian Sausage Products” are cured or uncured sausages containing at least 85% meat, or a combination of meat and fat, with the total fat content constituting not more than 35% of the finished product. It contains salt, pepper, fennel and/or anise and no more than 3% water. Optional ingredients permitted in Italian Sausages are spices (including paprika) and flavorings, red or green peppers, onions, garlic and parsley, sugar, dextrose and corn syrup.

                                1. re: porker

                                  "...30-40% fat would not be a bad choice. Sounds gross, but hey, it is what it is."

                                  That really isn't gross at all to anyone who knows about food and flavor!!!! Or even health, for that matter.

                                2. re: biggreenmatt

                                  If you're starting with a primal cut like leg or shoulder, save the skin. Grind, season and stuff (you can mix with meat as well, maybe 50/50): cotecchine. Wonderful.

                              2. re: biggreenmatt

                                Re meat to fat ratio, yes, it depends, mainly on your taste. And it's hard to accurately determine that ratio. For me, the rule of thumb is start with a whole chunk of pork butt, about 4-5 lbs. It should have a fat layer 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick on about a third to half the surface. If I had to guess, I'd say that's about 25% fat. This works nicely for fresh sausages. I usually add a little more fat, about a half pound, for dried and cured sausages, but that's a matter of taste. This is for pasture raised pork, which usually has a bit more internal fat. I've found that supermarket pork is rather lean, so if you use that you might want to add a few extra chunks of pure fat.