In Texas, no real breakfast is ever complete without a side of sausage–and we’re not talking about the link kind either. When I was a little girl, every Sunday we’d eat a hearty breakfast of pancakes, eggs, bacon, and sausage–and our sausage was the patty kind. In fact, I never even knew the link variety existed until I went to a Yankee restaurant and the waitress handed me a plate of eggs (sunnyside up) with two wieners on it. All that went through my head was why in the world would she put hotdogs on my plate when it was clearly not lunchtime yet.
For years I’ve endeavored to recreate the taste of all the flavors in the sausage we ate every Sunday morning. I don’t remember the brand of sausage my parents bought (probably Owens), but I do remember how perfectly seasoned it tasted down to the last chew. I even bet that if I had been allowed I would have eaten an entire plate of sausage piled high every morning.
Sausage is traditionally made with fairly fatty pork; typically you want around 20-30% fat and I believe that’s because it makes for easier sausage-making when forming links. However, in my approach to eating healthier I’ve found a way to make sausage with very lean cuts of meat, adding no water, and using ingredients and equipment that you’d find in most kitchens. The sausage in this recipe is all beef and 93% lean, however feel free to mix half with pork meat or use all pork for a more traditional meat flavor. You can really use any type of course ground meat you’d like such as turkey, pork, beef, deer, elk, moose, antelope, goat, or lamb. I especially recommend using half pork meat when using game meat.
Kitchen equipment you’ll need:
- large bowl for mixing
- Press and Seal or plastic wrap
- your hands
- 5 pounds ground meat
- 1 T dried thyme
- 1 T rosemary
- 1 T ground sage
- 2 tsp ground cayenne
- 2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 tsp black pepper, ground
- 1 T salt
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 T paprika
- 1/2 cup maple syrup or pancake syrup
- 3 Arby’s Horsey Sauce or 3 T prepared horseradish (optional)
Before making the sausage, have all your ingredients and equipment on hand. Also, be near a source of clean water and soap so you can wash your hands as necessary to help prevent the spread of bacteria that is always a risk when handling any type of raw meat. Also note that the ingredients are a basic guideline to get you started on making sausage–I recommend that you start with the amount listed, cook a small piece and adjust ingredients as needed. For instance, you may want to use more or less salt, sage or cayenne pepper than the recipe indicates.
First, mix all your ingredients by hand thoroughly making sure to incorporate all herbs evenly throughout. This is when you can cook up a small piece to taste and adjust ingredients as needed.
Break off about a one pound portion and lay on a piece of Press and Seal or plastic wrap that is longer than it is wide (about 18 inches long). I like Press and Seal because it is easier to work with than plastic wrap, especially after freezing. Form the portion of meat into a loaf as shown like you would if making meatloaf or a small loaf of bread.
Fold up the bottom side of the Press and Seal or plastic wrap tightly around the meat.
Fold down the top side of the Press and Seal or plastic wrap tightly around both the meat and pulled up Press and Seal or plastic wrap.
Twist ends in the opposite direction from each other or in other words twist one side to the right and one side to the left–this is very important if you are to get a tight wrap.
Give one end about ten twists, then in the opposite direction twist the other side until the sausage becomes tight and round (about 10 or so more twists).
Place in refrigerator for 24 hours to allow the flavors to come together (some people refer to this step as blooming). After 24 hours, use by date on original package or freeze for later use.
To use, after thawing, cut off ends and unwrap. Form patties and cook on both sides for about five minutes for regular sized patties or until no longer pink inside. I especially like these sausages between two sides of a flaky biscuit! For biscuits and gravy, don’t make patties, just brown the meat.
Makes 5 one pound sausages.
PS: No picture of the cooked sausage, because I ate it too fast.