Sock Sausage with Mustard Biscuits & Gravy

Tyler Brown, The Capitol Grille, The Hermitage Hotel, Nashville / January 2013

Sock sausage:

  • 10 1-lb. muslin sausage casings (socks)
  • pork shoulder or whole hog
  • fat back
  • 2 1/2 Tbsps. kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsps. rubbed dry sage
  • 2 Tbsps. plus 1 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 Tbsps. red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsps. granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 tsps. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. pink salt
  1. Refrigerate meat grinder and medium die until cold; reserve.

  2. Trim pork, separating lean meat from fat meat to yield 10 lbs. of 60 percent lean to 40 percent fat when ground; if you don’t have enough fat, add fat back; mix meat and fat together.

  3. Grind into large bowl; mix in remaining ingredients (do not overwork).

  4. Heat small skillet over medium-high heat; cook a small piece of sausage until brown and cooked through; taste for seasoning and adjust as desired; using a sausage stuffer, pipe sausage into “socks”; tie ends tightly to close; hang in refrigerator 2 days.

  5. Using broken-up old whiskey barrels (or wood of choice), smoke, keeping temperature under 80°F) at least 7 days (sausage should be lightly fermented and taste tangy and smoky); remove sausage from smoker; reserve.

Mustard gravy:

  • 2 Tbsps. bacon fat
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 Tbsps. apple-cider vinegar
  • 1 sachet of 2 sprigs thyme, 2 sprigs parsley, and 1/2 bay leaf wrapped in cheesecloth and tied with kitchen twine
  • 1/4 cup whole-grain mustard
  • 2 Tbsps. yellow mustard
  • 2 tsps. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground

Heat large skillet set over medium heat; cook 1/2 lb. sock sausage until fat has rendered out; add bacon fat; cook until fat is melted; whisk in flour; reduce heat to low; cook, whisking constantly, until flour taste has been cooked out; gradually add cream, milk, and vinegar, whisking constantly; increase heat to medium; add sachet; decrease heat to low; cook, whisking constantly, until sauce has thickened to gravy consistency; whisk in both mustards; cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes; stir in salt and pepper; remove from heat; remove sachet; reserve (keep warm).

Assembly:

  • 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 6 3/4 Tbsps. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 32 Tbsps. unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes, plus melted butter for brushing
  • 3 1/4 cups buttermilk
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. 2. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl; using fingers or pastry blender, work in butter until mixture is the size of peas; add buttermilk; using your hands, mix until dough just comes together; turn out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead 7 times; roll out dough with lightly floured rolling pin until; cut out biscuits with desired biscuit cutter shape (do not re-roll excess dough; scraps can be patted together and baked off); place on baking sheet; bake until brown; remove from oven; brush biscuits with melted butter; bake until butter has absorbed; remove from oven; reserve (keep warm).

  2. To serve, divide biscuits among plates; split in half lengthwise; top each with sausage and gravy.

What to drink: Chicory coffee
Chef’s Note: Muslin sausage casings can be purchased from local butcher supply stores.