Homemade Barbecue Sausage

Dear BBQ Friend:

Don't throw away those meat trimmings! When cooking BBQ, maybe you cut your full size spareribs down to St Louis Style. barbecue sausageMaybe you trim a little fat and meat off your butts and brisket. If you are competition cook, you know for a fact that you have about 50-100 lbs of trimmings that a lot of barbecue competition cooks just throw away every year. Don't waste that good meat anymore... make barbecue sausage out of it! This homemade sausage is good in Low Country Shrimp Boils too (smoke it first). Here's a picture of a 30 lb batch I made this weekend...

Here's how I do it...

First of all, I simply throw all my trimmings in a 2.5 gallon zip lock bag at barbecue contests and keep them on ice until I get home and freeze it until I get around to making the sausage. I save the rib tips and the rib brisket flap that I cut off the back of the spareribs. With the tips, I quickly slice off the "meat only" parts and keep that and throw everything else away. There's a lot of cartilage in the rib tips that you don't want to run through your meat grinder. Part of the rib tips don't have any cartilage and I cut that off quickly and easily. Then I just quickly filet the meat off across the top of the cartilage.

90% of my barbecue sausage trimmings are from the spareribs. About 8% are from the chicken thighs, and the rest are brisket trimmings. I don't trim my pork butts too much. Just mix it all up into what I call a "mixed grill" sausage. Keep some of the fat in there too! 10-20% fat is good. It keeps your sausages moist. The stuff you buy in the store will have much higher fat content.

You'll need a meat grinder with a sausage stuffing attachment. I wouldn't opt for a manual meat grinder or you'll be cranking your arm off. You can buy electric meat grinders for $100 or less depending on the model. You can also buy the meat grinder attachment for your electric mixer. Most of these also come with the sausage stuffing attachment. The only other thing you'll need besides your ingredients is some casings. I've been using collagen casings from LEM products. You can get them at Bass Pro Shops and they are very durable and work pretty good. They have a decent "bite" too.

All the stuff mentioned above is conveniently located in our BBQ Store (meat grinders, sausage casings, sausage book, etc)...

Basically, I just grind my trimmings using the die blade with 1/4" holes, mix in my ingredients and start stuffing. If you are the type of person who likes to "wing it" and do your own thing, just be sure to add about 1 cup of liquid per 5lbs of meat. Then just add whatever ingredients you want... dried spices, salt, fresh herbs, fresh veggies like garlic, onion, peppers, etc. For the liquid, you can use whatever you want... water, beer, wine, etc. Do you have unused BBQ rub sitting around that you got as a sample? Or just something you bought to try out? You can use that stuff up in your sausage too!

Important Note:

What we are doing here is barbecue sausage - NOT cold smoked or even cured sausage. So, it is important to cook it to an internal temperature of 165 deg F. Since this is fresh sausage, hot smoked to the proper temperature, you do not need to use sodium nitrate.

Saftey tip...

When working with any meats, do not let it get to room temperature for very long - keep it as cold as possible at all times.


Get your smoker up to 225 deg F. Place the sausages right on the rack trying not to let them touch each other. Insert a BBQ Thermometer with a wire probe about 5 inches into the center of a sausage end. Cook to an internal temperature of 165 deg_F.

Two of my favorite sausage recipes are Polish Kielbasa and Cajun Andouille...

Kielbasa Recipe:

  • 10lb trimmings or use boneless pork butt (10-25% beef is good too)
  • 5 tbsp granulated salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic smashed and chopped
  • 1 tbsp coarse black pepper
  • 1.5 tsp marjoram
  • 2 cups ice water

Andouille Recipe:

  • 5lb pork trimmings
  • 1 tbsp pepper
  • 1.5 tbsp salt
  • 5 tbsp granulated onion
  • 1.5 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp ground bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less)
  • 3/4 tsp sugar
  • 3/4 tsp paprika
  • 1 cup water

Here's some other recipes that look good...

Plain Breakfast Sausage:

10lb of pork butts trim very little fat away if any at all
4 tbsp granulated salt
1 tbsp ground white pepper
2 tbsp rubbed sage
1 tsp ginger
1 tbsp nutmeg
1 tbsp ground hot red pepper
2 cups ice water
Apple & Cinnamon Sausage:

8 lbs pork trimmings
2 cups diced apples
1/4 cup sweet white wine
3/8 cup granulated salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp white pepper
3/8 cup rubbed sage
1/2 tbsp allspice
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground clove
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Fresh Jalapeno Sausage:

8 lbs. pork trimmings
2 lbs. cheese, shredded your favorite
1/2 cup diced jalapenos
1/2 cup cilantro
1 cup paprika
1/4 cup granulated salt
3/8 cup sugar
1/4 cup garlic powder
1.5 cup ice water

Fresh Italian Sausage-Sweet:

10 lbs pork trimmings
4 tbsp granulated salt
2 cups ice water
3 tsp fennel seed
2 tsp coarse black pepper
1 tbsp sugar

Fresh Italian Sausage Mild--Hot:

10 lbs pork trimmings
4 tbsp granulated salt
2 cups ice water
1 tbsp cracked fennel seed
2 tsp coarse black pepper
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp crushed hot peppers (more or less)
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 tbsp coriander

Real Sicilian--Italian Sausage with wine and cheese:

8 lbs. pork trimmings
2 lbs. lean beef (or chuck)
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp cracked black pepper
4 tbsp granulated salt
3 tbsp cracked fennel seed
2 tbsp red crushed pepper
2 cups wine - Chablis
6 tbsp Romano Pecorino (cut the cheese into small pieces to fit in grinder)

Thanks for the sausage info ….  I have a tip that I use to add the Garlic…  I put the garlic in a Blender with about 1.5 cups of Jack Daniels or however much liquid I need….  Works great … With great aroma … Dale Riley - Horseshoe Bay , Texas 


Bill Anderson