One of the things I came to love whilst living in America was Breakfast Sausage. Sadly, in Australia, they have no concept of what Breakfast Sausage is (but almost strangely, Sausages or Sausage Links in America mostly leave a lot to be desired). In fact, even the ubiquitous Sausage McMuffin in Australia is a tasteless beef patty sharing culinary space with tasteless cheese and overcooked eggs (all on a beautifully microwaved English muffin).
So it’s no surprise that when we decide to do a special breakfast or brunch, Breakfast Sausage features highly on the menu. What does one do when one does not have access to breakfast sausage at the local Mega-Mart? Well, one makes ones own.
The ultimate twist to the tale is that home made Breakfast Sausage is soooo much better than anything you can buy in a store. Jimmy Dean has nothing on home made sausage. So, the moral of the tale is: regardless of where you are, and what access you have to store bought Breakfast Sausage, make your own. It’s really simple, and positively amazing.
This week Garan, our eldest boy, turns 15. As with all Birthday’s in our household, the meal of your choice accompanies your birthday. In this case, young master wants a brunch of Sausage and French Toast. That’s a good lad. I never need much of an excuse to break out the pork products, but his “demand” just serves as a convenient excuse to dust off my Sausage recipe.
- 1kg Ground/Minced Pork, or
- 800g Shoulder Pork
- 200g Pork Fat
Ideally, you would use the pork shoulder and fat. Chilled, you would cube it and chop it in the same way as I do for my “Take Back the Burger” post. To save time, pre-ground pork is fine, and mostly what I use, if I’m being honest. Whilst the shoulder mix is a superior result, particularly the texture, using bought mince is better than buying pre-made Breakfast Sausage by miles.
- 2 teaspoons dried sage
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar (or maple syrup)
- Crushed red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl, and let sit for 1 to 4 hours in the fridge (or refrigerate for up to 5 days, depending on the freshness of the original pork). You will want to cook these from the fridge. This will help keep them together.
Form the mix into patties, of your preferred size and thickness. The English Muffin is my preferred bread type for these, so i tend to make them about that size, and about 1/2 the thickness of a muffin. Then cook them on a medium heat, in a non-stick pan with a little cooking spray.
The sugar content of the mix will cause it to brown quite quickly, so you want to adjust the heat so that the outside browns as the inside is cooked. Another option is to brown them, and then finish them in the oven. Use an instant read thermometer to ensure the pork is cooked (go for about 75C or 170F).
Variation 1 – Heston Blumenthal
If you have time on your hands, and you have a nice meat grinder, you may have chosen the pork shoulder method. It occurs to me that Chef Blumenthal’s labour intensive hamburger method would make a great breakfast sausage. So, if you’re running a breakfast joint that wants to charge $30 for a breakfast sandwich, or you want to take the time to make something truly great, here’s the link. Just use the ingredients listed above, and use his method. Let me know how it turns out.
Variation 2 – The Crumble
Let the mix come to room temperature, and then drop the desired portion into t medium non-stock pan with some cooking spray.
Using the sharp end of a spatula, chop up the mix as it is cooking, until you get the desired result. Serve as you wish, but for me this is heaven with scrambled eggs and cheese, wrapped in a tortilla…a little hot sauce and I’m a happy camper.
Variation 3 – Sausage Brownies!
OK, so it’s sounds weird when you put it like that. This is actually my preferred method.
Press the mix into the bottom of a baking dish, to the desired thickness. Bake in a moderate oven until cooked.
If I am doing this, I will usually cover the pan with foil. I want to avoid the Maillard reaction, as I want the cooked sausage to be soft from the outside in. Frying or baking uncovered will brown the outside, and create a crust. Normally a good thing, but not for sausage…not for me.
Once cooked, the handy Pizza Cutter makes the best tool for slicing. Cut to your desired size.
If you want sausage for your pizza, I find this the best method. You can dice up the sausage once cooked, and it hasn’t gone crusty so a second cooking wont dry it out. Chop it fine and top your pizza with it.
It’s also the best method for a breakfast sandwich on square bread, obviously.
Regardless of how you choose to cook it, you really owe it to yourself to make this recipe for breakfast. If you’ve never had Breakfast Sausage before, you will be converted and it will become one of your favourite things to make and eat. If you have had Breakfast Sausage before, make it anyway. It’s too easy to make to buy store bought crap that’s full of chemical stabilizers and artificial colours/flavours.
I usually make a big bunch, and then cook and freeze the squares or patties. Then it’s a quick reheat while I am frying or poaching an egg, and toasting a muffin. Faster than a detour through a drive-thru, and way better.
Enjoy the meal.