Q: Chef John, I have been enjoying your recipes for the past couple of months and the stuffed morel with Salsiccia was just to die for. What kind of sausages do you make? I am having a large Fourth of July party at my house and want to grill some fresh-made sausage.
A: Making sausage can be lots of fun with so many different possibilities. I prefer to use pork shoulder: It has the right balance of fat to meat so your sausage does not come out dry. In the restaurants, we are currently making spicy Italian Salsiccia, beer brats, and even smoking our own Kielbasa and Andouille. But my favorite one to make is a Spanish Chorizo recipe that was handed down to me by my mother-in-law. It is great made into a patty for a spiced up sausage burger or stuffed into links and ropes.
Ingredients for 25 burgers or links:
24 lbs pork shoulder
6 oz Kosher salt
4 oz paprika
2 oz fresh garlic
1 1/2 oz oregano
1 oz crushed red pepper
1 oz cider vinegar
5 oz Ancho powder
1/2 oz cumin
1/2 oz coriander
1 bunch cilantro
1 c Tequila
1 oz anise seed
1 1/2 oz ground black pepper
1/2 lb pork casings
Equipment: You will need a meat grinder.
Dice the pork and add fresh and dry seasonings. Run through meat grinder with a 1/4-inch die. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Add liquid ingredients to grind, then grind a second time through a 1/8-inch die. Place back into the refrigerator for another 30 minutes.
Now, make a small patty and cook in pan at medium to high heat until done. Taste and see if you need to adjust the flavor or salt. Then you are ready to make sausage patties, burgers or if you have a sausage stuffer, you can use the pork casings and stuff your own ropes for the grill.
If you are going to make ropes or links, soak your casings in cold water before using. This will make them easier to fill. After forming your links, refrigerate uncovered for about an hour to tighten up the casing and prevent splitting.
When cooking the sausage, place on hot side of grill to sear both sides well, then move to a medium temperature section of the grill and let the sausage cook slowly. Cook to medium well. Remove from heat and let rest for approximately 2 minutes. Residual heat in the sausage will cook it well done without drying out the meat.
Chef John Johnson is River City Casino executive chef. Do you have a recipe request for Chef John? Email him at John.Johnson@rivercity.com