How to make a low fat homemade breakfast sausage

Breakfast Sausage in a SkilletWe like to have breakfast sausage every once in a while. Yet often the brands at the grocer are laden with fat. We do know of

one brand

that is fairly lean, but most store bought sausage is very fatty. It seems the manufacturers often can resist the tendency to want to use up the fat and make something off it. Often you hear that the fat is required for the taste. We haven’t found that to be the case at all, and make our own sausage using store bought ground pork.

Sometimes we find a nice looking pork butt roast, remove as much fat as possible and then grind it up ourselves in our meat grinder. This is a great way of really making sure the butcher isn’t trying to make something off their fat just like the sausage manufacturers do! If you don’t have a meat grind though, you can ask your butcher to trim off the fat before grinding the pork butt, and tell them you’ll pay for the fat on the side. Personally, I like being in control of the grinding and making absolutely sure I can get rid of as much fat as I can. An honest butcher will do as you ask and make you a nice lean ground pork.

We happen to have a sausage stuffer too and sometimes make stuffed breakfast sausage. It’s a lot of work to stuff your own sausage and yet it’s rewarding since you know what’s in the sausage isn’t loaded with fat. This article is about make homemade sausage patties so we’ll reserve the discussion on making sausage links for a future article.

Pork Nutrition FactsWe started our homemade breakfast patty sausage using store bought ground pork. According to the nutrition facts on the pork, the amount of fat per 1/4 pound of ground pork is 22g which is 34% of the daily value. Readers might think that value is high, but that amount is for a 4 ounce serving. The typical fat content of packaged breakfast sausage is 22g per 2 oz serving, so the fat in our homemade pork sausage is about half of the fat in prepared sausage. The proof of this is in the picture above of our sausage cooking in the skillet. Take a look closely and you’ll see that there is no excess fat around the sausage. Keep in mind too, that we’re using store bought ground pork and the butcher just can’t resist the opportunity to get $4.00 a pound for fat. If we ground our own pork, and removed all of the visible fat then we could easily have cut the fat in half again.

What you need to make homemade sausage patties
1 to 1 1/4 pounds lean ground pork
1 tbsp very finely diced onion
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
2 tbsp parsley flakes
1 tsp ground sage
1/4 tsp chervil
1/4 tsp marjoram
1/4 tsp savory
1 tbsp water

Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with your hands. Form into 5 to 10 patties depending on your preference. Cook over medium low heat in an ungreased non-stick skillet until browned, turn and brown the other side.

Make sure to notice how little fat is left in the pan when you’re done cooking these patties.

Stovetop Barbecued Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Picture of Barbecued Pork Sandwich
It’s still dead of winter here on the East Coast, and we haven’t barbecued in what seems like forever. With the deck covered by 6 inches of heavy frozen solid snow, we can’t even consider firing up our grill. So it’s times like these that making a barbecued pork on top of the stove come in handy. We guarantee that this is a great recipe and the hardest part is cutting up the pork. The rest of the time the pork is simply simmering on the stove, and when done cooking, the pork will shred with the touch of a fork.

5 pound boneless pork shoulder “Boston Butt” roast
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 tsp (or more) Tabasco Sauce
1 1/2 tbsp celery seed
1 tsp garlic juice
1 tsp onion juice
2 cups water

You need about 5 pounds of meat for this recipe, and if the store only has bone-in pork shoulder, then purchase about an 8 pound roast. It’s not an easy task to cut the meat from a pork shoulder (or Boston Butt) roast, so I’d recommend finding a boneless roast.

Cut the roast into about 3/4 pound chunks. Lightly grease a large stock pot or dutch oven with olive oil. Toss in the pork, and cook on high, turning, until the pork browns on the outside, turn, and repeat a couple times. Don’t worry about cooking the pork through, there’s plenty of time for that coming up, what you want is to get some caramel color on the pork.

