These sausages were once common on Lowcountry tables, when oysters were more plentiful than meat, but few people make them today. They are either made into patties or stuffed into casings and are made with either veal or pork (though Sarah Rutledge made hers with both beef and mutton). I have made them with lamb, using some fresh pork fat, and I have increased the ratio of oysters. The marvelous thing about sausage making is that, as soon as the mixture is ground all together, you can fry a little and taste it to correct not only the seasoning but the ratio of ingredients as well.
If you plan to stuff the sausage, you will need about 4 feet of hog casings. Because this sausage is more delicate than the casing, be sure to poach stuffed oyster sausages rather than fry them. Save the drained oyster liquor in which to poach them, with a little milk added if necessary. Serve with the sweet pepper relish.
If you plan to make patties, fry them in clarified butter until golden brown and serve on a bed of lettuce with lemon wedges.
Drain the oysters, reserving the liquor in which to poach the sausages if they are to be stuffed into casings. With your meat grinder set on the coarser setting, run the oysters and the pork alternately through the grinder. Add the yolks and bread crumbs, then season to taste with salt, pepper, cayenne, and the herbs. Mix the ingredients well together, then take a little spoonful and fry it in a pan until golden brown. Taste it and correct the seasoning.
Run the mixture back through the meat grinder set on the finer setting (and with the sausage stuffer attached and the casings tied at one end and placed over the end of the funnel, ready to be filled, if you want stuffed sausages). Tie off stuffed sausages into 4-inch links. Cover the sausages and place immediately in the refrigerator. Use within 24 hours, cooking them as described in the recipe introduction.
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