Cooking With Confidence
breakfast sausage
Breakfast/Brunch, Pork

Homemade Breakfast Sausage

by Nick

I think I can very safely call myself a bacon guy. When given the choice between bacon or sausage, I almost always choose bacon. Most sausage (especially in restaurants) tends to be dry and kind of bland and I’d rather just not waste my time with it.

But sausage doesn’t have to be this way of course. If you have a spare hour or two, you can whip up some of the best breakfast sausage around. In my opinion, there’s one ingredient that makes this recipe a real breakfast sausage: maple syrup. Real maple syrup. It gives it a slightly sweet flavor that’s just killer.

I ground my own meat for this recipe, but if you’re in a pinch you can ask your butcher to grind it for you, or at the least, buy some pre-ground pork. Doing it yourself is pretty easy though and makes for a great final product.

Yield
3 pounds
Prep Time
Total Time

Just a moment please...

Print Recipe Homemade Breakfast Sausage

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds boneless pork butt
  • 1/4 Cup real maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 1 Teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 2 Teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 Teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1 Teaspoon granulated onion
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons salt
  • 1 Teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Helpful Equipment

Directions

1) Trim off any large pieces of fat from the pork shoulder and cut the fat pieces and the meat pieces into 1 inch cubes.

2) If you're using a food processor, pulse the fat pieces until they are basically a paste.  Remove the fat to a bowl.  If you're using a meat grinder, grind it once coarsely then once finely.

3) Add the meat pieces and pulse until coarsely ground.

4) Combine the meat and fat in a big bowl.

5) Add spices, syrup, and chopped sage.  Mix well with your hands!

6) At this point you can cook the sausage as a ground meat, or form patties with it, or freeze it in a freezer safe bag for months.

The Meat

If you’re going to bother making sausage from scratch, I really recommend starting with a good pork butt. Sure. It’s a lot easier to find ground pork, but trust me, the flavor and texture just isn’t the same.

Some people might consider this a bit advanced, but I really encourage you to give it a shot if you can. It’s really not that bad.

Get ready for some serious meat shots.

You should be able to find a 3-3.5 pound boneless pork butt (which is actually the shoulder). If you can’t find one that small you can either A) ask your butcher to cut a larger one down for you (what I did) or B) just make A LOT of sausage!

pork butt

Nice butt.

The first thing to do if you’re doing this yourself is to trim off some of the fat from the pork. A good pork butt will probably be 30% fat which makes it perfect for sausage. The problem is that you can’t just process or grind everything together because you want the fat to be a lot finer than the meat. If you just pulsed everything together you’d have these really big pieces of fat in your sausage which isn’t ideal really.

So trim off as much of it as you can and process that first. You don’t have to be crazy about it. Just get the big pieces cut off. Then cut everything into about 1 inch cubes.

fat trimmed

Important step actually.

Add all the fat to a food processor or if you’re using a grinder, grind it once on medium grind and then grind it again on a fine grind.

I used my food processor to do this and it works really great. Basically, just add all the fat pieces to the processor and pulse a few times to chop them up and then switch it on to process the fat down basically to a paste.

This was my final result. And no. There’s no appetizing way to photograph this.

fat

Gives a new meaning to “chew the fat.”

Once your fat is done, add your meat to the processor and pulse it a few times. It should have a much more coarse texture than the fat. Something like this.

meat mixed in

This is a pretty good texture.

Set your meat aside now. The hard part is done. Now the fun part.

The Spices

You can go pretty crazy on the spices in sausage. The meat can handle a lot of spices so don’t be shy about adding it. The hard part is that you can’t really taste and adjust so you kind of have to go on blind faith.

These were the spices and stuff I went with for this batch. Like I said, the important thing for me in this recipe was the maple syrup. Get the good stuff too. It makes a huge difference.

spices

The maple syrup is essential.

I like using dried herbs generally in sausage but I used fresh sage in this case because I wanted the sage flavor to really pop. It goes well with the maple flavor. You can use fresh herbs though if you want, just remember to chop them pretty fine.

sage chopped

Chop really finely.

Add all your spices and everything to your ground pork and mix it up. Without a doubt, the best tool for this is your hands. Don’t be afraid to get a little dirty!

all mixed up

Hands are your best tool for this.

Once you have the mixture mixed up, you can do a ton of stuff with it. You could of course stuff it into casings, but I don’t have a stuffer so I didn’t do that. So these are the options left if you aren’t stuffing it:

1) Freeze it! Put the sausage in a freezer bag and get out as much air as possible. It’ll freeze fine for months.
2) Cook it ground. You can add it to omelets or a ton of other breakfast dishes (I’m using it in one next week actually)
3) Make sausage patties.

I actually did all three of these options because 3 pounds of sausage is a bit much for me to use at once obviously. I made some small 2 ounce patties for my breakfast on the day I made the sausage.

This is a small plate so these look big, but they were normal sausage patty sized.

patties made

These are smaller then they look.

Cook these in a hot skillet (no oil needed) for about 6 minutes a side until they are really well browned and done all the way through.

The flavor is kind of amazing.

nice and browned

Brown food tastes good.

I served my patties with an egg sunny side up and an English muffin! Great breakfast.

bite

Bite!

Is this a bit of work? Sure. And you might have to step outside your comfort zone a bit, but it’s completely worth it. I’d put this sausage recipe up against any store bought sausage out there.

So what do you think? Too much work or worth the effort?

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30 comments on “Homemade Breakfast Sausage

  1. Mmmm! Sounds delicious! I never thought of putting the maple syrup IN the sausage, I usually just dunk my bites of sausage in the syrup from the waffles/pancakes/whatever. It’s a good idea though. :-)

  2. yeah and most sausages in restaurants tends to be grade D or even E meat. YUCK. so making your own is smart, very smart.
    so glad you added in maple syrup..

