We tend to buy our meat in a monthly stock-up package from Steve’s Meat Market, our local butcher. (It lasts a while – we can only get that package every two or three months.) And invariably, there are some sort of pork steaks, pork shoulders, or pork cutlets. And we don’t eat those too quickly — only because not everyone in the family is fond of them — so they tend to stack up in the freezer downstairs.
But now I can make my own sausage. And everyone loves that.
First, I got a meat grinder attachment for my KitchenAid stand mixer from Amazon.com for about $36. I don’t have many attachments for the mixer, truth be told, because of their high cost mostly, but this one seemed like a great idea. And I was right. I watched a couple of videos on YouTube to watch how this particular grinder works and I was all set.
I grabbed a pork shoulder from the deep freeze downstairs and let it thaw just to the point where I can cut it into chunks that will fit in the grinder. A little bit frozen, cold at a minimum, helps because the fat in the meat doesn’t break down and gum up the works.
I added some fresh garlic, salt, pepper, and other spices.
For example, on my Chicago Pizza I use nothing more than this, garlic, salt, and pepper because I once heard Mark Malnati (of Lou Malnati’s fame) say that’s all they used for their pizzas. And it works great.
My Italian sausage gets a bit of ground fennel seed. (My wife does not like whole fennel seed in her sausage but ground up seems to be okay.)
For breakfast sausage, maybe some sage, paprika, and red pepper flakes. But recently my wife and I were walking in old downtown Overland Park and stopped in Penzeys Spices and lo and behold I found Breakfast Sausage seasoning with salt, pepper, paprika, sage, cayenne (a touch), a little nutmeg (really, I barely taste it), a little sugar, and thyme. And it tastes like some old familiar sausage recipes you’ve probably had before. It is a comfortable seasoning, saves a bit of time, and reduces the chance for error. Good deal, eh?
I also grabbed a sticker from Penzeys because this is how I feel too!
I’ll confess. If I’d known it was this easy, I’d have done it long ago.
I’m not doing casings. At least not yet. Just bulk. But when it comes time to perfect a bratwurst, I’m all in.
The whole family agrees the taste is amazing. And now we’ve got the pork steak surplus under control.
I feel so… frugal.
Local tomatoes, mushrooms, eggs, and now sausage. And my muffins too!
Can’t beat it.