Canadian sausage for Canada Day

Canada Day is the perfect excuse for a barbecue, and every year (barring unforeseen circumstances), we invite lots of friends over, grill up some tasty food, and serve some great Canadian beer and wine – the latter being especially pointed this year with the passage of Bill C-311.

My grilling meat of choice for this celebration is usually sausage, because it’s easy to make in large quantities and it’s a great vehicle for a variety of interesting flavour combinations. This year, I made two varieties: spicy roasted poblano sausage from Charcuterie, and apple-maple-sage sausage for some Canadian flavour. The maple is self-explanatory; the apples are there in part because apple and pork is always a great flavour combination, and in part to recognize the tragic loss of Ontario’s apple crop this year; and the sage is to round out the flavour.

Once you know the basics of sausage-making and have a flavour combination in mind, it’s really very easy to make up new sausages. (I drew on both Charcuterie and another of my favourite food books, The Flavor Bible, for this one.) And if I do say so myself, my “Canada Day sausage” is pretty damn delicious.

Happy Canada Day!

How to make apple maple sage “Canada Day” sausage

2 Tbsp butter
2 large Crispin apples, about one pound combined weight, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1.5 Tbsp Canadian whisky

2.25 kg pork butt with a good layer of fat on it, diced
40 g kosher salt
17 g fresh sage, in chiffonade

1/2 cup Canada No. 2 Amber maple syrup
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water

In a sauté pan, heat the butter over medium heat, and cook the diced apples until tender but not disintegrating. Raise the heat, carefully add the Canadian whisky, and cook until the liquid is evaporated. Cool the apples to room temperature, then chill until cold (or freeze until partially frozen).

Mix the pork butt, salt and sage, and grind in a meat grinder. As with all sausage-making, keep everything as cold as possible; you may want to partially freeze the meat before grinding, and place it in the fridge to chill after grinding.

Combine the maple syrup, cider vinegar and water, and chill until ice cold.

Working in batches if necessary, mix the ground-pork-and-sage mixture with the cooked and chilled apples in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed, gradually adding the maple syrup-vinegar mixture, until everything is uniform and looks sticky, about 1 minute. Cook a sample (gently; the maple syrup burns easily), taste the seasoning, and correct if necessary.

Stuff into casings, or form into patties, and serve as desired.

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