Archive for Brats

Homemade Sausage & How to Make It

Homemade Sausage?

Have you ever tried homemade sausage? Making homemade sausage can save you money. The meat used is typically pork shoulder (Boston Butt) and it can be found on sale for less than $1 per pound. The other supplies and ingredients you will need are seasoning and casings (casings are optional if you want loose sausage to make patties or crumbles with). You will also need a meat grinder or a meat grinding attachment for your mixer.

photo of freshly made bratwurstI took advantage of a sale on Boston Butt (pork shoulder) a few weeks ago… it was under $1 a pound, so I figured I’d grab a couple and use one for BBQ pork and the other for Bratwurst.

In all honesty, my results were just so-so. I’ve got the technique down, but I’m not happy with the seasoning. My last batch (a year or so ago) I mixed up my own seasoning and it just wasn’t quite right, so I decided to buy packaged seasoning this time. On the last batch I also made the mistake of trimming my pork, which actually makes the sausage too dry. In fact several of the recipes I’ve read have you ADD fat to get the right texture and flavor. There aren’t exactly a lot of choices when it comes to bratwurst seasoning. I went to Central Meats on Kempsville Rd. and got my casings and a package of Legg’s Old Fashioned Seasoning. (both come with enough to make 25 pounds of sausage, I was only making 10, so I measured out the pro-rated amount) The casings and seasoning came to just over $9. You can order both casings and seasoning on Amazon.

Guess what? The packaged seasoning wasn’t any better than my own! The thing is, while it’s not bad, I’m looking for something that tastes more like Johnsonville Brats, and these ain’t it!

How to make sausage (homemade)

Making homemade sausage isn’t complicated, but you do need a meat grinder. Mine is the food grinder attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer. If you’re gonna stuff the sausage in casings you need an attachment for that as well. I use the Kitchen Aid Sausage Stuffer Attachment.

  • Cut the meat into 1″ chunks, including the FAT
  • Grind the meat using a coarse grinding plate
  • Mix in the seasoning
  • Re-grind the meat using a fine grinding plate (if you’re not stuffing it, you’re done!)
  • Attach a correctly-sized sausage-stuffing tube
  • Grab an assistant and while one person stuffs globs of ground, seasoned meat into the meat grinder shoot, the other one catches the sausages and twists the segments. This can get a little wonky, best if the person with bigger hands and/or better coordination handles this part.

I like to let the sausage flavorings mull a bit before cooking. Usually a day in the fridge is fine. For the sausages I’m going to freeze, I pile them up on wax paper so they aren’t touching and ‘flash freeze’ so I can bag them later and still be able to only get out the number of links we’re gonna use for any particular meal.

I’m not going to post my bratwurst seasoning recipe, since I don’t think it’s that great. My Italian sausage and my breakfast sausage recipes are simple and excellent. Leave a comment or send me a message if you’re interested in those recipes. If someone has a Johnsonville-tasting brat seasoning recipe, I’d love to have it!

For more information about making homemade sausage visit Homemade Sausage Recipes and Tips at

Day 19 – AYGC

Settling in back from our trip. Had to restock some food.

First trip: Central Meats. I was hoping they had rennet… am I on a mission, or what? They have lots of seasonings and preserving products, but no rennet. Bummer. But they did have a small pack of salt-packed sausage casings ($6.14 including tax). Now I’m all set to make my next batch of brats or kielbasa (pork butt is in the freezer). Not the cheapest casings in the world, but a decent price here locally for 50 feet or so.

Next, on to Sams Club. Pizza fixin’s were at the top of the list. They now have another brand of pepperoni, in a larger package (5 lbs), that worked out to about half the price per oz. of the Hormel, so I got it instead. Now I have enough pepperoni to last me well into 2010. Boy am I glad I had room in my chest freezer. I also got 5 pounds of shredded whole milk mozzarella, which will be used on the pizzas, as well as lasagna, baked ziti, and a few other recipes. Mike asked me to pick up some fresh brats, and it didn’t occur to me that I’d just bought casings… (duh), but we’ll go through them, as we love them grilled in the summer. And last, but not least, half and half for our coffee. Mucho slurge, but I don’t like my coffee any other way. I got 3 quarts since I don’t actually go to Sams that often. Total: $35.21

For dinner tonight we had meatloaf, baked potatoes and green beans from the garden.

The meatloaf was one I had in the freezer — frozen raw in a 1-gallon zipper storage bag. I flatten out the whole thing before I freeze to take up less space. I make them up when I buy hamburger on a loss-leader sale for no more than $1 a pound.

Meatloaf – Serves 5

1 ½ lbs Ground Beef
3/4 cup oatmeal
1 ¼ cups Milk (reconstituted dry milk works fine)
1 lg Egg
¼ cup Onions — chopped
1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 ½ tsp Salt
½ tsp Dry Mustard
¼ tsp Pepper
¼ tsp Ground or Rubbed Sage
1 clove Garlic — crushed

Mix all ingredients. Spread in an ungreased loaf pan, 9x5x3 inches. Cook uncovered in a 350° oven until done, about 1-1/2 hours. (I usually make 6 mini meat loafs placed in a 9×13 baking dish and baked for 45 minutes — faster!)

Want to make more?

7 meatloaves:

10 lbs Ground Beef
5 ¼ cups oatmeal
2 ¼ quarts Milk
7 lg Eggs
1 ¾ cups Onions — chopped
½ cups Worcestershire Sauce
¼ cups Salt
4 tsp Dry Mustard
2 tsp Pepper
2 tsp Ground or Rubbed Sage
7 cloves Garlic — crushed

Mix all ingredients together well. Divide into 7 portions. Fold back the sealing edge of gallon-size freezer bags (to keep the zipper clean) and plop a portion into each bag. Seal the bags ALMOST closed and then smoosh the meatloaf mixture until it’s flat and fills the bag (how’s that for a technical term!). It should be about 3/4″ thick. Once you’ve got it flat, finish sealing the bag. Mark the bag with a Sharpie®. Stack flat to freeze. Once they are frozen they can be stored on their end like a book to make the most of your freezer space.