#1 - Bourbon-Peppercorn Bacon Sausage

This isn't my first time around the sausage mill, but I am still an apprentice to the formidable trade of sausage-making.  I have made other experimental sausages in the past, some of which may yet grace these pages (Chicken Tikka MaSausage, anyone?)
.  But, I wanted the first sausage I blogged about to be special (a phrase that should never be said aloud), and nothing says special like bacon and bourbon.  I hope that by sharing some recipes, pointers, and photos, we can spice up an already delicious field.

The first rule of sausage-making is to tell everyone you know about your passion for it in an attempt to solicit enthusiastic assistance.  But really, any manner of assistance will do; sausage-making is an intense labor of love, and a sausage, like love, is almost necessarily made with someone else.

Which brings us to today's sausage, a Labor Day labor of love.  So, sit back, crack open a beer, bite into some sausage, and enjoy the first edition of Salt-Peter:

Bourbon-Peppercorn Bacon Sausage

Now, to call this a "bacon sausage" is both true and misleading.  The sausage does contain bacon, but as we'll see in a moment, it also contains two other cuts of pork, and some beef.  However, I imagine that if you are anything like me, you tend to stop listening to a dish's description once bacon is mentioned, because nothing else could possibly do more to convince you to eat it. 

Black, Red, White & Green Peppercorns [~1/3 Cup]
Mid-Shelf Bourbon [1 Cup]

I poured bourbon over peppercorns and allowed them to sit at room temperature for 6 days

One and a half pounds of scrumptious sizzling bacon goodness

  • 1.5 lbs. Bacon [Cooked]
  • 0.5 lbs. Bacon [Raw + Marinated]
  • 2 lbs. Pork Shoulder [Marinated]
  • 1 lbs. Pork Loin [Marinated]
  • 1 lb. Beef Shoulder [Marinated] 
  • After straining the peppercorns from the bourbon, I used the peppercorn-infused bourbon to marinate the raw meats

Spices & Seasonings
  • 1.5 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
  • 1.3 Tbsp. Coarse Salt
  • 2  tsp. Sweet Paprika
  • 1 tsp. Allspice
  • 1 tsp. Cumin
  • Crushed Bourbon-Infused Peppercorns

One never forgets to wash thoroughly rinse out the casing... Or at least, one never forgets twice.... There's a joke about Bush, fooling and fecal matter in there somewhere if you can find it

Of course, before the meat can be seasoned and stuffed into casings, it must be ground:

The Hopper: Pork Loin's Point of View

A short trip through the worm gear, a quick dance with the cutting blade, and....

...Young Pork Loin is ready to meet some spices... It's all so exciting, just like a debutante ball!

NOTE: It's best to use some other food processor to chop/blend the cooked bacon, unless you want to blow the motor on your grinder (or unless you are using an industrial stand-alone grinder).

Once the spices and seasonings are mixed in, it's time to fry up a taste batch.  Artisan salami makers in Italy, like my uncles, make a quick ragu from raw, seasoned salami, then eat it over pasta on the evening of the salami-grinding to test the salt content before stuffing.  The flavor of this ragu is so popular in my family that we make it year-round, even outside of the winter salami-stuffing season.  As you might imagine, the ragu is called "Tasta-Sale," or "Salt-Taste". 

As most sausage is much better after letting flavors meld for 12+ hours, this taste is arguably the most fun of the sausage-making process.

I ended up adding an extra bit of salt, brown sugar, and peppercorns after tasting, because bacon was by far the overriding flavor.

I know what you're thinking: "What's wrong with that?"  Nothing.  I'm just an eccentric, ok?

So, let's see here...
Meats ground, spiced and tasted? - Check!
Casings rinsed, soaked in vinegar, and rinsed again? - Check!
KitchenAid motor cool and recovered from attempting to grind cooked bacon? - Check!
Belly filling with beer that's beginning to impair motor skills? - Check!
Well, then
I'd say it's time to stuff some sausage!

Another trip through the hopper... Look at all that wet bourbony-bacon-fatty goodness.
Twisting a Link: Always alternate twists to prevent unraveling, and marvel at the resilience of nature's original meat-membrane

Two sets of hands are a must for proper stuffing and forming

Once all the meat has been stuffed, put the tray(s) in the fridge and find something to do for 12 hours.

mmm...   Sausage

So that's it for the making of the Bourbon-Peppercorn Bacon Sausage.  Stay tuned for tomorrow's (or the next day's) post evaluating the results!


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