A Lesson in Sausage Making


Despite the snowfall, don’t be remiss — grilling season is just around the corner. From Memorial Day to Fourth of July, and every summer evening in between, there will be innumerable days to grill this summer season. Until then, how about we refine your sausage-making skills. When the snow is (finally?) gone, you’ll be able to impress friends and family with your sausage skills.

On any given summer day, Aspens Market sells as many as 40 pounds of homemade sausage. The gourmet store offers five options daily, rotating in at least eight different sausage varieties. Customers can’t get enough of their links.sausage

The basics

  • Use a high meat-to-fat ratio (the preferred is at least 75 percent meat to 25 percent fat). The fat is essential to develop the flavor.
  • Keep the meat cold at all stages of making the sausage (it may be necessary to refrigerate between grinding, mixing and stuffing). If the meat becomes too warm, the fat will soften, and the meat could separate and become mealy.
  • Select premium ingredients. Start with quality meat and add fresh ingredients, like freshly squeezed lime juice or just-chopped garlic and ginger. Only mix in whine you would drink.
  • Cook a small amount of the mixture and taste it before you put the sausage in its casing. You can still adjust seasonings at this point, and sometimes you may want to add more salt for flavor.
  • Relax if the links aren’t perfect. It’s only food.sausage

The meat of the matter

For pork: choose pork shoulder because that cut is naturally 25 percent fat. Grind the pork twice (using a 3/8-inch sausage grinder plate or a larger grind hole) before you add the seasoning.

For chicken: opt for chicken thighs, which are higher in fat. Grind the chicken once (using a 3/16-inch sausage grinder plate or smaller grind hole if you have an option) before you add the seasoning. Chicken is softer, so it only needs one grind.sausage

The final word

If you don’t have the special equipment (see below) or are short on time, ask your favorite butcher to grind the meat for you in advance. While Aspens Market wills ell you casings if you want them, you can also make bulk sausage or sausage patties without stuffing the meat into casings for links.

If you leave the sausage in bulk, you can use it in a Bolognese, throw it onto a homemade pizza or add it to lasasgna. If stuffed in a casing, grill the links over a 400 F flame for about four to five minutes per side (or until they start leaking a little bit of juice).sausage

Special tools needed:

  • Kitchen scale for measuring ingredients
  • KitchenAid Stand Mixer (or similar product) for mixing ingredients
  • Food grinder attachment for KitchenAid for grinding meat and stuffing sausage
  • Sausage pick for releasing air bubbles from the sausage
Sausage Recipes


    Chicken-Jalapeno Sausage
  • 10 pounds chicken thighs, ground
  • 5.2 ounces cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2.4 ounces jalapeno, seeeded and brunoised
  • 1/4 pound ginger, peeled and brunoised
  • 1.5 ounces salt
  • .3 ounces pepper
  • 9 ounces white wine
  • 4.7 ounces lime juice
  • Spicy Italian Sausage
  • 10 pounds shoulder, ground
  • 3 ounces salt
  • .5 ounces black pepper
  • 1 ounce red chile flake, roughly ground
  • 2 ounces fennel seed, toasted and roughly ground
  • 3 ounces paprika
  • 5 ounces fresh garlic, roughly chopped
  • 12 ounces white wine
  • 6 ounces cold water


  • For both recipes, mix all dry ingredients with meat in a KitchenAid.
  • Turn on to slowly mix and add wet ingredients.
  • Mix until just combined.
  • Either stuff and prepare sausage links or use sausage without casings.
  • Each recipe will make roughly thirty 7-inch links.



About Author

Raised in the land of casseroles and deep fried cheese curds, Sam Simma left rural Wisconsin for the mountains of Wyoming in summer 2012. Her appetite for adventure is the only thing that rivals her passion for food. She has always used writing to document and critique her travel and dining experiences. Her warmest memories among family and friends have been associated with the food that was at the center of the occasion. From staging cooking shows with siblings to perfecting turtle brownies with her dad, today Sam enjoys connecting people over food by hosting cookie decorating parties, wine pairing nights, and Midwest-inspired potlucks. A dessert fanatic, she has come to impress friends and family with key lime pies, Oreo bon bons, and Snickers ice cream cakes that are far simpler than they could ever imagine. Shhh! Don’t tell.

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