My family loves homemade breakfast sausage: patties, links, in gravy… it doesn’t really matter. But that pork sausage from the grocery store? It’s not entirely pork! Other ingredients include: mechanically separated meat (also known as “white slime“, the cousin of the “pink slime” that made headlines last year); soy protein concentrate (soybeans, so they can use less actual meat); sodium lactate (salt made from lactic acid); sodium phosphates (another salt that’s been associated with permanent kidney damage in some people); dextrose (a form of sugar); sugar (more sugar); MSG (another salt); sodium diacetate (still more salt!); BHT (a preservative primarily used in cosmetics); and caramel color (an artificial coloring containing two substances believed to cause cancer). That is NOT what I want to feed my family to start their day!
My recipe, in contrast, has three components: pork, sea salt and spices. Plus, it’s easy to make!
- 16 ounces ground pork
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon rubbed sage
- ¼ teaspon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon fresh coarse ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional for those who like their sausage very spicy)
- Combine all ingredients together. Mix thoroughly.
- Shape into thin patties or stuff into casings.
- Fry on medium heat until browned all over. (To reduce fat and calories, bake on a broiling pan at 375F until done.)
Now, I’ve made this both as sausage patties and links. Patties are easiest: you shape them as you would hamburgers, just thinner. (An easy way to get uniform patties is to cut both ends off a tuna can. Put a ball of meat in the can and, using one of the lids you cut off, press down. Voila, thin and perfectly shaped patties!)
To do sausage links, you’ll need a sausage stuffer and casings. I use the stuffer attachment for my Kitchen-Aid Stand Mixer*. It’s a lot more work but, wow, it sure impresses guests! (“You MADE this sausage? Seriously!”) Either way, I make sausage in bulk, usually 8-10 pounds at a time, and pre-cook at least half of that before stashing all of it in the freezer.
Even if you’d rather make your own a pound at a time, this recipe will give you all the taste you’re used to from the commercial stuff, minus the white slime, scary preservatives, and shockingly vast amounts of salt.
Of course, if you’d rather make sausage gravy you can skip the part about shaping it into patties. Simply crumble it in to frying pan and brown as you would ground beef, then follow your favorite sausage gravy recipe.
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