How to grind meat for burgers, meatballs, sausage, and more

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I’m a huge sausage lover. I grew up on Hebrew National salami và grilled Dodger dogs in L.A., continued with Sabrett & Nathan’s street hot dogs in New York, & eventually graduated to lớn Italian soppressata, coppa & other salumi.

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But would I make them at home? Well, I’ve pretty much decided lớn forego making cured sausages, although there are many home cooks who bởi it successfully, thanks to lớn various classes và terrific instructional books like those by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn, Rytek Kutas và Bruce Aidells.

But fresh sausage? Absolutely. Especially after a couple of sessions with Cucina Urbana executive chef Joe Magnanelli. Magnanelli is himself self-taught with cured sausages. He is thoroughly grounded in technique, plus he’s got great equipment to help ensure that the curing process results in both delicious & safe salumi.


Magnanelli taught me his technique earlier this year as he was preparing a batch of saucisson sec, a traditional French salami, for his April 6 Beast Feast dinner, which will feature pork.

Knowing, however, that I wanted to lớn learn how to lớn make a fresh sausage, Magnanelli demonstrated how a home cook could vì it — và it’s pretty easy. You could buy equipment khổng lồ help you case the sausage, but you don’t have to. In fact, here we have recipes for sausage patties for a delightful eggy breakfast sandwich và for a pasta dish.

Let’s start with what you will need: a meat grinder. Và if you have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, you can easily buy a grinder attachment. You also need access to a freezer — yeah, of course you have that. You’ll want to lớn briefly freeze the pork (or turkey or chicken or fatty fish) after prepping it before running it through the grinder. The chill keeps the protein and fat from sticking lớn the grinder blades & smearing.


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If you’re making a pork sausage, the best cut khổng lồ use is pork shoulder, Magnanelli said. That’s because it already has a good amount of fat in it. For his saucisson sec, the recipe calls for 20 percent pork fat and 80 percent meat.

The first time I met with Magnanelli, he made his saucisson sec flavored with roasted garlic, salt, finely ground black pepper & white wine. The second time, it was with minced garlic, red chili flakes, dried Sicilian oregano, kosher salt, toasted crushed fennel seed (crushed in a mortar and pestle), and a splash of white wine. The fennel, he said, gives the sausage a distinctive Italian quality. Both approaches will yield a delicious sausage. In fact, the beauty of sausage making is that you can địa chỉ cửa hàng whatever seasonings appeal lớn you.


So, here’s how the process works: Cut the pork shoulder into 1-inch pieces or what will fit into your grinder. Be sure as you cut that you trim off and discard the sinew and silver skin. Then put the pieces on a tray & into the freezer until they are firm. Then mix the pork meat with the seasonings quickly so the pork stays cold. Grind the meat and flavorings together. If you don’t have a plunger for the grinder, Magnanelli suggests using the bottom of a whisk handle lớn help push the meat through the grinder.

Once you have your ground mixture in a bowl, season with kosher or sea salt and freshly ground đen pepper, along with a cảm biến of trắng wine. Mix it together by hand. That’s it!

If you are going to lớn case the sausage, Magnanelli said hog casings (scrubbed, salted pig intestines) are the best. You can find them at Sisel’s or Iowa Meat Farms or ask a butcher lượt thích Heart và Trotter if they carry them. If you are in the market for a stuffer, you can buy a 5-pound sausage stuffer from a company called Northern Tool for about $100. There are lots of videos online that demonstrate sausage stuffing technique.


If you’re not going lớn case the sausage, you can use this ground mixture in many ways. You can make the best meatloaf or meatballs ever. You can make sausage patties. You can sauté the mixture, breaking it up into chunks, lớn serve with pasta. You can địa chỉ cửa hàng it to a tomato sauce, soup or stew. You can use it as a pizza topping or a calzone or sandwich filling. It’s that versatile. Và what you don’t use right away you can freeze for later.

For Magnanelli’s Sausage Breakfast Sandwich, he buttered one side of two slices of thành phố new york rye bread and toasted them buttered side up until golden brown. Then, on the other side of the bread, he spread mayonnaise mixed with sriracha sauce. In a pan, he added a small amount of olive oil and then some of the sausage mixture. In a second pan, he added butter và olive oil, then an egg, which he fried. Just before the egg was ready, Magnanelli topped it with a slice of smoked cheddar cheese. He placed some cooked sausage on one slice of bread, then topped it with the egg và cheese và placed the second slice of bread over it khổng lồ make the sandwich.

