Want to hear a story about how I am an idiot? I thought so! Here goes…
I have decided to start making sausage from scratch. First, I bought the KitchenAid stand mixer sausage stuffer attachment. Then I bought a book on home sausage making. I also did some internet research on just how to go about this endeavor. Everything I read indicated you need two things for sausage making: casings (either hog or sheep), and pork fat. I ordered some casings on Amazon, but now I needed pork fat.
The things I read weren’t terribly specific, they just said pork fat. That’s lard, right? I ventured to the lower east side of Manhattan, found a butcher shop, and they sold me five pounds of lard.
Before I made my first batch of sausage, I happened to run across an internet article that further specified the term pork fat. It’s not lard, people. No, when someone says you need pork fat for sausage, they are meaning pork backfat. Lard is rendered backfat. Backfat is taken directly from the pig, and that’s what you need. Groan.
But that’s okay, I’ll just get some backfat. I found a company online that would ship and ordered five pounds of backfat from them. It wasn’t cheap – about $39. Then, the company would only ship via FedEx two-day delivery, so shipping came in at an exorbitant $23. Oy.
So it shipped in two days as promised, and upon opening the shipment and finding the brochures, I realize that the shop that sold me the backfat is in Manhattan. They are a twenty minute subway ride from my apartment. And I just paid them $23 in shipping!!! Arrrrgh. Not my finest moment.
But, I now have the backfat, it did its job beautifully, and I made two pounds of bulk breakfast sausage that is oh so delicious. I used one pound to make breakfast for dinner with scrambled eggs and grits. But it would have also been delicious with these buttermilk biscuits. Now if I can just figure out to get through 5 pounds of lard! I mean, there’s only so much pie crust one can make…
Source: adapted from The Sausage Cookbook Bible, by Ellen Brown
Note: I made bulk sausage, so that is how I will write the recipe.
2 tbs vegetable oil
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 pounds boneless pork butt
1/2 pound pork backfat
2 tsp dried sage
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Set aside and let cool completely.
Cut the pork and backfat into 1 inch cubes. Make sure they are very chilled, then run them through a meat grinder on the coarse setting.
Add the sage, salt, pepper, marjoram, and nutmeg to the meat. Then add the onion mixture.
Also add 1/4 cup ice water to the pork mixture and mix together with your hands until well blended. Fry 1 tablespoon of the mixture to taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
Transfer the mixture to a plastic food storage bag and refrigerate at least 30 minutes to marry the flavors.
When ready to cook, preheat a skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle in a touch of olive or vegetable oil.
Form patties into desired size and fry until just cooked through. Cook time will vary depending on your patty’s size and thickness, but I formed mine pretty small – standard breakfast sausage patty size, and mine took about 3 minutes per side.