But in Oklahoma, we say, “Sausage” like you ‘orta’! I love sausage. There is absolutely nothing like it. And, yes, it has to be made with pork. I’ve made turkey sausage before and I’ve added olive oil to give it some ‘crisp’ on the outside, but heh, it was turkey. That just isn’t real sausage.
My favorite brand of sausage, if I haven’t made my own, is Tennessee Pride Country Sausage. Yes, I was born in Oklahoma and I live in Oklahoma, but I had a stint in between there in Tennessee. “Tennessee Country sausage is the best part of the meal”, don’t you know? It is very lean and has a wonderful flavor. Best of all, we get it here in Okie land!!
Working in the meat department in Blaine, Tennessee, (and yes, we acted this stupid) I learned to make my own sausage. We ground enough hogs to feed Ireland. I remember when I was expecting my first child, we and our friends, who raised hogs, killed several hogs to put in our freezers and I spent the afternoon grinding, seasoning and wrapping nearly 200 lbs of sausage and curing and hanging the hams and bacon. I was in those first three months of morning sickness and I must say, it took me years to be able to smell sage and brown sugar again. I got ill to put it mildly.
My mother-in-law taught me how to can that sausage (sorsage as she called it) and I have been doing it ever since. Either homemade or store bought, sausage does very well canned. It keeps a lot longer than in the freezer and it is so easy to pull out in a pinch. As a side note, the Ball Canning book says not to add sage to your sausage because it could become bitter in the canning, but I have NEVER had that problem…and how is it sausage without sage??! What’s the last 4 letters of sausage? Sage! When I make my own sausage, I use sage from our garden that has been dried and hand rubbed. I have been canning Tennessee Pride sausage for a couple of years, which has sage in it, and it tastes wonderful too.
I canned sausage just before Christmas when I found it on sale. I try to do this once a year to last us and so it takes quite a few runs and a full afternoon but one run only takes about an hour and 45 minutes total time (preparation and processing). You can make your own sausage into patties or if you are using packaged sausage, slice the packages into patties. I am using a serrated knife here with tiny teeth. A straight knife just makes mess of soft sausage. Also, you can freeze your rolls slightly to make them easier to cut. But a serrated knife is still needed.
Place the patties into skillet. I add a 1/4 cup of light olive oil because Tennessee Pride is so lean.
Brown patties on both sides. It doesn’t matter if you don’t get the sausage fully cooked as you would if preparing to serve it.
Carefully stack patties into sterilized and hot canning jars. Leave a 3/4 – 1 inch head space. Here, I am using half pint jars because there are just two of us, but when the kids were all home, I packed the patties into pint jars. I can get around 4 – 5 small patties per half pint jar. For larger jars, you can make your patties larger.
Pour drippings into jars, over sausage, leaving 1″ headspace. If you don’t have enough drippings to fill this high, it is ok. Just fill as much as you can as you see I’ve done in this photo. When the sausage is lean, it is hard to get alot of drippings. That is why I added extra oil in the cooking. Remove all air bubbles with a knife or canning spatula.
Wipe the rims of the jars with a hot, wet rag to remove all oils.
Add lids that have been simmering in nearly boiling water. Add rings and tighten slightly. I tighten and then back off just a smidge.
Place jars in pressure canner that has 2 to 3 inches of hot water in it. Pressure can at 10 lbs pressure for 1 hour and 15 minutes. For quarts, pressure for a hour and 30 minutes.
Remove jars from canner and let them cool. For those of you who have not canned before, you will hear a ‘pinging’ sound as the lids seal. All lids should look concave – sucked down toward the inside of the jar – if they are sealed. If the button in the center is still popped up, the jar has not sealed. When the jars are cool enough to handle, remove the rings and wash jars and rings in hot, soapy water to clean off any oils that might have escaped in the canning process.
Allow the jars and rings to dry thouroughly and then replace rings to store. It is not required that you replace the rings, but they do protect the edge of the seal from bumping.
When you are ready to use your canned sausage, just open and place patties in a preheated skillet and include drippings from the jar. Fry the patties to give a little “crust” to each side. The preheated skillet helps to give a nice sear to the outside.
Serve as you would fresh sausage and chow down!
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