Recipe: $8.50 | Per Serving: $0.53 | Yield: 16
So first let me be excited about learning how to make homemade sausage with a sausage-y texture. I use Italian Homemade Sausage Seasoning all the time to give ground meat (& veggie dishes) a sausage taste, and it is one of my favorite kitchen hacks of all time. But I was really in the mood to go beyond the crispy ground beef & pork and expand into actual sausage texture. In June, we went to a sausage-making demo here in Baltimore, and the sausage guy from Snake Hill gave us the tricks of the trade. Since I’m not really interested in fancy equipment or ordering sausage casings online, I spoke to him afterwards to get his tips for making patties at home, in addition to the general sausage-making advice. And here I shall pass them on to you!
Fat Content: Sausage needs fat! You’ll see in the fat emulsion section why it is so important for the texture, but it also provides the right flavor and mouthfeel that you come to know and love in sausage. Most people recommend combining lean meats (venison, beef, turkey, chicken), with fatty meats like ground pork, bacon, or duck fat. My favorite combination is beef & pork, but you could probably ask your butcher if they have any fat trimmings that you can grind (or ask them to grind) so you can add it to your mix. You want a fat content of 20-30%, depending on your personal preference.
Salt Content: Sausage is salty! Salt is one of the oldest preservatives, which is why it was used to make sausage in the first place. So when we think of sausage, we expect salty meat. I love salty sausage because I believe a little goes a long way. I usually stretch 8 ounces of flavorful sausage out to 4 servings. The recommended meat-to-salt ratio we learned was 1 kilogram of meat to 22 grams of salt, which is about 2.5 pounds to 4 teaspoons of salt. I adjusted the recipe below because I think it is a little easier to find 1-pound packages of meat than 1/2-pound packages.
Fat Emulsion: The emulsification of the fat with liquid is what creates the sausage texture. Think of a burger: you usually quickly form a patty, and then salt & pepper each side. That provides a nice crumbly-ish texture for a burger. Sausage on the other hand always has a much firmer texture. This comes from the emulsification of the fat, as well as the process of mixing in the salt before cooking. To emulsify the fat, you must basically stir the meat with the seasonings until it forms almost a paste-like texture, and there are very few chunks of fat. I did this with my hands, going around and around until the desired texture was reached. This took somewhere between 5-10 minutes total.
Basic Recipe for Homemade Sausage:
2 pounds meat
3.5 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup liquid (cold water, marinade, etc.)
+1-2 Tablespoons of seasonings
I like to use 2 Tablespoons of Italian Sausage Seasoning, and then add 1 more teaspoon of salt. I also use 1/4 cup ice water. That’s my basic Italian Sausage recipe. We have a ton of basil right now, so I have another recipe where I purée the basil with garlic and water to provide the seasonings and the liquid. Garlic Basil Sausage – yum! But, for now, check out the video to see how to make really easy uncured Italian Sausage patties. And feel free to crumble and fry the sausage rather than forming it into patties – just as delicious!
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground pork
- 2 Tablespoons Italian Sausage Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup cold water
- Combine the beef and pork in a large bowl. Add remaining seasonings and water and mix well. Continue to knead the meat for 5-10 minutes, or until it forms a smooth and sticky paste.
- Form the meat into equal ¼-cup-sized patties. Bring a skillet to medium-high heat and cook on both sides until cooked through, about 2-4 minutes per side.
- Let drain. Consume like regular sausage patties, or make a delicious sandwich with tomatoes and greens!