Merguez, spicy lamb sausage

Fresh from the smoker

Go ahead, I dare you- google the words “Jewish sausage”. At the risk of inviting bad puns, lets face it there isn’t a lot of food there. That being said I couldn’t get the idea out of my head that at one time there must have been a wide world of Jewish sausages and smoked meats given the absence of refrigeration and the need to eat every scrap of protein that came into the house. My first stop was to consult with Claudia Roden who confirmed in The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey from Samarkand and Vilna to the Present Day that there had been a very wide array of Jewish sausages in both Sephardi and Ashkenazi communities. Sadly what is left to us today is the kosher salami (which I love) and the poor array of supermarket sausages in Israel.

But I was compelled to make sausage for Sukkot (I’m a sucker for an alliteration) and so I pressed on. Merguez is a traditional lamb sausage first made in North Africa and then spreading with the post colonial diaspora to France and then beyond. I sought direction in my production from Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curingby Michael Rulhman. I highly recommend the step by step directions. I found a nice shoulder lamb roast at the market, but sourcing fat (which you need) was more difficult. Most of the recipes I have call for pork fat- I non-starter for me. I looked for lamb or goat fat at the Halal markets, with no luck. I also looked for beef fat at the supermarket meat departments. With nothing in hand and unwilling to schlep all the way down to Oakland to see what Whole Foods might have I started looking at some of the meat in the case to see if there was something fatty enough to trim the 1/4lb of fat I needed. There were some nice small brisket pieces, I bought the fattiest one and took it home to trim.

The brisket, btw, makes great hamburger.

Recipe and pictures after the break


Makes about 1.5 lbs of sausage

1.5 lbs of lamb shoulder

4 oz beef fat

1 tb kosher salt

1 tb sugar

1/4 tsp pepper flakes

1 tsp minced garlic

1/2 tsp black pepper

2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp oregeno

2 tb cold dry red wine

3 ft of 30mm sausage casing (this is optional, you can make sausage patties instead of stuffing them)

Trim and dice lamb and fat removing all gristle or tendon. If you get this material caught on your meat grinder blade you will be unable to grind the meat. Put all your grinding equipment in the freezer. Mix the lamb, fat and seasonings (not the wine) and toss by hand until well mixed. Place in freezer for 15-20 min.

Set up grinder, place stand mixer bowl underneath on top of a second bowl filled with ice or cold water. Grind meat using #2 on the KitchenAid mixer. Once meat has been ground place bowl into mixer, add wine and use the paddle attachment to mix on medium for about a minute. Return to freezer and set up the sausage stuffer.

Place casings on stuffer tube, working slowly feed meat mixture into casings taking care to remove air pockets.

When cooking be sure to cook to an internal temperature of 150F


Filed under Deli, Gadgets and Gear, Holidays, Snout to Tail, Sukkot

5 responses to “Merguez, spicy lamb sausage

  1. Pingback: Sharp Knives « Jewish Food in the Hands of Heathens

  2. Pingback: Hot Smoked Salami « Jewish Food in the Hands of Heathens

  3. Hi Gordon,
    I love the recipe for sausage and am going to try it. What about using chicken fat? although the beef or lamb would have more flavor.
    Your mom gave me the site and it’s nice to know about.

  4. gordon


    You could use chicken fat, the only drawback is that chicken fat has a pretty distinct chicken flavor (think chicken soup) so it might compete with the lamb. Beef is pretty neutral which is way McDonalds used to use it for fries. Lard might be a way to go, but I’ve never tried working with it.

    Let me know how it turns out.

  5. Pingback: Yom Ha’atzmaut Menu « Jewish Food in the Hands of Heathens

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