This homemade breakfast sausage recipe is going to up your breakfast game. Big time.
A Need for a Homemade Breakfast Sausage
Breakfast sausage is one of those things that’s difficult to find fresh––it’s all usually in the frozen foods aisle. Pre-cooked, probably some preservatives thrown in there, and a bunch of ingredients that are hard to read.
When a certain ingredient or food is hard to come by, what do we do? We figure out how to make it ourselves at home!
Our Sausage-Making Beginnings
This was never more true than when my parents and I were living in Beijing for a few years. I learned how to make my own English Muffins, Bagels, and—our own sausage! (I’m just now realizing that they’re all breakfast items. You can find lots of different cuisines in the city of Beijing, but a really good American breakfast? Hard to come by.)
We would buy spices, toast them, and mix them up at home to create spice blends for spicy Italian sausage, sweet Italian sausage, and of course, breakfast sausage.
We would then put the mixes into little Tupperware containers, hop in a cab, and ride to a local wet market, where we beelined for a very particular butcher’s stall specializing in pork. Oh, and sorry for the bad photo quality!
The woman behind the counter would help us pick a piece of fatty pork shoulder, grind it to the texture we specified, mix in our spices, and then stuff the sausage into casings while we did the rest of our shopping.
On our way out, we would pick up a bag full of fresh sausage links for the freezer.
That was really how we started making homemade breakfast sausage, and the recipe has changed a bit over the years with lots of family discussion on recipe variations and improvements.
Who Cracked the Code to This Recipe
This version of breakfast sausage is actually my aunt’s, who is also responsible for our delicious Disney Smoked Turkey Legs recipe.
Her homemade breakfast sausage recipe uses a mix of classic spices and herbs, along with a couple tablespoons of maple syrup (anyone who knows how good sausage dipped in maple syrup is also knows why this is a necessary ingredient). Two very important points to make:
- The texture of the ground pork is very important. You generally want a coarser grind than the ground pork found at the supermarket. The best thing you can do is hand-chop the meat. My mom has a great post on how to grind meat without a grinder––just a knife or cleaver.
- Fat is very important to great sausage. For this recipe, you want a mixture of 70% meat, 30% fat. Another reason to hand-chop your meat! You can control how much fat is in the mix.
Ok, let’s get to it. Making breakfast sausage at home is easier than you think!
Breakfast Sausage Recipe Instructions
Pre-ground pork at the supermarket is generally too fine for sausage. You can coarsely grind your own meat using a meat grinder, but if you don’t have a meat grinder, you can also use a cleaver or chef’s knife to chop the meat finely. (Find instructions for this in our post about how to grind meat without a grinder.)
Toast the fennel seeds and peppercorns in a pan over medium low heat until fragrant. Add to a mortar and pestle or spice grinder along with the sage, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, pepper flakes, and cloves. Grind the spices and herbs until you have a coarse powder.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the pork with your spice mixture, salt, and maple syrup.
Allow to chill for at least 2 hours.
Form into patties and fry in a lightly oiled pan over medium high heat until browned and crispy.
If you want to store the sausage for later use, form into patties and put between squares of parchment paper. Transfer to an airtight container or freezer bag and transfer to the freezer.
This homemade breakfast sausage has a strong, but nuanced flavor, and goes wonderfully with just a couple eggs and toast, pancakes, omelettes, or any other breakfast item you can dream up!