Friday, December 11, 2015

a sausage party of one

The evil deed is done! Sausage—I use the word in its uncountable form—was made this evening, and it was... not bad! In my previous post, I linked to the recipe that I used tonight, and it worked fairly well, although I did alter some proportions along the way. For example, the recipe called for only an eighth of a teaspoon of chili flakes for two pounds of pork. No self-respecting Korean is going to go for homeopathic levels of chili, so I upped the dosage to a full, heaping teaspoon. I also added a wee bit more sugar, salt, and oregano—yes, oregano, because as I discovered through online research, it's actually a cousin of marjoram, which is what the recipe called for. Just so you know: oregano works fine.

I mixed all the reagents together and divided the ground pork into eight portions to make eight sausage patties weighing a bit under four ounces each:

After that, it was just a matter of cooking. I set the fan to blow over my fire alarm just in case things got a little smoky, but I don't think it ever got to that point. Below: my skillet with two patties a-sizzling. As I mentioned a while back, the downstairs grocery's ground pork is super-lean, so there was almost no fat leakage. In fact, I had to add bacon fat to the fry:

Here's a closeup taken after the patties had been flipped:

A gorgeous photo of my patties all piled high on a plate:

I was sorely tempted to taste my patties while they were still being made, but I held myself back because what I really wanted to do was make breakfast sandwiches to see how well the sausages worked in context. I had shopped at Costco for English muffins, but the store only had bagels (Einstein Brothers, imported), so I went with blueberry. For the sake of my sandwich experiment, I took a bagel, split it, buttered it, and pan-fried it.

Here are the halves:

Here are the halves with a sausage patty:

Next: the scrambled egg and American cheese. I had added a generous gloop of heavy cream to my eggs, which is why they came out so light-colored. But the cream also made those lovely little bird abortions quite velvety, so I'm not going to apologize for that.

Next up: a closeup of the assembled sandwich before I finished it in the microwave:

The sandwich spends a minute in microwave purgatory:

The cheese is now melted:

And here's a cross-sectional view:

I split the microwaved sandwich in half. One side, I slathered with maple syrup; the other side, I coated with strawberry jam. I wanted to see which sweet I liked better with the sandwich. Strawberry jam won. After I ate the sandwich, however, I ate a second patty with a second dollop of eggs—and I bathed the plate in syrup. This allowed me to taste the sausage patty more directly, without bread and cheese intervening.

Verdict: not bad at all! With my adjusted proportions, the taste of my breakfast sausage was nearly perfect—very close to a Bob Evans product. The texture, however, was another matter, given how dry the pork was. The bacon fat definitely helped, but next time, I think I'll mix the fat in while I'm kneading the herbs and spices into the meat. Fat is flavor; this is why most of the world charges extra for fatty meats, whereas we nutty Americans think lean meat equates to higher quality. But we're learning: "Fat is flavor" is a constant mantra on the Food Network, and while many Americans might not yet appreciate a "fat cap," they're increasingly charmed by the concept of marbling. We'll get it eventually.

Meantime, I've made a breakfast sandwich to take to work tomorrow.



The Maximum Leader said...

Very nice. I like. Now have lunch idea...

Bratfink said...

Now I'm all hungry. :-\

Charles said...

Impressive. But I would say that, yes, you definitely want to add the fat to the meat while you're mixing--it's got to be incorporated into the meat itself before frying to work properly. I know there's some food science explanation for that, but it eludes me at the moment and I'm too lazy to look it up.

Have you thought of putting caraway seeds in? Breakfast sausage to me somehow screams, "Caraway seeds!" (although that might also just be the fevered hallucinations brought on by snorting ground cumin).

I also prefer my egg sandwiches with messy, messy sunny-side-up eggs, but yours still look mighty fine--enough to make my stomach rumble. The pics came out particularly well this time, too. Better lighting?

Kevin Kim said...


Caraway? Nah. To me, sage is the main actor in American breakfast sausage, and it did make a difference this time.

re: photos

Same lighting conditions as always. Maybe my hands were trembling less than usual.

re: eggses

Trendy burger makers seem to like sunny-side up or some other version of the runny yolk. It is indeed messy, and not my favorite way to eat a sandwich, given how much egg I lose in the process. (Unless I'm alone, of course, in which case I'm fine with barbarically licking the plate.)


Would love to know more about your lunch idea.


Got any English muffins on you?

Charles said...

My strategy for eating runny yolk sandwiches is to use the sandwich itself to mop up any yolk that escapes my maw. But I've gotten pretty good at slurping that stuff up.

Also, I had a huge brain fart when I said "caraway seeds." I meant "fennel seeds." The fennel flavor is usually what makes it a breakfast sausage patty for me. (But I agree that sage is key, too.

Kevin Kim said...


Ah. Fennel makes more sense, although I tend to associate those seeds more with Italian sausage. In fact, that's the next thing on my to-make list, and I bought fennel seeds just for that purpose.

The Maximum Leader said...

I was unclear. My idea for lunch was to go home and make a similar sandwich. We have both bagels ("everything" bagels in fact) and english muffins. Though my plan was to make a breakfast sandwich for lunch, I wound up eating the last of a beef and barley soup. (Lunch made nicer by sharing my soup and time with your Goddaughter... Who is home now and spent yesterday doing laundry. She will spend today trying to find some sort of holiday employment...)

Bratfink said...

I love English muffins! Bill less so, unfortunately, and since he does the hunting and gathering, I rarely see them. :(

I'm not a huge bagel fan.

Rory said...

Gosh, you Americans are perplexing.

How is this a sausage? That looks nothing like an emulsified high-fat offal tube.

It does look tasty, though.

(I'm also perplexed by the addition of strawberry jam. I'm sure this is some kind of violation against the universe.)

Kevin Kim said...


Well, as I said in the post, the pork was actually quite lean. Look carefully at the second photo—the one in which the patties are frying away in the skillet—and note the lack of grease surrounding the meat. If I hadn't added the bacon fat a minute or so later, the patties would have been bone-dry.

As for the shape of the sausage... let's not get trapped in the narrow-minded notion that sausages only come in link form, wrapped in natural condoms. I know Aussie men are manly men, but not everything has to look like a dick. American breakfast sausage starts off in a classical sausage-shaped package (see here), but we Yanks cut the meat into tiny, burger-like patties, fry them up, and serve them that way.

For what it's worth, most American sausage is indeed high-fat, per your accusation. But most of the fat leaves the meat in the frying pan; the finished patties are placed on paper towels to drain off the rest of the grease, and what you're left with is about two-thirds the weight of what you started with.

Want really fatty sausage? Try chorizo. God, I love that stuff.

Maven said...

I need to do a face plant right into those sausage patties!!

PS: You cannot spell "assuage" without "sausage!" Definition: To appease "avec schnitzengruben!"

Maven said...

PS: Regarding Charles' comment about caraway seeds... when I think of sausage, I think of fennel seeds.

Maven said...

I also love sage AND savory in breaksaft sausage.