For those of you who have read my rib trimmin’ post, I have my follow up on what to do with all those meat scraps. We like to use everything we can here, so we turned these scraps into INCREDIBLE breakfast sausage. We ended up with several pounds of trimmings to repurpose. If you don’t have pork scraps, you can still make this recipe with a pork butt (aka Boston Butt or Pork Shoulder).
One of my favorite breakfast sausages is made by Bob Evans. All things considered, the ingredients aren’t horrible:
Pork, Ham Fresh, Pork Tenderloins, Water, Salt, Spice(s), Monosodium Glutamate
However, the treatment of the pigs and the use of MSG (monosodium glutamate) are highly controversial. The animals are frequently given feed that includes antibiotics that cause antibiotic resistant bacteria as well. To avoid all of this, we tried MSG-free breakfast sausages made with more humanely treated animals that were free from antibiotics. They tasted, well, off. None had the sagey goodness of Bob Evans. The motto in our house is if you want something, you make it. So, my husband did. We wanted wonderfully sagey, MSG-free breakfast sausage made from humanely raised animals that weren’t treated with hormones or antibiotics. He delivered.
My husband came across a great recipe from Alton Brown simply titled “Breakfast Sausage“. The recipe combines sage, rosemary and thyme. Alton adds brown sugar, nutmeg and a dash of heat with cayenne and red pepper flakes. The sausage is really amazing. We alter the recipe to suit to our taste, and the fact that we have nearly 6 pounds of pork trimmings from our ribs. If you decide to give this a go, you will never go back to store bought again, I promise.
As a bonus, we made 3 racks of ribs and converted the trimmings into 6 pounds of breakfast sausage, all for under $30. You can barely get 2 racks of ribs for that price. Quite amazing when you cut out the middleman and do things the old fashioned way!
The special piece of equipment you will need is a grinder. We got a grinder attachment for our kitchenaid mixer. It does a fairly good job, if not overly taxed. Keep meat in small dice and not too frozen and usually the mixer can keep up.
The key to great sausage texture is keeping the meat cold. Alton recommends stirring all the ingredients together, then chilling for an hour, then grinding. We usually have “not quite thawed” pork that we stir the other ingredients into, then grind.
Sage Sausage (rib trimmings version)
6 pounds of rib trimmings
4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Sage Breakfast Sausage (pork butt version)
2 pounds pork butt (2 1/2 pounds with bone), diced into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 pound fat back, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage leaves
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Directions for both:
Thoroughly combine all the ingredients except the water in a large bowl and chill for at least an hour. The mixture should be very cold, almost frozen.
Grind the meat mixture and return to the bowl. Add enough water to make the mixture sticky, about 1/4 to 1/2 cup.
Form into patties. In a lightly greased fry pan over medium high heat, cook until completely done, about 15 minutes. Otherwise, wrap in wax paper and aluminum foil and freeze until ready to use.