I owe thanks to J. Kenji Lopez-Alt for reigniting the love affair with my meat grinder. Not that I ever fell out of love—no pre-ground beef has been purchased in my home since getting the grinder—but our relationship had become rather complacent. Now the fire is brewing again, and in the past few weeks that burning desire has been behind a killer set of burgers and three different sausages, the best of the lot being these spicy roasted poblano links.
This recipe, from the always excellent Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing, fed my chile-head with a double dose of pepper preparation: roasting poblanos and grinding anchos to make the chili powder. Those joined the flavor party along with some oregano, garlic, paprika, cumin, and cilantro. The resulting links matched the intensity that drove me to my meat grinder in the first place.
A nice snap from the casing gave way to a sea of porky goodness that left a pleasing, mild heat lingering on the tongue, making any resistance for seconds futile. I can't say that all of my recent sausage endeavors have turned out as well as this one, but with no sign of the thing my meat grinder and I have going on right now ever waning, there's a lot more sausage and ground meat creations on the horizon that will try to match the greatness of this.
Adapted from Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Poleyn.
- 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
- Type of fire: direct
- Grill heat: medium-high
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.
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.
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.
Form a small patty of the sausage and sauté until cooked through. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
Stuff the sausage into the hog casings and twist into 6-inch links. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to cook.
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.