I’ve made sausage in the past by buying the ground meat from the local grocer, but I’ve really wanted to grind my own. I was reluctant to buy a pricey grinder for fear this would be a passing fad and I knew I could buy a grinder attachment for our Kitchen Aid stand mixer. I’d heard a lot of negative comments about them on the BBQ forums, then I saw Chris, at Nibble Me This, making sausage with one. So I gave him a call and he advised it worked well for small sausage making operations like I would be doing, so I bought one from Kitchen Aid.
I had a pork butt in the freezer with sausage written all over it and I decided to make two kinds – Italian and breakfast. For the Italian, I started with a recipe I’d picked up on a BBQ forum and I used Hi Mountain’s Country Maple Blend for the other. There are many good sites around for sausage making and Mister Meatball has a nice one on his blog and he uses the KA grinder.
I first deboned the butt, sliced it into 1” thick steaks then into 1” cubes. If I were making a full batch of one sausage, I would have mixed the spices with the pork cubes atg this point - before grinding. Since I was planning to make two different flavors and I wanted to insure even fat distribution, I ground it all through the large die, mixed well, and put it in the freezer for about 45 minutes. I removed the 2 ½ pounds needed for the Italian, mixed in the spices and stuck it back in the freezer for several more minutes. I then ran it thru the grinder using the small die and mixed in the liquids per the recipe.
I fried up a little patty to test and we decided it needed more fennel and maybe an herb, so I ground up ½ tsp of fennel seeds and ½ tsp of dried oregano, mixed it in, and fried up another test patty. We decided it may still need fennel (my fennel may be too old), but we decided to let the flavors marry overnight and try it in the morning .
For the breakfast sausage, I had a little over 5# of meat, so I calculated the amount of Hi Mountain spice mix required, mixed it in, and stuck it in the freezer for 30 minutes. I then reground it and fried up a test patty. It had just a nice maple flavor and pretty well nothing else, so we decided to turn half of it into more of a traditional breakfast sausage. I went to Len Poli’s sausage site, found a recipe for a Jimmy Dean clone and doctored mine by adding black pepper, sage, thyme, coriander, parsley, and red pepper flakes.
I was real pleased with the performance of the little grinder and while I wouldn’t want to be in the sausage business using it, my needs will be well served. At the end of the day, I ended up with 2 ½ lbs each of Italian, maple breakfast, and doctored maple breakfast. We had a plan for dinner, but after the sampling, we were full.
We had a real highlight yesterday, our first phone call from son, Rhett, who deployed to Afghanistan the first week in January. He works with a group of soldiers training the Afghan police and so far said he's enjoying the job and the vast cultural differences - he's in a provence that borders Pakistan. Modern communications amaze me - he's in nowhere Afghanistan and the clarity was like he was calling from across the street.
Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.