The Meatwave: Barbecue & Grilling Recipes, Reviews, Tips, and Tricks

Wed Feb 9, 2011

Spicy Roasted Poblano Sausage

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Roasted Poblano Sausage

I don't understand what's with all this bitchin' about mother-in-laws. I have no qualms with the in-laws—time spent with them are always occasions I look forward to. Not only do I get to go down to Texas and indulge in some of greatest Tex-Mex and barbecue known to man, I also sometimes return with gifts that are meant to win my heart. This year really took the cake though when I received a 5 lb vertical sausage stuffer. Know that I really meant what I said about loving the in-laws and that there is no need to buy my love, but c'mon, how freakin' sweet is it that my mother-in-law got me the sausage stuffer of my dreams. (Oh god, that sounded bad, didn't it?)

Roasted Poblano Sausage

I haven't broken in the new stuffer quite yet, but it's spiked an interest in sausage making that had me reminiscing about links past. One of the fondest from last summer were these spicy roasted poblano sausages. Not only were they a success in pork sausage for me—something I still need a lot of work on—but they also fed the chile head in me, starting with roasting poblanos, which immediately filled the kitchen with the fruity aroma of sweet and spicy chiles.

Roasted Poblano Sausage

The recipe got even better by calling for a second helping of poblanos, just this time as the dried and shriveled version, anchos. These were roasted in a 350 degree oven until their earthy aroma started to mix with the fruity poblano one that was still lingering, filling me up with an unique excitement for cooking that can only truly be awakened by chiles.

Roasted Poblano Sausage

The anchos were ground, then added to a pile of five pounds of pork butt and one pound of fat back cut into cubes. A fitting mixture of salt, oregano, garlic, paprika, and cumin was also added to the meat, then tossed together to thoroughly coat the cubes with spices.

Roasted Poblano Sausage

The mixture then took a pass through my trusty Kitchen Aid grinder. I've been a lot more careful with keeping all ingredients as cold as possible through the process now, freezing the grinder and bowl, and then grinding the meat int a bowl set in ice water. I'd like to attribute my extra care here to the success of these sausages, and hopefully future ones.

Roasted Poblano Sausage

With the meat all ground, the poblanos were added into to the party, along with cilantro and some ice water, and given a spin until I had a cohesive looking sausage mixture. A quick test patty then confirmed the seasoning was perfect and these were going to be some killer sausages.

Roasted Poblano Sausage

Here's where I'd wish I'd had that 5lb vertical stuffer. For years I've been struggling with stuffing using the craptastic Kitchen Aid sausage stuffer. All of the Kitchen Aid design effort must have gone into the meat grinder—which I love—with the sausage stuffer being a mere after thought, because the pain and amount of time it takes to get meat into casings has been my greatest roadblock to experimenting more with sausage making. Never-the-less, I'm a determined man, and I got every last piece of meat stuffed into natural hog casings and tied them off into 6-inch links.

Roasted Poblano Sausage

Taken to the grill, these cooked up to a beautiful reddish color with spots of golden brown on the casings that had me feeling that crunchy snap before I even had one bite.

Roasted Poblano Sausage

This sausages were way more than good looks, they were also a triumph of flavor. Juicy porky goodness spewed a mild heat that lingered on the tongue, making any resistance for seconds futile.Luckily, seconds and thirds and fourths are not far off, since my mother-in-law has so kindly enabled me to take my sausage game to the next level. The forthcoming Meatwave season may just end up being the summer of the sausage, creating more fond memories to warm my heart in the winter, exactly as these spicy roasted poblano sausages are doing right now.

Spicy Roasted Poblano Sausage

Adapted from Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Poleyn.

Ingredients

5 pounds boneless pork shoulder butt, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 pound for pork fat back, cut into 1 inch cubes
3 large poblano peppers
3 tablespoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons ancho chile powder
2 tablespoons fresh oregano
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon Spanish Paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup ice water
Natural hog casings, soaked in lukewarm water for at least 30 minutes and rinsed

Procedure

1. Roast the poblanos over an open flame on a gas stove or grill until the skins are completely charred. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes. Remove the charred outer skins, cut in half and remove the seeds and cores. Cut the peppers into a small dice, you should have about 1 cup.

2. Combine all the ingredients except the poblanos, cilantro and water in a large bowl and toss to distribute the seasonings evenly. Chill until ready to grind.

