Country-style sausage is available throughout the USA if you don't mind shopping for it in the frozen food aisle, or buying it a pre-mixed mold in the hot dog section of the supermarket. But we were aiming for something with less chemicals and nitrates, and closer to the oink where sausage comes from.
So we found and adapted an old unsigned recipe from the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee.
TENNESSEE COUNTRY SAUSAGE
3 pounds of medium-lean ground pork (purists may want to buy 2 pounds of lean pork and 1 pound of pork fat, then grind them and mix together).
1 tablespoon salt
3 teaspoons pepper
1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (plus a pinch more if you like your sausage HOT.)
1 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
2 teaspoons garlic
In a bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. Using your hands, work the mixture well into the pork, taking care to make sure it is distributed evenly throughout the pork.
Shape the sausage into the 3-inch patties, about 3 ounces each. Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Wait until the pan is hot, then add the patties. Cook 4-6 minutes per side, making sure the sausage is cooked through the center. Drain the patties on a paper towel, turning them once.
We like to serve ours with grits topped on the plate by a spoon of pan gravy. Sweet potato pancakes, like the ones they make at the Pancake Pantry in Gatlinburg, Tenn., would round out this Tennessee breakfast in sound fashion.
SouthernAirs developed some of these recipes, aiming as always for authenticity. Others are on loan from cited friends and relatives, or from authoritative sources with permission.