Hot Italian Sausage

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

  1. Combine all ingredients except water, vinegar, and casings in a large bowl. Toss to distribute the seasonings evenly. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Place the hog casings in a bowl of water and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Several hours before grinding, place the food grinder, mixer bowl, paddle attachment, and any other attachments in the freezer.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Sauté a small portion of the sausage in a small bit of oil and taste for seasoning.
  7. Remove the hog casings from the refrigerator and rinse both the inside and outside of the casings in running water.
  8. 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.
  9. Twist the sausage into 6 inch long segments and cut with shears.
  10. Cook the sausage to an internal temperature of 150ºF.

Makes 5 lbs. of sausage.

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13 Responses to “Hot Italian Sausage”


  1. 1 razzbuffnik May 10, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    They look fantastic. I’ve always thought that a really good sausage is better than steak.

    I think that the sausage’s reputation has been servery damaged by the lousy sausages (“offal tubes” would be a better description)sold by so many supermarkets.

  2. 2 innovatel May 10, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    Oh yes … I love it :)

    Only a question … why did I open my feed-reader before spleep?

    Now I’d like to cook and eat … not spleep :(

    ok, sorry :)

    bye bye

  3. 3 ~lora~ May 10, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    My god, I’m now craving sausages….I think my next kitchen gadget MUST be a meat grinder…

  4. 4 Matt May 10, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    A meat grinder also makes awesome hamburgers. I’d highly recommend getting one.

  5. 5 cookingbachelorstyle May 11, 2008 at 6:10 am

    I’m reading this at breakfast time. By this afternoon it’s gonna be sausage on the grill!

  6. 6 DocChuck May 11, 2008 at 9:47 am

    Certainly agree with you about good homemade sausage. Our meat grinder and sausage attachments for the Kitchen Aid are the most used items in the kitchen.

    We love many sausages, but venison and Italian are two of our favorites, and we VERY rarely eat commercially-made sausages. We don’t trust what may be in them.

  7. 7 addy May 12, 2008 at 7:52 am

    Hi. Came over from tastespotting. I am just starting to make sausage. How long will homemade sausages keep? Do I need to keep in freezer or fridge?

    Your blog looks very yummy.

  8. 8 Matt May 12, 2008 at 8:49 am

    Sausage will keep somewhere around a week in the refrigerator. It depends on how old the meat is that you make the sausage with.

    I tend to make a bunch of sausage at once and then put it in the freezer. It then will last for several months (probably longer). That, of course, assumes you don’t eat it before then.

  9. 9 Maryann May 12, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    Wow! What a great job you did on these! Brava!!

  10. 10 Matt May 12, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Thanks for the kind words. But, with all respect, it should be “Bravo” and not “Brava.” Occasionally, my college Italian comes in handy.

  11. 11 Jolla May 13, 2008 at 7:27 am

    This sausage is making me hungry! The key to making good Italian sausaage is in the spices, fresh sweet basil, cayenne pepper
    and fennel. Great Job!

  12. 12 Tina Thomsen May 14, 2008 at 9:32 am

    Sounds fantastic. Have to try it.

    TT

  13. 13 Lauren January 12, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    I just used the spice mixture in this recipe to make some turkey sausage and it was perfect. Thanks!


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