  3. I follow about 5 different food blogs of people that I don’t know, and you are one of them. :) My husband and I live and work in Peru and it is sometimes a challenge to cook foods from back home. One of the foods I have missed THE MOST is breakfast sausage. It is so funny that you posted this because I just tried a new Italian sausage recipe this afternoon for homemade pizza. I cannot wait to try this. Thanks for the recipe, especially for those of us that have no other choice than to make it homemade.

    P.S. South America is the hub for quinoa. Have you ever tried it? I ate a dish that seemed like creamed quinoa (the salty version). I know quinoa is very trendy in the world right now. Would you try some fun quinoa recipes sometime?

  4. I think it’s worth the effort because you know what you put into it. You could always make a batch and freeze. I find it funny though when you say, “if you have extra hour or two.”

  5. Before I made my own sausage, it was always a daunting task for me as well! But needless to say, I got over that fear pretty quick. The only thing that I did differently is chill the meat cubes in the freezer for about 30 minutes before grinding them. It makes it easier to grind in the food processor if they’re solid! But final result is still just as good!

  6. Awesome job, Nick! You nailed this one, great instructions and photos as always.

    If you want to make this even better, make it into a standard roll and then smoke it for about 90 minutes. Slice and serve. You won’t believe how much better it is than pan fried.

    You don’t have a smoker? Well get over to my August Giveaway post and enter to win that Masterbuilt 30″ Electric Smoker. I’d love to see what you could do with it.

    1. Fennel seed is used to make Italian sausage and not used in breakfast sausage. Unless of course you want Italian sausage for breakfast….

  7. Yum! We actually have a meat grinder and my husband was really craving sausage this past weekend! This recipe is a keeper. Thanks!

  8. Sounds good to me!

    I make sausage quite a bit but never added maple syrup to the mix. I'll have to give this one a try this weekend.

    Mike

  9. I love that you used Organic. I am getting ready to slaughter a pig and need to get ingredients for when they make my sausage. The stuff they use is the pits. I am going prepared with all my organic spices to blend the meat with. I was going to do one with just spices and 1 with just maple syrup I never thought to add both to it at 1 time. I am also selling it and am not sure if most people would like it this way. Wish I had some pork to experiment with. After making it did you find it was just right? Is this recipe to spicy? Do the red pepper flakes add any kind of significant flavor? Was your total weight 3# or was that before you added the fat? Thanks for the recipe and all the good info.

    1. That’s awesome that you using a whole pig. Big fan of whole animal usage. I wish I had the space for it right now :)

      To answer your questions, I really liked the sausage recipe, but it’s a breakfast sausage so it’s a bit on the sweet side (due to the syrup). Unless you eat a lot of breakfast sausage, I’d probably not make only this variety. But if you want to make breakfast sausage, it’s a keeper of a recipe in my opinion.

      The recipe is just mildly spicy. The spicy plays well with the sweetness. Red pepper flakes add a note of chile peppers and heat to the mix.

      I didn’t weigh my sausage after making it, but it was probably about that. Adding spices and stuff doesn’t change the weight all too much and I started with about 3 pounds of pork.

      Hope that helps! Let me know how it goes!

  10. My husband and I just bought a meat grinder for the sole purpose of making our own sausage. Yesterday, we made your Maple Sausage recipe. It is delicious! We made patties, packaged them 4 to a package and put them in our freezer. We made them about 2 oz each. I used an ice cream scoop, a bit smaller than usual size. Rolled into a ball, put the ball between 2 pieces of wax paper and pressed into patty. Thanks for the great recipe, we will be looking for more.

  11. Thanks for posting this recipe! It inspired me to make my own sausage patties…instead of pork butt I used a combo of chicken breasts and bacon (roughly a ratio of 3 parts chicken to 1 part bacon). Then I fried them up and sandwiched them between buttermilk waffles with a fried egg, a slice of cheddar, and an extra drizzle of maple syrup. I spent the rest of my day in a food coma and have no memories of other meals that day :-P

    1. Def throwing in some bacon next time and making a waffle sammies. Great idea! No such thing as too much pork.

    1. Of course! This is a great recipe to double. You could freeze it before cooking it and have perfect little patties ready to go.

  12. Making my own sausage is the only way I have found to avoid the MSG and other additives in commercial sausage. Easy way to make patties—Place 2-oz scoops of sausage mixture in individual sandwich baggies. Flatten with inverted plate. Leave patty in baggie and freeze a dozen of them in a gallon zip bag. Suck air out of the bag with a soda straw when sealing. BTW you can check seasoning and adjust as needed by frying a tsp of the mixture before tasting. I’ve been using apple juice in mine, but maple syrup sounds great!

  13. Great recipe and technique. I think breakfast sausage is easier than other types because it doesn’t necessarily require stuffing into casings. I buy the boneless pork shoulder from Costco for less than $2 a pound and it really is just about the perfect ratio of lean to fat. I’d never thought about grinding the fat and lean separate though, what a great idea! I am going to try it tomorrow. Thanks!

  14. Yum. Sounds good. Do you know how it tastes without the maple syrup? I don’t care for maple flavored bacon so don’t know about maple in the sausage. Made your recipe for your slow roasted chicken wings tonight & they were really yummy. Thanks for sharing your recipes.

  15. Awesome Sausage recipes.
    I love Sausage and often eat it in the morning, accompanied with bread and a glass of fresh milk. Then a cup of coffee before work.
    I will make this Sausage at this Sunday morning with my wife

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