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The Hunt for Great Sausage Recipes

Variety of sausages
Old-Fashioned German Link Sausage
Jalapeno-Cheddar Summer Sausage
Breakfast Sausage Patties & Links
by Cheryl Hill-Burrier

It′s that time of year again when my husband, Larry, feels the hair rise up on the back of his neck. His walk becomes more stealthy, and his eyes (in the dark) seem to take on the appearance of our dogs′ night vision. Very creepy. Now, if you think he’s getting into Halloween mode by going all Wolfman on me, you′re wrong.

What′s really happening here occurs every year, and it′s all due to the approach of deer season, a time that our family looks forward to because it means fresh sausage! So, how about you join in on the fun – and you won′t have to hunt for the ingredients any farther than your own grocery store.

Yep, this is where we start singin′ the old German sausage-making song about Johnny Rebeck. Not really. This is where we set things straight about making homemade sausage using a variety of recipes, the finest meats, and a multitude of flavorful ingredients. Also, bear in mind that the end product doesn′t always have to be formed into links.

In fact, I′m gonna prove that you don′t need a butcher′s experience, fancy grinder or speedy stuffer to do the job. You can even get packages of pre-ground meat from your grocery store, which means you or anyone else can make homemade sausage in no time at all, with No Additives, No Preservatives and Made the Way You Like It!

Now, just to make my point about the popularity of sausage, try cruising′ through your grocery store meat section and take notice of all the types of sausages that are out there. Do you like Italian sausage on a hard roll or in your lasagna? How about sausage patties with breakfast? And, what′s spaghetti without meatballs? Then, there’s pigs-in-a-blanket, and those incredibly tasty summer sausages everyone loves to eat at parties or while watching the ball games. Moreover, I bet your kids won′t let you set foot out of the store without picking up some hot dogs.

So, why the heck aren′t you making your own. It′s not rocket science. Larry′s family has been making homemade sausage for over 150 years -- and that was B.E. (before electricity)! All you really need is a couple of good recipes, some ground meat, a few flavoring ingredients, waxed paper, butcher paper (the white paper butchers use) and some plastic baggies, and you′re set to go. Now, if you′re interested in making your own links with casings, there are some really good manual sausage stuffers out there for about sixty bucks that come complete with instructions.

As far as storing your sausage, the USDA website states that, although freezing keeps food almost indefinitely, their recommended storage times ensure the highest quality of taste and appearance, which for sausage is 2 to 3 months.

So, here are some of Larry′s best sausage recipes, and our family′s favorites. Try making them one time just as the recipes state. After you′ve tasted them, if you prefer a little more of this or a little less of that, make notes about your changes, and you will have created your own family sausage recipes!

Now, looky there -- you didn′t have to hunt too hard after all, did you!

Breakfast Sausage Links
Breakfast Links
Using A Plastic Baggie Filled With Ground Sausage & Spices
Squeeze Meat Through 1/4-Inch Hole Onto Wax Paper

Old-Fashioned Sage Breakfast Sausage

To make all-pork sausage, just substitute the pound of ground beef with a pound of ground pork for a total of 2-1/2 pounds of meat.
  • 1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork (80% lean/20% fat)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon coarse black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic granules
  • 1 tablespoon red chili pepper flakes, crushed
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon rubbed sage
  • 1/2 tablespoon (1-1/2 teaspoons) ground yellow mustard seed
  • 1/4 cup nonfat dry milk (binder to hold meat and ingredients together)
  • 1/4 cup water
In a large mixing bowl, combine thawed meats with dry ingredients and mix by hand until thoroughly blended. Add water and mix well again. Refrigerate meat for 30 minutes.

Sausage Patties can be formed by hand in your choice of sizes and placed on wax paper. Note: If you freeze them, use two pieces of waxed paper between each patty; this will make them easy to separate and thaw.

Breakfast Links can be formed by filling a regular plastic baggie with meat mixture and then cutting a quarter-inch hole in one corner of the baggie and squeezing the meat out onto wax paper.

For both patties and links, multiple rows can be created by using waxed paper to separate each row of patties or links (see Note, above) and then wrapping in freezer paper. Write the recipe name and date on the outside of the freezer paper. Sausage can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 2 to 3 months.

Place thawed patties or links in a skillet and cook over medium-low heat for 10 to 13 minutes. Bake patties or links in a preheated 375°F oven for 18 to 20 minutes. Breakfast sausage can also be crumbled, fried and added to cream gravy for egg or biscuit toppings. Link sausage makes great pigs-in-a-blanket. Makes 2-1/2 pounds sausage or approximately 10 patties or 20 breakfast links.

Sweet Italian Sausage

  • 1-3/4 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork (80% lean/20% fat)
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • 3/4 tablespoon whole fennel seed
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup nonfat dry milk (binder to hold meat and ingredients together)
  • 1/2 cup water
In a large mixing bowl, combine thawed meats with dry ingredients and mix by hand until thoroughly blended. Add water and mix well again.

Meat can be made into links by stuffing into casings, or wrap loose meat in 2 packages containing 1-1/4 pounds per package. Label each package with recipe name and date, and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freezer for 2 to 3 months. The meat can be made into meatballs or cooked as ground meat and used in Italian meat sauces such as lasagna. Makes 2-1/2 pounds sausage.

Old-Fashioned German Link Sausage

The curing salt called for in this recipe is found in most grocery stores, and should be used only if you intend to dry or smoke the sausage.
  • 3 pounds lean ground beef
  • 3 pounds ground pork (80% lean/20% fat)
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic granules
  • 1/2 tablespoon crushed red chili pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon ground yellow mustard seed
  • 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk (binder to hold meat and ingredients together)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon curing salt (optional – use if drying or smoking sausage)
In a large mixing bowl, combine thawed meats with dry ingredients and mix by hand until thoroughly blended. Add water and mix well again.

Stuff the meat into casings and tie off the ends. Wrap in butcher paper and label with recipe name and date. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freezer for 2 to 3 months.

Cook thawed links by placing in a skillet over low heat and frying for 10 minutes per side, or simmer in skillet with 1 inch of water over low heat for about 10 minutes per side. Great when served with sauerkraut, or placed on hard rolls with mustard and sauerkraut. Makes 6 pounds or 6 1-pound links.

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