I think Jimmy Dean sells the best sausage, because it has less fat and better spices. I always buy the "hot" and I add more sage. Then it becomes something like we made in the hills of Tennessee when we butchered hogs during the Great Depression. Young people are missing out a lot nowadays except the ones that live on the farm. This is a good recipe. I am aware that not many of you will ever make it, but it will give you an idea of how sausage is made. Sausage can be great for cooking other than breakfast. I use sausage with hamburger meat when I cook a meat loaf. It keeps the beef from drying out after it's cooked.
Sausage was made from about 1/2 lean and 1/2 fat pieces of the hog. The amount made depended on how much of the meat was left to be cured as fatback or sides of bacon and varied by family uses. The meat was first cut in thin strips that would feed into the food grinder and seasoned with salt, pepper, sage and whatever special herbs a particular family liked. The taste of homemade sausage varied from family to family depending on whose recipe was used. The fat and lean had to be fed into the grinder together; the fat would choke down the grinder and the lean, without the fat, tended to be tough. Listed below is a recipe with proportions that you might use if you are interested in making pork sausage today.
4 pounds of fresh lean pork
4 pounds of fresh pork fat
1 1/2 tablespoons salt (or to taste)
2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1/4 to one teaspoon of cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons of crushed dried Sage
While tastes have changed and there is an effort to cut down on fats, a great reduction of the fat meat used will leave the lean meat dry and after cooking tough and chewy, somewhat like beef jerky. At our house, we seasoned our sausage with sage and red pepper so our sausage was "spicy."
The sausage could be made into patties and used immediately for cooking. However, most of the sausage prepared was usually placed in casings (8 or 9 foot long ropes of round sausages about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter) and draped over the rafters in the smoke house to be smoked and cured along with the hams, shoulders and bacon sides.
The casings we used were the small intestines of the hogs. These were washed and scraped - an intestine was placed on a flat hard surface (we had a cutting board we used) and a dull knife was scraped across it. This removed the fatty tissue in and around the intestine, leaving a tough, almost transparent sleeve. This would be washed thoroughly. The meat grinder had a sausage stuffing attachment which looked like a six inch funnel. The big end fit onto the meat grinder where the ground food came out and the other end tapered down to a round hole about 1 inch in diameter. The casing was carefully eased onto the small end of the sausage stuffer. When the meat began to come out, it was forced into the small cylinder which fed the ground meat into the casing. If handled carefully, this tubing could be 7 or 8 feet long and it was tied off on each end after preparation.
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