Fresh Country Sausage

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Makes

    3 pounds

    sausage meat

Appears in

One of my earliest memories of growing up in North Carolina was the ritual Saturday morning drive to a large farm to stock up on fresh eggs and chickens, buttermilk, slab bacon, and, to be sure, the best whole-hog country sausage ever made. Throughout the South, bulk sausage has always been part of the fall hog-killing tradition, and even out of season, many serious cooks (myself included), wary of most commercial products, still grind and blend their own sausage on a regular basis. I find some store-bought brands (Neese’s in North Carolina, George Jones in Tennessee, and even widely available Jimmy Dean) to be acceptable, but more often than not, what you find in supermarkets (especially in the North) are frozen rolls of fatty, underseasoned, disgusting sausage that even my beagle would reject. Since sausage plays such an important role in Southern cookery (the array of brands in supermarkets is staggering), I urge everybody to buy a good meat grinder and follow this basic recipe. (Do not use a food processor to make sausage.) The sausage freezes well up to 2 months.

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Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, chilled
  • 1 pound fresh pork fat, chilled
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons cold water

Method

Cut the pork and pork fat into 2-inch chunks and pass first through the coarse blade, then through the fine blade of a meat grinder into a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, moisten both hands with water, and knead the mixture till well blended and smooth. Wrap the sausage in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator at least 2 hours before using.