There is something about homemade sausage.
Especially when late August rolls around and there is a morning crispness to the air reminding us that tailgating, apples, and pumpkin spiced foods are just around the corner.
Here is a homemade sausage recipe that is an easy and healthier alternative to store bought sausage, where you control the level of fat, salt and spice and yet still enjoy the flavors of fall.
For the Spice Mix:
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
1/ 2 teaspoon celery seed
2 teaspoons dried sage
pinch red pepper flakes
Place all spices in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and blend/crush until seeds are powdered.
For the Sausage:
1 pound ground meat (chicken, turkey, pork* or a combination of them work well)
1 batch of spice mix
Place ground meat into bowl of food processor with your spice mix. Pulse until spices are well incorporated into the meat and meat is finely blended. Add a tablespoon of olive oil if you think it needs more fat.
Place sausage mixture into a large zip top bag that has been lightly greased with olive oil. Push sausage down into bottom of bag to create a sausage log, pushing as much air out of the sausage as possible.
Refrigerate for at least 48 hours before cooking. I like to make this well ahead of time and freeze it for a week or two (it will keep in the freezer for up to one month). Then thaw in the refrigerator for one day before cooking it.
You can grill this outdoors or bake in your oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a meat thermometer registers 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you are grilling, throw a smoking chip foil pack on the grill with the meat for added flavor. To do this, wrap some mesquite or applewood chips in foil with a few tablespoons of water. When your grill is ready, poke some holes in the foil pouch, let the water drain out and place on the grill with your meat.
For extra fall flavor, brush cooked sausage with a mixture of one tablespoon each olive oil and maple syrup immediately after removing from grill or oven. Let rest 15 minutes before slicing.
*I like to grind pork at home for pork sausage. Purchase about 1 and 1/2 pounds of bone in pork chops from your grocer or butcher. Use kitchen shears to cut bone away from pork chops and cut pork into one inch size pieces. While cutting, remove and discard most of the fat (save a little bit to use so your sausage won’t be too dry). Place into the food processor with your spice mix and blend.