Once the pork butt is browned to your desire, add the water, vinegar, celery seed, garlic juice, onion juice, and Tabasco sauce. I like to use garlic and onion juice for this recipe because the flavor will blend into the pork and there are no pieces of onion or garlic in the barbecued pork. If you can’t find onion or garlic juice, substitute with 1/2 tsp chopped garlic, and 1/4 cup finely diced onion. Bring the liquid to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 2 hours. Turn the meat over ever half hour so that the meat gets evenly flavored by the sauce. With a tight lid, and slow simmer, you shouldn’t need to add any water, but if you see the pan getting dry, add a little water.

When the pork is done, it will rip to shreds with no effort at all when touched with a fork. Drain the pot into a collander, rip up the pork, and serve with a good barbecue sauce such as Staubs. Heat the barbecue sauce, then mix 1 or 1/2 tbsp of BBQ sauce with 1 1/2 cups of pulled pork.

Picture of pulled pork bbq and sauce

I like to serve my pulled pork sandwiches on toasted kaiser rolls topped with a little bit of shredded Cheddar cheese, and 1 to 2 tbsp of fresh made coleslaw*, and some coleslaw on the side. Exactly as pictured above.

*Make a quick delicious coleslaw with a package of Fresh ExpressTM Coleslaw Mix and Marie’s Original Coleslaw Dressing, which you can find in the salad dressing aisle of the grocer. Mix the coleslaw with the dressing right after the pork BBQ mixture is set to simmer and refrigerate. The coleslaw will be perfectly flavored at the same time the pork BBQ is done.

What the heck is Scrapple?

Picture of RAPA Brand Scrapple PackageThe name scrapple was derived from the the word scraps. Originally scrapple was created to make use of the scraps of hog left over after butchering and certainly it still is. It’s made by boiling neck bones in seasoned water along with other odd parts of the hog for a few hours until the meat falls off of the bones. The meat is chopped up, and then mixed with seasoned cornmeal mush, and baked until firm. Here’s a vintage recipe for scrapple. But nowadays most of us aren’t butchering our own hogs, so we will either buy some scrapple at the grocer, or order it along with breakfast at a restaurant.

The current use of scrapple here in the United States is as a breakfast meat. But in early days of settlement in the US it was also served as the main entry for Sunday and special dinners.

My favorite brand of scrapple is Rapa Brand Scrapple, and is made in the small town of Bridgeville, DE on the Delmarva Peninsula. The Delmarva is a rural agricultural and farming region for the most part and is bordered on the western side by the Chesapeake Bay and on the eastern side by the Atlantic Ocean. Bridgeville is located about dead center of the Delmarva and is in a strategic location for serving the farmers of the region. Rapa has a long history as a brand of scrapple. Ralph and Paul Adams incorporated RAPA Scrapple in 1926. In 1981 the RAPA Scrapple Company was purchased by Jones Dairy Farm, however RAPA Scrapple continues it’s operation in Bridgeville, DE. If you cannot find Rapa Scrapple in your area, the Rapa Scrapple company processes mail orders for scrapple in the winter months. The current price in 2007 is $38.00 for 12 one pound blocks (which works out to $3.17 a pound) plus UPS shipping costs. Scrapple freezes well so don’t worry about what you’d do with so much scrapple at one time. My favorite flavor of Rapa Scrapple is their original. Other flavors produced by Rapa are Beef Scrapple, Scrapple with Bacon, Hot & Spicy Scrapple, and Greensboro Brand. For mail orders from Rapa, you may mix and match any of these varieties to meet the 12 package requirement. Orders must be placed by mail as the company only accepts checks or money orders. Call Rapa 800-338-4727 to get the shipping costs before sending payment to them.

Another brand of scrapple that can be found in my local Maryland grocers is produced by the Kirby and Holloway Provision Company, which is also located in Delaware, in the small town of Harrington, DE just a couple towns and a few miles north of Rapa’s Bridgeville Locations, and is also on US Route 13. I have never had the Kirby and Holloway brand of scrapple so I cannot comment on it’s flavor. I can say I extremely enjoy all of the Kirby and Holloway brand sausages, which are flavorful and unlike many sausages are not loaded with fatty meat. So since they produce such quality breakfast and dinner sausages, I would have to say that the scrapple would be of high quality as well.

