Boy, do we love sausages and sausage. I used to purchase sausage in the grocery, but began to notice that it was either too salty or too fatty. Since living in China, where ground pork is used a lot I find that I am seeking more, unseasoned product, which is not readily available where I live. The sausage in China does not have additives, just pork. It is sold with little fat and then you can purchase fat separately to add to your liking, no salt.
Often I wanted to make dishes that didn’t have the usual sausages spices of sage, rosemary and thyme. I wanted to use the Chinese spices, or Greek spices, or Italian. Chinese five spice does little to mask the western spices added to store-bought sausage.
Now I go to a meat wholesaler and purchase various cuts of pork, in bulk, and make my own sausage. Sometimes I purchase Boston butts, or fresh leg of pork, or picnic cuts. These I bring home and grind in my commercial grinder.
The nice thing about the grinder that I purchased is it has a number of attachments including sausage stuffing equipment, coarse blade, fine blade for bockworst and such. I can make links, chubs and more.
Recently, my husband and I made apple sausage to eat for breakfast. It has fresh apple added to sage, mace, allspice, a small portion of salt and white pepper. I freeze this in small batches which is just enough for us to each have a patty for breakfast. I also use this to make cornbread and sausage stuffing for the turkey for the holidays.
One delightful recipe we found was for an Italian Cheese sausage which we made into links and use for pasta with tomatoes, garlic, onions and green olives. A great quick meal.
At Christmas last year we made traditional potato sausage, stuffed in casings and rolled into coils to eat with lefse for a Swedish holiday dinner. I guess that is my Swedish half coming out. I love it. We made lots so it isn’t just a holiday meal.
Chinese dishes we make include dan dan mian and ma po dofu, two of our favorites and easy to make after I get home from work. These both require sausage that has been coarsely chopped which one of the discs makes beautifully. In China they chop the pork with two cleavers to get the same effect. I can do it in the grinder.
The coarse ground pork makes the most delicious chili, but it isn’t as good as the coarse ground elk for chili. Of course, the elk is harder to come by. Almost all the sausage we make is coarse, apple, chorizo, italian (both hot and mild), salami (both wine cured and Genoa), and the Chinese dishes.
I feel that the money we spent getting the grinder and the money we save buying the pork in bulk far outweighs the store bought sausage. We bought the grinder at Grizzly Tool. I get pork from our local wholesaler, Cash and Carry (Western Washington). If you have a grinder, for your Kitchen Aid mixer or another brand, try a small batch and if you love it, invest in something more substantial. I also recommend the book, Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing by Rytek Kutas. The copy I have is the fourth edition. Good reference material.
Get adventuresome and try making some of your own sausage, like Apple Cinnamon Sausage or Chorizo or Sulzworst Einfach. These you will find in the above mentioned book. Very tasty.
If nothing else try something new when you cook. You never know where it may lead.