When was the last time you ate real homemade breakfast sausage? For most of us the answer is never with the most likely response being when a thick slice of sausage meat was cut from a plastic chub of breakfast sausage infrequently purchased from the grocery store. Unfortunately, the reality is that we have eaten “breakfast sausage” products that have been precooked and look either like thin flat disks or really thin hotdogs and basically taste really bad.
This fact is really unfortunate for in the world of sausages, most sausages have their origins in countries other than the United States. However, Breakfast Sausage although not unique to the United States, we can claim some ownership. Breakfast sausage was a key part to the large American breakfast, when hard, back breaking, calorie burning manual labor was the norm for most Americans working on their farms. Now, it is an afterthought, added to the breakfast selection at most diners and restaurants and typically is an inferior product.
I have made both sausage patties and links and despite the fact that the homemade sausage patties are really easy to prepare, there is something really special about biting into a breakfast sausage encased in a hog casing. There is no comparison of the flavor, texture and juiciness of a homemade breakfast sausage stuffed into a natural casing.
Ingredients (Recipe can easily be reduced to make a 1 or 2 Pound Batch):
4 Pounds of Ground Pork (3 Pounds of Loin and 1 Pound of Pork Fat)
- 1 Teaspoon of Dried Thyme
- 1 Teaspoon on Ground or Rubbed Sage
- 1 Tablespoon of Fresh Ground / Cracked Black Pepper
- 1 Tablespoon of Kosher Salt
- 1 Teaspoon of Ground Cayenne (preferred) or Red Pepper Flakes (adding a little heat to the sausage is nice)
Or, but not both
- 2 Tablespoons of Minced Dry Onion (optional, but adds another layer of flavor)
- Grind the pork and mix all of the seasonings, cover and refrigerate for a at least three hours, but better to allow the sausage mixture to rest overnight.
- Prepare your casings and then stuff the casings with the mixture. Once finished stuffing, twist the sausage coil into links and if possible allow the sausage to air dry in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
- The sausage will remain fresh in the refrigerator for a few days. Four pounds is more sausage than can realistically be eaten in that period of time, so I package portions of 5 – 6 links in saran wrap and aluminum foil and freeze them until I am looking to make homemade sausage for breakfast.
Although you can easily cook the sausages in a skillet as you prepare breakfast, I am a big fan of baking my sausages. I find that oven baking sausages for 20 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit is simpler and less of a mess. The breakfast sausage links made at home using standard sized hog casings are larger in size than we have become accustomed to eating for breakfast, they are in fact more accurate in their size to what was traditionally made. Once you have enjoyed these homemade breakfast sausages with eggs, pancakes or waffles you will be hard pressed to eat anything called a breakfast sausage that you have not made yourself.