Picture of Sliced Scrapple in SkilletSome folks are turned off by thinking about what goes into scrapple, and consider it nasty food. But nothing could be further from the truth. It’s a tasty meat dish that makes for change of taste in your breakfast meals. The official ingredient list on the package of Rapa Scrapple lists: Pork Stock, Pork Livers, Pork Fat, Pork Snouts, Corn Meal, Pork Hearts, Wheat Flour, Salt and Spices. It is not a low fat food though and like sausages needs to be eaten in moderation. According to the Nutrition Facts, each serving of scrapple contains 8g or 12% daily value of fat. That’s not lean, but is only a fraction of the fat found in fat dogs (hot dogs) which many labels state the daily value of fat at 38% [and don’t even look at the label on a package of bacon if you’re concerned about the fat in scrapple].That said, I try to eat right, and so I may eat scrapple only once every 2 to 3 months.

To Cook Scrapple
Scrapple is a little tricky to cook. I’m not sure cook is the right term since it’s already cooked. It’s really being reheated and browned for serving. The basic cooking instructions are:

Slice the scrapple through the wrapper into 3/8″ slices. Fry in a non-stick skillet over medium heat for about 8 to 10 minutes then turn over and brown the other side. That sounds simple, right? Well it really is that simple except for one thing — knowing when to turn the scrapple over.

Picture of properly cooked scrappleScrapple can’t be rushed, nor cooked in the microwave. It needs to be pan fried until the bottom has browned, and turned only once, and cooked until the bottom on the other side has browned too. If you turn the scrapple too early, then the slice with fall apart (it is made with corn meal so will be a rather mushy mess in this case). If you cook scrapple too long, then the outside will be hard, and the inside will be mushy which makes it difficult to eat. Our picture here of the cooked scrapple shows the right level of browning. The outside is brown, and yet still soft enough to cut with a fork.

Serve cooked scrapple as a breakfast meat dish along with eggs and potatoes. Scrapple can also be used as a meat on a scrambled egg sandwich on toasted wheat bread with cheese. Give scrapple a try with your breakfast. There are lots and lots of scrapple made so someone must be eating it. And it’s those of us adventurous enough to get past the ingredient list know how good it tastes.

Cajun Pork Chops with a Pasta Salad

Cajun Pork Chops RecipeWant something that’s quick to make on a weeknight, and yet has great flavor and nutrition; then try this recipe for Cajun Seasoned Pork Chops. In only takes about 20 minutes to cook the chops, and meanwhile you’re making the pasta salad, which is a jiffy when made with Salad Supreme®.

Recipe for Cajun Seasoned Pork Chops
This recipe is so easy, I’m not sure if it really should be called a recipe!

  • 1 – 2 Center Cut Pork Chops [per serving], all visible fat removed
  • Cajun Seasoning
  1. Place 1 tbsp of olive or canola oil in a non-stick skillet, and heat over medium heat for 1 minute.
  2. Reduce heat to low. Add the pork chops, and sprinkle with Cajun Seasoning.
  3. Cover pan, and cook 8 – 10 minutes, depending on thickness of the chops, until lightly browned. Thin chops made need less time. Turn, season other side with Cajun Seasoning and cook other side about 5 – 7 minutes.
  4. Serve with Pasta Salad (recipe below).



