Happy Fall! I can't believe it's almost mid-October. Fall is my favorite season so I hope it slows down a bit so I have time to enjoy it.
Over the last few months, I've been gradually trying to change my diet to eat more natural foods and less processed items and I'm not just talking about Cheetos. I'm mean trying to eat everything more in it's natural state rather than from a box or bag. It's challenging at times. Especially when you're in a hurry or out and about.
I love sausage and bacon but I know eating nitrate free is better for you and the sausage and bacon that you find that is nitrate free is REALLY expensive. I have found that it doesn't necessary taste that great either. With memories of Martha Stewart, I decided to make my own sausage. The first batch tasted great but was as hard as a hockey puck. Definitely overcooked. Round two, I pulled out my meat thermometer and checked the sausage after each side was browned. It doesn't take long for them to reach around 150 degrees which was when I took them off the heat. The second batch turned out much better and tasted very similar to what you would find in a box at the grocery store - and are much cheaper. I used 2 lb. of ground pork and got 19 2oz patties. Next I'm going to buy a pork roast and grind my own meat. This will cut the price even more. Definitely a Martha move. I'll let you know how it goes.
The key to good sausage is having enough fat in the meat, at least 10%, and not overcooking it...as I found out. Make sure you have a meat thermometer that you can test your meat with as it cooks. I would take it out of the pan when it is at or around 150 degrees and then let it rest and it will continue to cook. It will stay nice and juicy this way. Feel free to add whatever spices you like. If you don't like as much sage cut back on this spice here. I cook them all up and then freeze them in batches so I can pull out what I need.
Homemade Breakfast Sausage
2 pounds ground pork (you can use a mixture of pork/turkey)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
2 teaspoons dried sage
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4-1/2 cup coconut oil or some other frying oil
In a large bowl, add the pork sausage. In a small bowl, add all of the spices and mix well. Combine the spices with the sausage and mix with your hands until well combined. Form into patties (whatever size you like). Heat a cast iron skillet or frying pan until hot, add two tablespoons of coconut oil. When melted, add some of the patties. Don't crowd them. You'll have to do several batches. Add additional oil to the pan with each batch. Cook until brown on each side and then check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. When the patties reach between 150-160 degrees, remove from pan and let cool. Don't overcook. Makes 19 2oz patties.