3. Grind the mixture through the small die of a meat grinder into a bowl set in ice. Add the peppers and cilantro to the meat mixture. Mix with the paddle attachment, or a sturdy spoon, while slowly adding the water. Continue mixing until all the liquid is incorporated and the sausage has developed a uniform, sticky appearance, about 1 minute on medium speed. Chill until ready to stuff.

4. Form a small patty of the sausage and saute until cooked through. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

5. Stuff the sausage into the hog casings and twist into 6-inch links. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to cook.

6. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over the charcoal grate. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place the sausages on the grill and cook to an internal temperature of 150 degrees. Remove from the grill and serve.

Comments

  • 01
  • Chris says
    Outstanding! And thanks for saving me the money on the Kitchenaide stuffer. I have and love the grinder but hadn't bought a stuffer yet.

    And yes, this cracked me up too "(Oh god, that sounded bad, didn't it?)"
    Posted Thu, Feb 10 2011 6:28pm
  • 02
  • A Wok in The Tuscan Kitchen says
    great looking sausages.
    I have the crappy kitchen aid stuffer too......I'm going to suffer through and try out this recipe. They look worth the agony.

    Thanks for the post
    Posted Fri, Feb 11 2011 12:31am
  • 03
  • Horacio Martinez says
    Tasty recipe.

    I live in Mexico and have to translate fatback to spanish so my butcher can look for it. I believe it is the fatty part on top of the shoulder butt below the skin, which is mostly white fat with no meat or skin attached to it, am I right?
    Posted Tue, Feb 22 2011 1:04pm
  • 04
  • Josh says
    @Horacio Martinez Fatback is the thick layer of fat running along the pig's back, right under the skin. It's a hard, white fat, usually about an 1" high and I've seen it with and without the skin before, although the butcher I get it from, it's always without the skin attached.
    Posted Tue, Feb 22 2011 1:10pm
  • 05
  • Horacio Martinez says
    Thanks for the reply
    Posted Tue, Feb 22 2011 1:52pm
  • 06
  • HillBoyhr says
    you should try cutting the meat in strips instead of cubes, it helps the mixed pull it through better for grinding with less melting.

    these look good, now i know what i'm doing with my weekend.
    Posted Mon, Mar 21 2011 11:58am
  • 07
  • Josh says
    @HillBoyhr Thanks for the tip!
    Posted Mon, Mar 21 2011 2:05pm
  • 08
  • Waky says
    This looks good!

    Sounds like using a Cuisinart is as craptastic as as using the grinder as a stuffer. Really kills any texture.

    Sometimes, I brine the pork briefly, and having a grinder, you can mix up the grinds of lean/fat a bit.

    P.S,
    LEM makes an awesome 5 Lb. stuffer with metal gears
    Posted Wed, Jun 1 2011 6:13pm
  • 09
  • Josh says
    @Waky I got the LEM 5lb vertical stuffer. I have yet to use it, but I let it sit out on the table for a while I was so happy when I got it. There is sure to be a lot of sausage coming soon at the Meatwave this summer.
    Posted Wed, Jun 1 2011 10:28pm
  • 10
  • Waky says
    Bust that baby out! It squirts out sausage...

    Use mine all the time. It's easier on the meat, and you can do 5 Lb's in 5 minutes. Takes longer to reload & clean. With all that spare time, you can learn to do an impressive "link chain", like the old school butcher.

    They tell you to use food grade grease on the O ring, but a wipe of olive oil or lard works fine.

    Keep it up, you'll drift into curing next. Home made bacon. Save that Cuisinart for pizza dough.
    Posted Thu, Jun 2 2011 6:58pm
  • 11
  • A Wok in the Tuscan Kitchen says
    OK...used the crappy Kitchen Aid attachment to make these sausages as well as your Thai Spicy Chicken sausage. The sausages were amazing
    ......the KA attachment still a pain.

    Which vertical sausage stuffer are you using?
    ....going to order one right now!!!!
    Posted Sun, Jul 31 2011 8:30pm
  • 12
  • Josh says
    @A Wok in the Tuscan Kitchen Glad you enjoyed the sausages, but I feel your pain with the KA stuffer. I've switched to the LEM 5lb Vertical Stuffer.
    Posted Mon, Aug 1 2011 9:19am
  • 13
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