Pasta Salad with Salad Supreme
Pasta Salad with Garden Vegetables

  • 1/2 pound spaghetti noodles
  • 1 tbsp McCormick Salad Supreme
  • 1/2 cup Italian Salad Dressing
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Sliced cucumber
  • Sliced baby carrots
  • Sliced bell pepper
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables. Mix 1/2 cup Italian Salad Dressing with the Salad Supreme.
  3. When pasta is cooked to your desired liking, cool it under cold running water and place in a serving bowl large enough for the pasta, and vegetables.
  4. Add the vegetables to the pasta and mix.
  5. Pour the Salad Supreme/Italian Dressing seasoning over top of the pasta and toss gently to season pasta and vegetables.
  6. Sprinkle each serving with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Salad Supreme® is a registered trademark of McCormick & Co Inc, Hunt Valley, Md 21031

Hawaiian Boneless Pork Ribs for a Cold Winters Dinner

Hawaiian Ribs with RiceEnjoying a delicious Hawaiian flavored pork ribs recipe on a cold winters night congers memories of warm tropical nights in the islands. Flavored with pineapple, ginger and garlic, these ribs are very tasty and it is a simple recipe for a weeknight as long as the ribs are thawed.

Start with:
2 pounds of boneless pork country ribs

Chop the ribs into 3 to 4 inch long chunks. Place a large 10 quart sized non-stick pan on the stove, and season with 2 tbsp canola or olive oil. Heat the pan for a minute, and then add the pork ribs. Cook over medium until the ribs are browned, stirring often to brown all sides.

Add 1 cup fresh chopped onion, and 1 tsp chopped garlic

Cook for 3 – 4 minutes until the onion is tender but not browned.

Add:
1 20 ounce can pineapple chunks
1 cup black vinegar
2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 tsp ground ginger

Mix well, bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. Check the pot every 10 – 15 minutes and add water to the liquid should it get too thick.

Mix 1 tbsp corn starch with 1/2 cup water using a fork to blend well. Add to pan of ribs, stir in and cook, stirring often until sauce thickens.

Serve with Seasoned Rice and your favorite vegetable.

Seasoned Rice Recipe
2 cups water
1 cup basmati rice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp sesame seed
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp molasses

Heat water to a boil in a 2 quart sauce pan. Add rice, and all seasonings. Return to boil, cover tightly, reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 10 – 12 minutes until water is absorbed. Remove from heat, and let sit covered for 5 minutes. Mix to fluff the rice, and serve.

Stove Top Barbecued Boneless Pork Ribs

Picture of Barbecued Boneless Spare Ribs For some reason when December comes around our thoughts turn to cooking slow cooked foods for dinner. Some of our favorite slow cooked foods are beef stew, beef vegetable soup, chicken soup, and chuck roast and we make those all of the time.  We wanted to make something different, and there were some very nice boneless pork ribs at the grocery store this week. We bought the boneless pork ribs with the idea of grinding up the pork to make pork meatballs. Since the grocer is too often tempted to get some value from the waste fat and toss extra fat into the grinder, we try to grind our own meat, as we are sure to leave out as much fat as possible. As it turns out, when we got home the ribs were just too nice to be turned into meatballs and we decided to make Country Boneless Pork Ribs with them instead.

Stove Top Country Barbecued Pork Ribs are a simple and easy slow cooked meal. You’ll need a large stockpot or dutch oven with a cover to cook these ribs in. While we made the pork ribs on the stove top this recipe can easily be adapted to the oven by replacing the stove top simmering and cooking the pork ribs at 315° F. for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

  • 1 pound boneless pork ribs
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tsp McCormick Pepper Supreme
  • 1/4 tsp Tabasco Sauce
  1. Cut 1 pound of boneless pork ribs into about 3 inch long pieces.
  2. Place 1 tbsp canola oil in a large pot or dutch oven and heat.
  3. Add the boneless pork ribs to the pot, and cook until browned on all sides.
  4. Add the diced onion and chopped garlic, and cook, stirring about 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Add tomatoes, liquid smoke, Worcestershire Sauce, Tabasco Sauce, molasses and Pepper Supreme. Stir well, and bring to a simmer.
  6. Cover and simmer for 1 hour, checking every 15 minutes to make sure the sauce isn’t too thick.  Add water if needed.  Oven Method: Bake covered in a slow oven (315° F.) for 1 1/2 to 2 hours instead of cooking on stove top.