Magnanelli’s Spaghetti with Italian Sausage also included plump yellow chanterelle mushrooms (you can use any mushrooms you prefer), cipollini onions that he had already roasted, cherry tomatoes, white wine and fresh minced basil. The process is simple. In a large pot you’ll cook your pasta in salted, boiling water. While the pasta is cooking, heat a skillet and địa chỉ olive oil. Then add the sausage. Break it up but leave it a little chunky. Brown the sausage then add the onions and mushrooms. Sauté for a minute or so before adding the tomatoes & basil. Add a splash of wine and stir. Then showroom a splash of the pasta water before adding the cooked, drained pasta. If you like, you can grate Parmesan cheese over it và stir it together while it cooks for another 30 seconds lớn let the flavors come together.


Once you plate the dish, you can drizzle extra-virgin olive oil over it and sprinkle more minced basil và grated cheese.

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Golden is a San Diego freelance food writer and blogger.

Basic Sausage Recipe

Serves 6


Clean and dice pork shoulder khổng lồ 1-inch pieces, or small enough to fit through a Kitchen Aid grinder attachment. Place pieces on a flat plate or tray and put in the freezer for about 15 to đôi mươi minutes, to make very cold but not frozen.

Slightly grind up the fennel seed with the chili flake. You can vị this in a mortar và pestle or use the back of a sauté pan.

When the pork is chilled, mix with fennel seed, chili flakes và garlic. Slowly địa chỉ cửa hàng the mixture into the vị trí cao nhất of the grinder & grind into the bowl of your mixer. (You can also set the ingredients by hand or on the low speed of your mixer using the paddle attachment.) Season with salt & pepper and red wine. To kiểm tra for seasoning, take a small piece & flatten to a small disk. Heat a sauté pan và heat a small amount of oil. Cook on both sides until cooked through, about 1 minute on each side. Taste and re-season the rest of the pork mixture if necessary.


At this point, the sausage is ready khổng lồ use in various recipes. It can also be frozen to lớn use later.

Sausage & Egg Breakfast Sandwich

Makes 1 sandwich

2 ounces raw sausage mixture (see recipe above)


2 slices smoked cheddar cheese

Start by forming sausage into a disk-like shape và keep it refrigerated.

Spread 1 tablespoon of butter on each slice of bread on 1 side, then toast in a toaster oven butter-side up. While the bread is toasting, mix the mayonnaise và sriracha in a small bowl. When the bread is done toasting, spread the mayonnaise evenly on both slices.


Use the other tablespoon of butter & the olive oil to fry the egg sunny side up. While the egg is cooking fry the sausage patty in another pan for about 1 minute on each side or until fully cooked in the middle. You want each side to lớn brown slightly.

When the egg is ready, place the slices of cheese on top of the egg to melt.

To assemble, place the sausage patty on the bread, topped with the egg, & top with the other side of toast.


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Spaghetti With Sausage, Cippolini, Chanterelle & Cherry Tomato

Serves 2

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided use (see note)


10 cippolini onions

Salt & fresh ground black pepper khổng lồ taste

6 ounces sausage mixture (see recipe above)


½ pound chanterelle mushrooms (or any other mushroom), sliced in bite-sized pieces

½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved

5 leaves fresh basil


8 ounces fresh spaghetti

2 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to lớn 350 degrees and heat an oven-ready sauté pan. Toss onions in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place them in the hot sauté pan và put the pan in the oven for 10 minutes. At about 5 minutes, pull out the pan and carefully flip each onion over lớn cook on the other side. Remove the onions from the pan & let cool. Cut them in half and set aside.


Bring a pot of salted water to lớn a boil. While water is heating up, in a large sauté pan, heat another tablespoon of oil and cook sausage, breaking it up into bite-sized pieces. When the sausage is almost done, địa chỉ cippolinis & chanterelle mushrooms. Cook for about 2 minutes more. Showroom cherry tomatoes và basil.

Cook the fresh spaghetti in the boiling water for about 30 khổng lồ 40 seconds or until al dente (fresh pasta cooks very quickly); drain spaghetti and địa chỉ cửa hàng it to the pan with the sausage mixture, along with a splash of the pasta cooking water. Toss all ingredients together & finish with butter. Season with salt và pepper.