What could be more satisfying than biting into a juicy, meaty, perfectly seasoned sausage that you’ve made with your own two hands? The good news is that sausage-making is simple and fun. High-quality ingredients like sustainably raised meat are widely available, and online purveyors sell everything from seasonings to natural hog casings. With a little know-how and a home meat grinder and stuffer (see Test Drive: Meat Grinders), avid carnivores can make impressive butcher-shop-quality links right in their own kitchens. And we’re going to show you how. For quantities, complete instructions, and variations, refer to the Sage and Red Wine Sausage recipe.
Part One: Grind it
Trim and discard any gristle or connective tissue from the pork. Cut the pork and pork fat back into 1-inch cubes.
Spread in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and put in the freezer, uncovered, until very cold (partially frozen on the edges but still soft in the center), about 1 hour. Meanwhile, chill a large mixing bowl and the blade and 1/4-inch grinding plate from your meat grinder.
Set up the meat grinder with the chilled parts according to manufacturer’s instructions. Grind the pork and the fat together into the chilled bowl. The mixture should come off the grinder cleanly, and the fat should not appear warm or smeared. If smearing occurs, return the meat and fat to the freezer until very cold.
Part Two: Mix It
In a small bowl, mix the salt, pepper, garlic, and sage. Add the seasonings and the wine to the ground meat and mix briefly but thoroughly with your hands. Don’t overmix, or the fat could begin to melt.
To taste for seasoning, make a small patty of the sausage mixture and cook it in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking. If not shaping the sausages immediately, refrigerate until you’re ready to proceed.
For the simplest sausage, just mold the mixture into patties: use your hands to shape the patties about 2-1/2 to 3 inches in diameter and 3/4 inch thick.