Serve Country Barbecued Boneless Ribs with your favorite vegetable.

 Note this recipe calls for using McCormick Pepper Supreme.  Pepper Supreme is a wonderful blend of 7 peppers and is a delightful mix to add taste to meals.  If you don’t have Pepper Supreme on hand, subsititute 1/4 tsp black pepper, and 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper in it’s place.

Gravy and Bisquits Breakfast Meal

Gravy and Bisquits

If you like waking up on Sunday morning to a hearty breakfast, then this recipe is for you. Now, it’s not something you want to eat everyday since it’s made with sausage but it’s so tasty it’s worth having a couple times a year.

When we’re feeling lazy, we use Pillsbury Grands biscuits from the refrigerator section of the grocery store. But there really isn’t much to making drop biscuits from scratch so when we don’t have a refigerator ready biscuit tube on hand, we make homemade biscuit dough in about five minutes.

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F
  2. Brown a one pound breakfast sausage roll in a large non-stick skillet. While cooking, chop up into fine pieces similar to ground beef used in spaghetti sauce.
  3. Place biscuits in oven, Grands cook in about 12 minutes.
  4. Add 1/2 cup chopped onion to the sausage, and cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle 3 tbsp flour over the top of the sausage and onions, turn frequently, and cook for another minute.
  6. Add 2 cups low fat milk to the pan, and cook over medium heat stirring frequently until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.
  7. Break up the cooked biscuits into 1 to 2 inch chunks, and place a few pieces in the bottom of a bowl.
  8. Top the biscuit chunks with the sausage and gravy. Sprinkle a little shredded cheddar cheese on top. Add a cooked egg if desired.

Savory Italian Mustard Pork Chops Recipe

Italian Seasoned Mustard Pork ChopsIf you’re looking for a simple recipe, that cooks fast, and is tasty, consider this recipe for Italian Mustard Pork Chops. It’s so easy to make, and they’re something to enjoy. Honestly, before someone told us to try this recipe, we had never considered seasoning pork chops with mustard or Italian seasoning. But the flavor of these is simply delicious. We grilled our pork chops, but these could either be pan fried or broiled instead.

Italian Seasoned Pork Chops Recipe
4 centercut boneless pork chops
Prepared mustard
Italian Seasoning

Spread some mustard over the top of each pork chop. Sprinkle tops of each pork chop with a little Italian seasoning blend. Grill, fry, or broil until thoroughly cooked. Serve with mashed potatoes or potato salad, and a garden salad.

North Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwich

Carolina Pull Pork SandwichToday we felt like slow cooking on the barbecue, and decided to make a genuine Carolina Pork Loin. We chose a 3 pound pork loin for our roast — instead of the typical pork butt [pork shoulder] roast most typical of this recipe. Our choice of a pork loin over pork butt was mostly because of the lower fat in the pork loin. The pork butt will shred better, but as you can see below the pork loin made a great pulled pork sandwich. Chose the roast the suits your taste and diet. We lean toward the leaner cuts of meat.

Now you can’t rush a Carolina Pork Roast. It is a very slow cooked recipe, cooked either in a smoker or a covered grill over indirect heat. It’s a 4 – 6 hour long adventure that ends in a sensuous delight. We cooked our Carolina Pork Roast on our Weber kettle grill with indirect heat using Kingsford charcoal briquets. We chose the Kingsfords briquets over lump charcoal because of the long burning time we needed.

Our Carolina Pork Roast recipe uses two different steps in seasoning. First, we coat the roast with a dry rub made up of simply pepper, paprika, and sugar. Then we baste the roast every 20 minutes or so with a mix of red pepper flakes, sugar, and vinegar.

Recipe for North Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Dry rub

Mix together in a large zipper storage bag. Set aside.

