One of my favorite things to do with wild hogs, particularly older hogs that may be a bit gamier than their younger kin, is to make sausage. For first-time sausage makers, the simplest sausage to make is a standard American style breakfast sausage.
While there are several packaged commercial seasoning blends on the market (Legg’s Old Plantation Number 10 Blend is one of my all-time favorites), mixing your own seasoning allows you to customize your sausage to your family’s personal preference. The following recipe is a good starting point for a mildly spicy breakfast sausage, but don’t hesitate to mix it up and a bit and add more or less seasoning to taste.
You don’t need many tools to make your own sausage. For breakfast, or any non-casing sausage, a sharp knife and a meat grinder will do. Grinders can be an old style hand-cranked model, or more modern electric versions like the Weston Realtree line.
Since wild pigs are leaner than their farm-raised cousins, I usually add a bit of pork fat to my sausage grind for better texture and to help the patties hold together while cooking. The amount used depends on just how lean your pork is, but a half pound to a pound of trimmed pork fat to five pounds of lean meat is a good starting point. You can get pork fat from just about any butcher shop that trims its own meat.
5 pounds lean wild pork, cut into roughly one inch cubes and chilled in the freezer
1 pound pork fat from butcher shop, cut into one inch cubes and chilled in the freezer
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried sage
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried ground rosemary
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon powdered chipotle chile pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Begin by running the chilled meat (chilling meat before grinding keeps the grinder from clogging up and helps the meat feed faster) through the small plate on your grinder, alternating a piece of fat for every four or five pieces of meat to get an even blend.
After all meat has been ground, mix all seasoning spices together in a cup and sprinkle evenly over the ground pork. Using your hands (latex gloves are a good idea), thoroughly mix the seasoning throughout the meat.
At this point, the sausage is finished. Store it in by vacuum sealing in 1- or 2-pound packages. Want to store individual patties for a quick weekday morning breakfast? Form the fresh sausage into patty shapes and place on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Freeze the individual patties then place the frozen sausage into a zip style freezer bag and squeeze out as much air as possible.
Fry up a batch in a cast iron skillet and let me know what you think
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