Our Path to Making Sausage
“Look darling, they have bacon and sausage!” my wife exclaimed as we found a pork vendor at our local farmers’ market.
“Hmmm”, I thought. “Let me make sure”.
“Excuse me, sir. Can you tell me about your management practices for the pigs? You know, how are they raised?”
“Glad you asked! My pigs are all raised on pasture and receive a supplemental feeding of non-GMO grains and legumes – basically just peas and barley. I have a lot of wooded areas on the farm in which the pigs love to forage. I use permaculture practices to raise healthy, happy hogs!”
We spent a few minutes more going back and forth until I was completely satisfied. I thoroughly vetted the farmer as best as I could without being on his farm. He passed all my tests. It didn’t help that we were also wanting some pork in a bad way. We had just moved across country to the Inland Northwest, leaving our beloved farm we belonged to behind. We needed to find a new source of meat and fast.
“I’ll take two pounds of Italian sausage and 2 packs of pork chops” I informed the farmer. He happily fulfilled the order and we left with our cotton totes filled with produce and pork. Sausage was on the menu for dinner that night! I thawed one pack of the sausage and seared them in a skillet before finishing them in the over. Once well-roasted, I submerged the pork links in a bath of marinara sauce topped with parmesan cheese. That, coupled with a side I can’t remember now, was a delectable dish!
I had been dabbling with a paleo diet for a few months. It’s not an easy task when the rest of the family is not on a paleo diet. Ravioli, black bean burgers, mac-n-cheese, and a number of other things on the paleo naughty list were still being served regularly for dinner. A few months after our move, however, Ashley decided to give paleo a try (we were actually doing primal but didn’t really know it yet). Once Ashley was on-board, it was so much easier for me and Little Buddy to officially make the switch.
Being on a whole-foods diet made me keenly more aware of ingredients in food products. There was hardly anything left in our diet that had ingredients. Almost everything fit neatly into one of these categories: fruit, vegetable, meat, butter ,or spices/herbs. I began auditing the few things left in the fridge that had ingredients – bacon. The bacon from our local pork farmer had an ingredients label on it so I gave it a gander. I was shocked to read the following phrase listed after “pork” and “salt” – high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). HFCS?!?! What was that doing in my local, sustainably-raised, non-GMO fed, pastured pork?! I quickly rummaged for the sausage. I had to see if there were any surprises in that.
“Please be clean, please be clean” I said in my head as I hesitantly scanned the packaging. Nothing. No ingredients label. I contacted the farmer and asked them what goes into the sausage. The farmer had no clue. He gave me the name of the butcher who processes the meat and does the bacon curing and sausage making.
“No more eating this sausage!” I exclaimed to my wife after getting off the phone with the butcher. “It’s loaded with stuff we ought not be consuming- MSG, dextrose, and nitrites”.
I checked with other farmers and their butchers. It was all the same. All the butchers were using the same bad ingredients in their sausage. Apparently simply limiting the sausage to some herbs and spices was not an option for these guys. I was left with only two choices at that point: 1. give up sausage or 2. make my own.
The below video shows you the choice I made. It’s not exactly the as a traditional sausage link, but it’s close enough and it is simply natural, organic herbs and spices. No toxic ingredients. Sausage fit for the primal lifestyle. Here is the seasoning recipe I created for our sausage mix:
Homemade Pork Sausage Seasoning
I use this seasoning: http://amzn.to/2d9XOlF