How to Make Italian-Style Hot Sausage

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This year we wanted to start making more things at home and rely less on the convienent but low quality meat of my local Food Lion. For Christmas I received a Kitchen-Aid mixer with the grinder and sausage making attachments. Like Ralphie with the Red Rider BB gun I couldn’t wait to tear the box open and try it out. It wasn’t too long before I was down at Rose’s Meats and Sweets purchasing pasture raised pork shoulder, hog casing and picking their brains about the process. This summer my childhood friend gave me the book “Home Sausage Making: How-to Techniques for Making and Enjoying 100 Sausages at Home” for being in his wedding and it is chock full of useful information.

Find a good book about sausage making full of recipes and pictures about the process. The recipes will be a nice base and as you make and cook sausage you can make adjustments to fit your personal taste and preference. Take good notes on what you liked about the basic recipe and any changes you plan to make. For example, I used a recipe in my book for making Italian-Style Italian Sausage but it did not have fennel in it, so I added it because I know I like fennel in my Italian Sausage.

Books are a great reference but I also suggest finding a local butcher and let them know that you are looking to make your own sausage. They make a lot of sausage everyday and know a nice meat to fat ratio just by looking at it. If you show genuine interest they will have helpful hints that could save you a lot of time and help your learning curve. The good ones will be very forthcoming with some good secrets because they realize most people are too lazy or simply don’t have the time or desire to stuff meat into pig intestines on a typical weekend night…but yes, we are out there.

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Get some good music, wine, beer or whatever you like in arms reach. Making sausage the first time may not go as perfect as expected so just plan to make an evening/afternoon of it. I found myself in the zone with funk blasting  and drinking wine late into the first Saturday night after Christmas, I found the whole process to be quite therapeutic.

What I liked about making my own sausage is the freedom of it. You can put as little or as much of anything you want inside them. You don’t have to adhere to any culinary laws. You can make them as healthy or gluttonous as you like. Many people have questions about what really goes into sausages in large chain grocery stores. When you make them yourself or buy them from a trusted local source you know exactly what goes in.

Below is the recipe I used adapted from the book I suggested above and it is a good start. For your first time I don’t recommend making more than three pounds as you don’t want to burn yourself out on the precess on your first go. Three pounds yielded about 14 sausages. Once you get past the dirty jokes about the casing looking like a condom and make sausage a couple of times the process will go faster after you discover what and what not to do.

Italian Sausage LBV


Hog Casing

3 lbs Pork Butt (with fat)

1 tbls course kosher salt

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

2 tsp fennel seed (I added fennel because my favorite Italian sausage from DeYulio’s in Connecticut uses a bunch)

1 tsp red pepper flakes (this makes a very mild sausage, add more if you like it hot and omit for sweet sausage)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1. Place a large bowl in the sink and rinse the casing by flushing cold water through one end to clean of all the salt (my butcher gives me casing in a small plastic bag with salt).  This process allows you to clean the casing and check for any tears you might have to work around. Empty the bowl and fill back up with cold water and let soak in water.

2. Cut meat into 1 inch cubes and place in the freezer for 30-45 minutes.

3. Grind the meat with course disk.

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4. Using your hands or mixer, mix the seasoning into into the ground meat. I prefer a mixer to avoid heating the meat with my hands. Place the ground meat into the the freezer.

5. Next prepare to stuff the sausage by taking off the grinding disk and attaching the funnel. Add a little water or oil to the funnel and pull the casing over the funnel. Tie off the last two inches into a knot.

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6. Push the meat mixture into the funnel until it reaches the lip of the funnel opening then stop the motor. Pull about 2-inches of casing and tie into a knot. This step keeps a bunch of  air from blowing into the casing.

7. Continue feeding the meat into the funnel packing the casing evenly. Prick air pockets and twist off three times at desired lengths.

8. Cut links and refrigerate uncovered overnight. Rose’s suggested leaving the  sausage uncovered in the fridge overnight. This dries some of the moisture in the sausage to fights spoilage and help the flavors blend together. Use in the next three days or freeze.

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Categories: Recipes


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