. 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|
- 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!|
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!
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.
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!