Spicy Italian Sausage Fest
Pork butt (aka Boston Butt), unlike the name suggests, does not come from the pigs backside, it actually comes from upper part of the shoulder. Back fat, like the name suggests, comes from the back of the pig and is harder that the soft supple fat of the pork belly. Luckily, in San Francisco, there are numerous places to obtain these lovely items. Those wanting heritage, organic, free range, non-processed, humanly killed pork have a couple of choices. I choose the Asian market that is close to where I live. Why? Reason number one is that it is high turn-over so I know that it will be fresh.
On a food safety note, before slicing up the fat and the pork butt into grind-able pieces be sure to fully chill the meat either in the refrigerator or the freezer. These reason for chilling is two fold; #1 Chilled meat is easier to cut up & #2 warm meat=possibly praying to the porcelain god.
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With the meat well chilled, it was time to slice it up. The hardest part of the slicing is the back fat. Back fat usually comes with the skin on which is tough and slicing off the fat is much like fileting a fish. For this fun (read: finger slicing) task I use a cheap boning knife. For me, this is the best tool for the job because it is sharp and flexible. Once you have sliced the meat into grind-able pieces please be sure to chill it for another 30 minutes.
After a good chill it was grinding time. Yes, I have dreams of owning a million horsepower meat grinder that processes meat at the speed of light. In reality I use the Kitchen-aid grinder attachment. For the home chef (especially those who live in apartments and have limited kitchen storage) this is the speediest option I have found. Yes, yes I could be like Pioneer Woman and but a hand cranked grinder but I am not that fanatical about the "bespoke" model of sausage making.
Grinding meat is fun. Period. Using the Kitchen-Aid grinder attachment I use the smallest gauge and alternate grinding the pork with the pork fat. Mmmmm fresh ground meat. The best part of using the Kitchen-aid is that I grind the meat directly into the Kitchen-Aid bowl since it will be using it to mix the sausage later. Once you have a bowl of ground pork happiness I highly suggest chilling it for another 30-60 minutes.
Mmmm, a big bowl of pork-n-pork fatty meaty goodness, oh what to do? Well this is the crossroad of decisions because you have the basic main ingredient for a nice homemade sausage. For the sake of this post I am focusing on a Spicy Italian Sausage but you can also do a breakfast sausage or any other grand combo of spices and flavors.
With the chilled meat in the Kitchen-Aid mixer I now add the spices and salt (see below for my Spicy Italian Sausage recipe). Once you have added the spices, salt and herbs you can then mix the ingredients, either by hand or by Kitchen-Aid (the lazy way, aka, my way).
Now that you have mixed everything together you have arrived at the most important part. This is the part of the process that absolutely must never ever ever ever get skipped.ready? Take a small quarter size piece of that sausage and fry it up until it is fully cooked and TASTE it. Yes, cook it and taste it, how else will you know if it needs more salt, spice or herbs?!?! Needs more? Add more. . .it's all about experimenting and figuring out what tastes good.
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Posted in Home Improvement Post Date 04/08/2019