Apple Sage Breakfast Sausage

For a time, my family lived on a farm in rural southwest Colorado. My brother was in charge of raising the chickens and ducks, my mom managed the greenhouse and gardens, my dad ran the fields, and I raised the pigs, usually about 3-4 at a time. Seeing the process through, from raising the animals to butchering and packaging the meat, made me passionate about nose-to-tail cooking: minimizing waste and maximizing flavor and value. Sausage is quintessential nose-to-tail cooking, using meat not suitable for the more expensive steaks, roasts, and specialty cuts.

This quick and easy Apple Sage Breakfast Sausage is my take on a classic fall breakfast sausage. It rich and unctuous without being greasy, is packed with apple and sage, and highlighted with generous freshly ground black pepper. If you've never made your own sausage, this is the place to start. The sausage is ready in minutes, and uses free formed patties to avoid the extra complexity of casing your own sausage.

Yield: 12 small sausage patties, serves 4-6


  • 2 pounds ground pork, medium grind
  • 1 sour apple, cored and finely diced (skin can be left on)
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon boiled cider syrup (optional)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dry sage, finely chopped


  1. In a large bowl combine all ingredients (pork, apple, shallot, garlic, cider syrup if using, salt, black pepper, and sage). Using your hands, gently mix to thoroughly combine the ingredients. Mix just until the ingredients are evenly distributed through the sausage.
  2. Handling gently, form the meat into approximately 12 small patties with your hands.
  3. Preheat a lightly oiled large skillet over high heat for 3-5 minutes. This is necessary to avoid sticking and create good browning. Place the sausage patties in the hot pan, cover, and reduce to medium heat. Cook five minutes undisturbed. Flip the patties, cover, and reduce to low heat. Cook an additional five minutes. Check for doneness by cutting one of the patties open. The sausage should be golden brown on the outside, moist on the interior, and just cooked through (no pinkness remaining).
  4. Remove from heat and serve immediately.