What do you do when you’re running low on sausage for breakfast? Why, make your own, of course.
Well, sometimes you just get tired of homemade pancetta or even Merguez sausage with your morning omelet. Sounds impossible, I know. But in fact, just to shake things up a bit, I thought some fresh pork sausage was in order, especially since this month’s Charcutepalooza challenge is all about grinding meat. I picked up some fatty pork butt at Whole Foods and away we go.
The recipe for fresh breakfast sausage in Michael Ruhlman’s Charcuterie is a good one, with lots of sage and fresh ginger to brighten things up. My wife says I oversalted this batch, which tells me I need a more accurate kitchen scale. This clunky old analog version of mine work fine measuring three pounds of pork. But getting a read on 22 grams of salt is darn near impossible.
The reason for the fractions was, the piece of pork shoulder I purchased was just 2.8 pounds, compared to the 5 pounds Ruhlman calls for in his recipe. Quantities for all of the other ingredients had to be run through the calculator. I used the measures for grams, since they are so much easier to convert from a percentage. Otherwise, the recipe looks like this:
Combine 5 pounds pork shoulder, diced, with 1 1/2 ounces (40 grams) kosher salt (about 3 tablespoons), 5 tablespoons (50 grams) peeled and finely grated fresh ginger, 5 tablespoons (30 grams) tightly packed finely chopped fresh sage, 1 tablespoon (18 grams) minced garlic, 2 teaspoons (6 grams) ground black pepper.
Pass the mix through a small die on your grinder. Personally, I like to first roughly grind the meat, then mix it with the spices. I then ran it through a #5 or 4.5 millimeter die, which worked much more easily than my smallest die.
Finally, mix in 1 cup ice water. I do this with by hand with a spatula, but Ruhlman recommends a mixer with a paddle attachment.
It’s always a good idea to saute a bit of your sausage to check for seasoning. That won’t help too much if you’ve already over-salted it. But you can always add more sage or ginger. Or, if it is too salty, you could correct it by grinding some more pork.
Stuff the sausage into lamb casings if you like. Mine, I’ll be cooking as good old-fashioned patties.