With its unexpected and delightful crunch of whole peppercorns and spicy beef flavor, this easy-to-make home-cured sausage will wow your party guests.
It Started with Mom
My Mom was my Kitchen Mentor and a wizard at finding great recipes from great cookbooks and then refining them to fit our family’s tastes. This one for Peppercorn Beef Sausage is a recipe she adapted and made fairly frequently, and I’ve taken it a step further.
Growing up, this “home-smoked” sausage from Terry Thompson-Anderson’s classic cookbook Cajun-Creole Cooking was always on offer at parties and for holiday meals, no matter the season. The “home” part comes from using curing salt, a great trick and something every home cook should know about. The “smoked” part comes from the ingredient liquid smoke.
Mom’s update to the recipe for Home-Smoked Sausage with Horseradish Sauce (found on page 24 of the first edition of Cajun-Creole Cooking and page 27 of the second) was to add more peppercorns (a must!) and a teaspoon of dried sage to the sausage, and a simplification of the accompanying sauce to amplify the horseradish flavor. Then she stopped making the horseradish sauce altogether and served the sausage with a marvelous blue cheese dip. Great idea!
I Picked Up the Tradition
I just started making this sausage again after a 20-year hiatus and have put the Glover Gardens southwest spin on it. As with Mom, adding more peppercorns is a requirement. I also have decided never to use liquid smoke, because it tastes artificial and chemical-y, so I replaced it with smoky chipotle powder. I tweaked the ingredient amounts and switched Sriracha for Tabasco. Mom’s addition of sage doesn’t fit with this flavor profile, but I think she would have really liked my version. I’ve renamed it Peppercorn Beef Sausage because the peppercorns really are the star in this recipe, and I don’t serve it with the same sauce every time. It’s great without a condiment, too.
The Grill-Meister is a sausage connoisseur and he gives the Peppercorn Beef Sausage a big thumbs-up rating.
Peppercorn Beef Sausage is Party-Worthy
I’ve taken this sausage out to play several times recently, for three very different parties – a ladies’ luncheon baby shower, a Big 5-0 birthday party for a guy and a wine-and-cheese going-away party for close friends who are moving out of the big city. It was a hit with all three crowds. That’s when you know a recipe is a keeper!
Peppercorn Beef Sausage Recipe
- 3 lbs. lean ground beef
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons black peppercorns
- 1 tsp. dried chipotle powder or ancho chile powder
- 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tablespoons onion powder
- 3 tablespoons Morton’s Tender Quick Salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Sriracha
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir until thoroughly mixed. Divide into six equal portions, and then roll each portion tightly in plastic wrap or wax paper without leaving air bubbles. Store in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 12 hours before cooking (24 – 36 hours is even better).
Preheat oven to 300°. Line a cookie sheet with foil and top with a wire rack. Spray well with cooking spray, then unwrap the sausages and place them on the rack. Cook for 30 minutes, then remove and turn, cooking for an additional 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely, then refrigerate. To freeze, wrap individual sausages in foil and then place in a freezer bag.
To serve, slice the sausage into rounds.
Join Me in the Kitchen
Peppercorn Beef Sausage is super-durable and easy to take to parties. If you make a big batch early in the holiday season and freeze it, you can grab a couple of logs from the freezer any time you need a throw-down party dish.
The original recipe is served with a horseradish dip. Peppercorn Beef Sausage is is great with any creamy savory dip like this from the Glover Gardens Cookbook archives:
It is also nice with a fresh, herbaceous dip like Churrasco’s Chimichurri. But you don’t have to dress it up with a dip – one of the best things about this sausage is just grabbing a slice or two as a quick snack. And it is perfect on a charcuterie platter.
More Experimenting to Do
This recipe is due for more exploration: I’d like to try it with ground pork, ground turkey and maybe even venison, using a variety of different spices. I’d also like to experiment with different liquids instead of water, like maybe a lager. I’ll keep you posted!
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