Basting Sauce

Combine in a 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup, or some other glass container. Mix until sugar is dissolved. Don’t be afraid of the amount of red pepper, the vinegar will neutralize most of the heat. The pepper itself will form thicker and thicker layers on the roast as you baste and will keep the pork roast moist as it cooks slowly.

To make Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwiches

  • Dry Rub (above)
  • Basting Sauce (above)
  • 3 pound pork loin roast
  • Your favorite barbecue sauce
  • Kaiser rolls
  • Coleslaw
  1. Place about 20-25 Kingsford charcoal briquets in a pile on one side of your grill. Using charcoal lighter fluid, light the coals.
  2. While the charcoal is getting started, mix the dry rub and the Basting Sauce together.
  3. Place the pork roast in the zipper storage bag, seal, and shake to evenly coat the roast with the Dry Rub.
  4. When the coals are going, place the pork roast about 6 – 8 inches from the coals (if using a Weber grill, the coals should be on one side, and the roast close to the center). Apply a first basting of the Basting Sauce on the roast. Cover, close the vents to about half way. We want this to cook a long time (4 to 6 hours) over slow heat (about 200° F.)
  5. Baste the roast every 20 minutes with the basting sauce.
  6. You’ll need to add at least one more load of charcoal to be able to cook the length of time required. When the coals are half way burnt, and another 20 – 25 briquets. Repeat one more time if needed. The coals should be slowly burning so if they’re going fast, close the vents some more. We cooked our roast for 4 1/2 hours and only needed one refill of the briquets.
  7. As you baste the roast, you’ll notice the red pepper is building up on the roast. This coating will absorb the basting sauce and keep the roast moist.
  8. We like to keep a can of water on the grill over the coals to add moisture to the covered grill.
  9. Turn the roast around [and not over] every hour or so, so as not to overcook any one side of the roast.
  10. Check for doneness with a meat thermometer. The temperature should be 175° F when done.
  11. Remove the roast from the grill, and place on a large cutting board. Scrape off the red pepper.
  12. Chopped Carolina porkChop the pork roast into 1/2″ to 3/4″ size chunks using a heavy meat cleaver. A cleaver is the best method of doing this task.
  13. Toast the Kaiser Rolls.
  14. Mix the chopped pork with some barbecue sauce such as Kraft, Open Pit or KC Masterpiece. Don’t overload the sauce, mix so that you’re adding about 1 1/2 tsp per 1/3 cup serving of meat.
  15. Place the pork on a toasted Kaiser roll, and top with coleslaw (we’ll post a recipe for excellent coleslaw soon).
  16. Serve with coleslaw on the side.

Buffalo Pork Chops Recipe

Picture of Buffalo Pork Chops recipeBoneless center cut pork chops are an excellent choice for a simple, and easy to make dinner. Because many pork producers raise pork in overcrowded conditions, we try to buy humanely raised pork products when possible. Locating stores that sell organic and humanely raised pork is a bit difficult. We’ve had some success with Super Fresh, and Weis; you can usually find organic pork at a Whole Foods market, but if you have a local butcher, you could ask if the pork is raised local. Many local farmers will raise and sell pork that are raised in a comfortable setting.

Porks chops can be cooked in a variety of ways including pan fried, broiled, baked and grilled. We have a couple of excellent baked pork chop recipes which we’ll share in future posts. Todays recipe is for Buffalo Seasoned Pork Chops that are pan fried. These will go from refrigerator to table in about 15 minutes, so this is a great weeknight meal idea.

We chose to serve our pork chops with a vegetable of green beans and almonds, and buttered mashed potatoes.

Buffalo Seasoned Pork Chops Recipe

  1. Season the pork chops liberally with Durkee Buffalo Wing Seasoning
  2. Pan fry in a non-stick skillet about 8 – 10 minutes per side until the pork chops are cooked thru.
  3. Meanwhile, cut and prepare the green beans by steaming for 8 minutes, and then mixing in about 1-2 tbsp of Almond Slivers. Also, prepare mashed potatoes by following the package directions.