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Homemade Breakfast Sausage Recipe
Homemade breakfast sausage was a total game-changer for me. It’s so simple to make, and it’s another way to save money on meat products. Sure, you can find cheap breakfast sausage at the store (probably with preservatives if it’s that cheap), but you won’t locate both the quality and value of this breakfast sausage recipe sitting on a shelf in a package or even at your local butcher.
With a simple-to-find cut of pork (or another meat of your choice) and a few herbs and spices, you’ll be on your way to sausage spiced just the way you like it. You don’t need casings for this recipe, but you could definitely take that extra step if you prefer your sausages in links. I love the simplicity of using this ground, spiced pork as patties or crumbled up in an egg dish. Breakfast is about to get a whole lot tastier.
The seasonings I use for this recipe are ground cloves, crushed red pepper flakes, brown sugar, sage, garlic powder, kosher salt, and thyme. To me, it’s a magical combination of savory, sweet, and spice.
Other common seasonings include rosemary, ground ginger, nutmeg, onion powder, cayenne, and maple syrup. The fun part of making your own breakfast sausage is experimentation!
You can start with pre-ground pork or take the extra step to grind your own pork (which I recommend doing if possible). Feel free to use another type of meat for making your sausages, but traditionally they are made with pork. Here’s the tabletop grinder we use and love, and it’s the perfect size and power for our small homestead. Kitchenaid has an attachment for meat grinding as well, but we found having a separate grinder to be an upgrade in efficiency and quality.
*If you’re starting with ground pork, you’ll add ½ tsp ground cloves, 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, 2 TBSP brown sugar, 3 tsp sage, 3 tsp garlic powder, 6 tsp kosher salt, & 1 ½ tsp thyme to 6 pounds of ground pork in a large bowl. Gently massage the spices evenly amongst the meat. You’re ready to chill & cook or preserve for longer storage.
If you’re looking to grind your own meat……
- Choose meat– The thing to keep in mind when grinding meat for sausages is that you’ll want your meat to have a fat ratio of about 80/20 for the perfect bind. The most common meat used is pork, and that is what we’ll use for the recipe here. Wild game (like rabbit, elk, boar, venison, or rabbit), chicken, lamb, or turkey can be used if you have access to them. Wild game is usually leaner meat that requires additional fat for sausages.
–Pork shoulder is considered the ideal cut of pork for use in sausages. While it is a tougher cut, its meat-to-fat ratio delivers juicy, flavorful sausage. Grinding the meat helps tenderize what can otherwise be a more fibrous cut.
- Freeze Meat– Freezing your meat for 30 minutes before cutting it into smaller pieces will ease the cutting process.
- Freeze Attachments– Place your grinder attachments (auger, blade, & 2 dies: 1 coarse & 1 fine) in the freezer for 1 hour before you begin your grind.
- Prepare & Freeze Meat– Remove your meat from the freezer and cut it into ½-inch – 1-inch cubes. You need it to be able to fit easily down the entrance tube of your grinder. Combine the cubed cuts on a foil-lined tray, toss with brown sugar & salt, cover the tray with another piece of foil, and place the tray in the freezer for 30 minutes. Cold meat is easier to grind and will help prevent the smearing of fat.
- First Coarse Grind– Take the tray of pork and grinding attachments out of the freezer in preparation for your first, coarser grind. Place a medium-large bowl below your grinder to catch the meat. Guide the meat through the feed tube and into the grinder. Watch the magic happen.
- Add Seasoning– Add the remainder of your seasonings: ground cloves, crushed red pepper flakes, sage, garlic powder, and thyme. Toss gently with your hands until the pork is evenly coated.
- Freeze– Place the ground pork back on the foil-lined tray. Cover with foil again and place the tray in the freezer for another 20 minutes.
- Second Grind– This is going to be your finer grind. Repeat the steps of the first grind but with a finer grinding plate. Run a piece of bread through at the end of this grind to help clear the equipment of lingering meat.
My favorite method for storage when making breakfast sausage is to prepare a large batch for freezing. I like to freeze some in patties and some in 1-pound portions. Freezing your ground sausage in vacuum-sealed bags is the best way to preserve it and prevent freezer burn.
If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, there are options for freezing in plastic bags, tin foil, or airtight containers. If you would like to store them as patties, form the patties, place them in the freezer on a piece of parchment paper for an hour, and then transfer them to an airtight container in the freezer.
If you plan to eat the patties soon form them into patties, place parchment paper between them, and set them in an airtight container in the fridge until you are ready to cook. You’ll only want to leave them like this for 1-2 days.
As a patty, this breakfast sausage is delicious alongside eggs, pancakes, sauteéd veggies, potato hash, or biscuits. You can craft a killer breakfast sandwich too!
Flatten your patties (you can use the palms of your hands) before you set them in your pan. This will prevent the juices and fats from being pressed out during cooking and leave you with a moist patty. It only takes a few minutes of cooking on each side! You can use an instant-read thermometer to make sure they are cooked through or cut down the middle to check that there is no pink color remaining.
You can easily cook and break up your sausage in a pan for use in things like frittatas, casseroles, grits, scrambled eggs, quiches, burritos, tacos, or gravy. Just use a spatula to break up the sausage as it cooks and cook until it’s no longer pink.
- meat grinder or attachment
- coarse grinding plate & fine grinding plate
- baking tray
- large bowl
- 6 lbs pork shoulder
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 6 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 tsp sage
- 3 tsp garlic powder
- 1½ tsp thyme
- Freeze your pork shoulder for 30 minutes before cutting it into smaller pieces.
- Place your grinder attachments (auger, blade, & dies) in the freezer for 1 hour before you begin your grind.
- Remove your meat from the freezer and cut it into ½-inch to 1-inch cubes. You need it to be able to fit easily down the entrance tube of your grinder. Place the cubed pork on a foil-lined tray, sprinkle with the sugar and salt, and toss gently to coat. Cover the tray with another piece of foil and place the tray in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Take the tray of pork and grinding attachments out of the freezer in preparation for your first, coarser grind with the coarse grinding plate in place. Set a medium-large bowl below your grinder to catch the meat. Guide the meat through the feed tube and into the grinder.
- Add the remaining seasonings of ground cloves, red pepper flakes, sage, garlic powder, and thyme to the bowl of pork and gently mix to coat the meat evenly. Place the ground pork back on the tray in the freezer for 20 minutes.
- Repeat the steps of the first grind but with a finer grinding plate. Run a piece of bread through at the end of this grind to help clear the equipment of lingering meat.
- Form the meat into patties to freeze or vacuum seal 1lb bags of the ground sausage for the freezer.