By Christie Vanover | Published March 21, 2016 | Last Updated February 16, 2023
There’s more than one way to cook a corned beef brisket. One of my favorite ways is stuffing it into sausage casing and making delectable, corned beef brisket sausage.
To create juicy sausage, you just need to remember two things: control your meat to fat ratio and handle the meat as little as possible, so the fat doesn’t render before cooking.
I shoot for an 80 to 20 meat to fat ratio. This can be accomplished one of two ways. You can either use bacon, which is mostly fat, or you can use the fat trimmings from the brisket.
If using the brisket fat, I recommend trimming the fat off of the brisket, and setting it aside. Discard any fat that is super hard or appears to be silverskin, because it won’t render.
Then cube the remaining meat. Weigh the meat, and add 20% fat. Flash freeze the meat and fat together before grinding.
Keep It Cold
When making sausage, it’s very important to keep the meat cold during the whole process. If you don’t follow this important step, your meat will be dry and crumbly.
What’s cool about using corned beef brisket is that the meat is already seasoned, so there is no need to add additional seasonings.
After about one hour in the freezer, you can grind the meat. After the grind, mix the meat with beer. For every pound, add one ounce of beer. Then, it’ll spend another 30 minutes in the freezer before stuffing.
I use a KitchenAid Mixer and KitchenAid Food Grinder and Sausage Stuffer to grind sausage. The grinder breaks down the beef into ground pieces. The attachment comes with all the parts to stuff sausage, as well, but I prefer to use an LEM Sausage Stuffer.
With the KitchenAid stuffer, you handle the meat a lot as you load it into the hopper. The more you handle the meat, the warmer it gets. With the LEM stuffer, you load all the meat into the hopper at once, and just hand crank the handle. The sausage comes out with total ease.
The step-by-step instructions in the below recipe will explain exactly how to work with sausage casing. I get mine from Amazon. They’re packaged in salt and seem to last forever. After I use a few, I just keep the rest stored in a zip-top bag in my fridge, until I’m in the sausage-making mood again.
Two Ways to Cook Your Sausage
Once you make the sausages, you can refrigerate them for a few days before grilling them, or you can freeze them for a month or so. Just defrost them in the fridge before grilling.
When grilling, cook them over medium heat to an internal temperature of 165F, flipping occasionally. They’re great on a hoagie roll with sauerkraut and spicy mustard.
If you prefer to smoke them to make pastrami sausages. Set the smoker to 180F degrees and cook to 165F.
Smoking meat at a low temperature of 180F degrees can be risky. If the meat is in the 40-140F zone for more than a couple hours, bacteria can begin to grow. To prevent that, sausage makers add potassium nitrite to cure the meat.
Because we’re using corned beef as a base for this recipe, the nitrites have already been added to the brine before we even do the grind. Added bonus!
If you’re still nervous, crank the heat to 200-225F. Once smoked, these are delicious hot or cold.
Corned Beef Brisket Sausage
- 5 pounds Corned beef brisket
- 1 pound brisket fat
- 6 ozs. Guinness Blonde beer
- sausage casing
- Rinse off the brisket under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
- Trim off the fat. Save one pound of the good fat.
- Cut the brisket into 2-inch cubes. Place on a sheet pan with the fat and freeze for one hour.
- Pass the meat through a food grinder one time, using a course blade.
- Gently mix the beef and beer together with your hands. You want to work the meat as little as possible.
- Place the ground meat into the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Remove four long casings from the salt. Rinse under cold water. Open one end and allow water to rinse through the casing twice. Place in a bowl of water and let sit while the meat is chilling.
- Slide one casing onto the stuffing tube.
- Place the meat into the sausage stuffer, and rotate the handle slowly until the meat reaches the end of the tube.
- Pull about two inches of the casing off the end and tie in a knot. Slide it back on until the knot touches the end.
- Hold onto the casing and rotate the handle on the stuffer. As the meat extracts into the tube, gently push the sausage toward the mixer, so you don’t get any air pockets.
- Determine how long you want your sausages to be. Then, twist three times at that length. Continue extracting sausage, twisting the opposite direction each time. Finish by tying a knot in the end.
- With a toothpick, pierce each sausage in a few places to remove air pockets. Return to the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the freezer and cut each link at the twist.
- Thaw before grilling. Grill the links over medium heat for about 10 minutes per side or until the inside reaches 165F degrees.
- Thaw before smoking. Set the smoker to 180F degrees. Smoke for 4-5 hours, until the internal temperature reaches 165F degrees.
This estimate was created using an online nutrition calculator
Where can I get non-pork casing?
Search the internet for collagen or artificial casings. Those are not made of pork. You can also sometimes find them at Bass Pro.
You can use sheep casings
Can Corned Beef Brisket be made into sausage patties and fried. Would this be similar to putting it into casings.
This would not taste the same. Canned corned beef is pre-cooked and preserved. The corned beef in this recipe is raw. it is cooked through the grilling process. You could follow the recipe though and make patties instead of using the casings.
I’m planning to make these sausages for St. Patricks day. How long in advance can I make these? Do I store them in the fridge and freeze them 30 min before grilling?
You can make these about a month in advance and then freeze them. When you’re ready to grill them, remove them from the freezer, and let them defrost in the fridge. No need to add that 30-minute freeze time. That step is only required if you’re going straight from casing to grilling to chill them quickly. You can also make these about 3 days in advance and keep them in the fridge until ready to grill.
I always wanted to try a brisket sausage, but wondered if it would be tough. Usually brisket needs to be cooked to over 202 degrees to become tender. Are they tender?
I wondered the same thing, so I gave it a shot, and was surprised that it worked out so well. They are tender and juicy.
You are grinding the meat, which makes it tender. Like grinding brisket for hamburger. If you cook a brisket to 150 it is tough. If you cook the ground brisket to 150 it is juicy and tender!
Toughness is a function of temperature AND time. I cook my corned beef (Sous Vide) at 142 degrees for 40 hours. It’s tender and moist.
Do you use the seasoning packet that comes with the corn beef?
I didn’t use the packet, but you definitely could toss it in the grind.
Is there any other kind of meat that I can substitute for the bacon? Because my other half does not eat any kind of pork.
You can use beef fat. If your butcher isn’t able to get you beef fat, just blend in a fattier cut of beef, like ribeye cap or 70/30 ground beef.
You can also use olive oil or canola oil instead of Animal fat
do you need to cook it before you process it?
No. Grind it and case it while it’s still raw.
thank you :)
What about the saltiness factor? Where does all that go since it not boiled or cooked out?
You can rinse of the seasoning before grinding it. It will have the same saltiness as pastrami.
Was thinking of browning them and then simmer in beer like a brat, is that a good idea
Sounds like a great idea.
how about mixing with pork for the far content would that work or have you already tried and wasn’t a good idea
If you can get your hands on some pork fat, that would work great. If you just use ground pork, be sure to use a fattier cut like shoulder vs. loin.
A grocery store here in Illinois makes corned beef sausage with the cheese and sauerkraut all combined inside. Pure Deliciousness. . They also make a Philli Cheese Stake sausage. Thoughts on how to create this?