Sausage has a reputation as a pedestrian food. You eat it at a cook out, at a baseball game, or while camping. It’s something you eat to satiate your hunger, not because it’s good.
But why can’t sausage, in the words of Rodney Dangerfield, get no respect? When it’s good, it should. Most are based around pork with enough added fat that it isn’t dry. And you can do things with seasonings in a sausage that just wouldn’t work in a whole cut of meat.
If you can’t tell, I rather like sausages. But every since I realized that some sausages from the grocery store contained high fructose corn syrup, I’ve decided to stick with the homemade variety. It doesn’t hurt that they taste significantly better. It’s also particularly rewarding to cook up a sausage and realize that you made it.
While I tend to like authentic ethnic recipes whenever possible, this is much more Italian-American than Italian. I’m going to let it slide as it’s pretty tasty. When I make it again, I’d probably use less (or possibly no) coriander seeds. It dominates the flavor a bit too much for my taste. It’s particularly good when sautéed and served with good Dijon mustard and grilled onions.
Hot Italian Sausage
Adapted from Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing
2 kg boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1 1/2″ cubes
225 grams pork belly, cut into 1 1/2″ cubes
100 grams pancetta, cut into 1 1/2″ cubes (optional)
40 grams kosher salt
32 grams sugar
16 grams fennel seeds, toasted
8 gram coriander seeds, toasted
16 grams smoked Spanish paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
24 grams fresh oregano leaves, chopped
24 grams fresh basil leaves, chopped
12 grams red pepper flakes
6 grams coarsely ground black pepper
3/4 cups ice water, chilled
1/4 cup red wine vinegar, chilled
10 feet hog casings
- Combine all ingredients except water, vinegar, and casings in a large bowl. Toss to distribute the seasonings evenly. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Place the hog casings in a bowl of water and refrigerate overnight.
- Several hours before grinding, place the food grinder, mixer bowl, paddle attachment, and any other attachments in the freezer.
- Remove the meat mixture from the refrigerator and place in a bowl of ice and salt. Grind the mixture through the small die into the mixer bowl set in a bowl of ice and salt.
- Add the water and vinegar to the mixture. Beat the mixture with the paddle attachment on medium speed for 1 minute. Mix until the mixture is uniform. Refrigerate the bowl until ready to stuff.
- Sauté a small portion of the sausage in a small bit of oil and taste for seasoning.
- Remove the hog casings from the refrigerator and rinse both the inside and outside of the casings in running water.
- Setup the sausage stuffer using the largest stuffing attachment. Place meat in the sausage stuffer and turn on to low speed until the meat is just at the end of the attachment. Slide the opening in the casing onto the stuffer and then push the remaining casing onto the stuffer until there is about an inch hanging off. Tie off the end of the casings. Slowly push the meat mixture into the sausage stuffer while holding the casing and letting the meat fill it (this is a two person job). The speed is determined by the speed of the meat being putting into the stuffer not the speed of the mixer. When there is no more casing, tie it off and repeat this step with the remaining casing.
- Twist the sausage into 6 inch long segments and cut with shears.
- Cook the sausage to an internal temperature of 150ºF.
Makes 5 lbs. of sausage.