For “The Next Generation” (season 3, episode 2), Weekends with Yankee traveled to the sustainable Mayfair Farm in Harrisville, New Hampshire, where they cook up incredible dinners and raise healthy, and happy, livestock. Here, the folks at Mayfair Farm share why they think their fresh farm sausages tastes so good, plus a handful of their best sausage cooking tips.
Like a good friend, a good sausage offers much and asks for little in return. Its wants and needs are simple—perhaps the company of mustard and bread or a beer and some salad. Maybe a knife and fork. Happy to be picked up in your fingers, it can even be content with less.
Here at Mayfair Farm in Harrisville, New Hampshire, people often ask our favorite way to prepare sausage. It should be cooked gently and with love, which is exactly how we make it—from raising the livestock to stuffing the links. Now that grilling season is in full swing it’s a good time to think about cooking sausage over an open fire, which adds a touch of smoke and hints of camping trips past and future. But whether it’s on the grill, in a skillet or in the oven, there isn’t a wrong method. Sausage is accommodating. It knows we’re all busy people and wants us to be happy.
Sausage Cooking Tips from Mayfair Farm
Thaw the links completely.
Prick gently with a fork or the tip of a sharp knife.
If time allows, bake the sausage in the oven at 300 degrees for about 15 minutes. This can even be done the day ahead. Then it’s easy and quick to finish on the grill when it’s time to eat. This extra step can make you look calm and under control, which is never a bad thing. And it minimizes flare-ups, ensures the sausage is cooked throughout the center, and gets a really nice browned look without breaking the casings.
Looking calm and under control also means having what you need on hand—tongs, hot mitts, platters—before you get started. And if cooking on an open fire, be sure to have some water ready to douse flames as needed.
If you haven’t pre-cooked, and you’re using sausage with natural casings and no preservatives (like Mayfair Farm’s fresh sausages), be extra gentle. Cook with lower heat, away from the flame for about 10-12 minutes. Then patiently allow the sausages to brown over a higher flame.
Sausage is one of the things our farm is known for. We like to think we make the best sausage, and the best sausage starts with the best pork. As the seasons allow, our pigs live in the woods where they can dig for roots and acorns, wallow in the mud, and generally act like pigs. Which is to say, in an environment opposite that of large factory farms.
Each of our sausages is hand-stuffed and linked in our on farm kitchen—again, a far cry from the factory setting. While we make no less than a dozen different varieties throughout the year, one favorite is our bratwurst, pictured here. Not only does it include our own pork, but also our own beef and eggs, all raised on the green pastures of southern New Hampshire.
For a perfect summer meal, we’ve paired our Brats with a beer mustard that always impresses, a seasonal potato salad and some quick pickled beets.