Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sausage-making Primer

This is the recipe for the Italian sausage that we use now on our pizzas. I fry it loose no more than the day before use as it has a tendency to dry out. I adapted the recipe from one in Charcuterie, by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn.

10 pounds boneless diced pork butt.
6 tablespoons kosher salt
4 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons toasted fennel seeds
1 tablespoon ground coriander
6 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon Ancho chile powder*
8 tablespoons dry oregano
8 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
4 tablespoons red pepper flakes
4 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
11/2 cup cold beer
1/2 cup cold red wine vinegar

* I make the chile powder by using the dried chile pods available in most markets and roasting them in the oven until completely dry and brittle. Remove the tops and pour our the seeds and then grind. The powder has an amazing smokiness which I love.

As soon as you get back from grabbing the stuff you forgot the first (and second) time you went to the store, begin drinking.

Place equipment in freezer, you want to keep the meat as cold as possible throughout the process for safety reasons.

Gather all your seasonings and repeat step one.

Toast the fennel seeds...

...and add to other seasonings and mix well.

Get a nice sharp knife, I like Howard here...

...and about ten pounds of pork butt.

Dice the pork into one inch cubes and combine with the seasoning mix. You can grind immediately, or cover and chill over night.

Be sure to save a few chunks to saute and wrap in a flour tortilla for a tasty snack.

Grind chunks, I prefer using a course plate. If you use a hand grinder you should set the bowl you're grinding into in an ice bath. Using an electric grinder, properly chilled equipment and meat, you should be able to work fast enough to skip this step.


Add beer and vinegar and mix for one minute using the paddle attachment. Sausage can then be fed into casings to make links, formed into patties, or fried loose.

If you don't have a meat grinder or counter top mixer you can get decent results using a food processor (gonna need to be a burly one though) and pulsing in short bursts to the desired consistency. Be sure to use an the ice bath if doing it this way and pre-chill the blades and bowls as this method creates a lot of unwanted heat.


Maria said...

God, you are killing me here. I want some. Now.

Eric said...

It would be great with an apple martini.

-Sarah- said...

don't think I'll be trying this recipe anytime soon. I'm more of an "open this can and heat it up with that can" type of chef... but I will be in your neck o' the woods July 4th weekend so save me some good stuff!

Eric said...

You got it.

Terroni said...

Eric, when are you coming to Baltimore to cook for your favorite poor, starving young doctor?

I'll buy the beer.

Eric said...

Will trade food for health care.
Or beer, you're on.