HOMEMADE HOT ITALIAN SAUSAGE
ORIGINALLY POSTED ON NAPOLEON BY ANDREA ALDEN
This recipe is all about How To Make Hot Italian Sausage. Actually, wait. I should back up. I have been waiting for nearly a year to finally do this. Make my own sausage. I initially set out to make something a little more mild when it came to a sausage, so the flavor that we ended up with was a lot spicier than intended, but it's ALL flavor, not just heat for heat's sake. I started with research. I wanted to make something actually easy and needed to source out good ingredients. Then I needed to make sure that I had the spices that would create the flavors we were looking for. And finally, we had to just do it. I think the biggest thing that holds people up is the casing and stuffing. Casings are either synthetic or animal based. They don't smell great, and they're really gross. But they're an essential part of the process. I recommend going to your local butcher (The Butcher Shop Barrie is ours) and talking to them about casings, which ones they use and if they have any tips and tricks. You will get a lot of bang for your buck that way too. We got enough to make quadruple of what this recipe makes! Now for the pork. You can use a Boston butt, and add pork fat, or ask about pork trimmings. It's a bag full of random stuff, literally. But it will also give you a lot to work with, which is good, and possibly less expensive than buying a whole pork shoulder for this project.
|For The Recipe:|
|2.5 lbs.||Pork Meat|
|0.5 lbs||Solid Pork fat|
|2 Tbsp.||Fresh garlic, grated/crushed/minced/pressed|
|1 Tsp.||Cayenne powder|
|3/4 Tsp.||Ground anise|
|2 Tbsp.||Dried parsley|
|1 Tbsp.||Dried oregano|
|2 Tsp.||Red chilli flakes|
|2 Tbsp.||Brown Sugar|
|2 Tsp.||Fennel seeds|
|Natural sausage casings|
- It is important to begin with partially frozen meat and fat. So if you got all of your stuff fresh, freeze it before beginning, for at least an hour.
- Cut the fat and the pork meat into roughly 3/4-inch chunks. Use a kitchen scale to make sure you get the right amount.
- In a small frying pan or saucepan, combine the fennel seeds, peppercorns, and rosemary. Over low heat, toast the seeds until they become fragrant. Using a mortar and pestle, or a spice grinder, roughly grind the spices you just toasted together. Mix these with the rest of the spices.
- Toss the spices, with the pork fat and meat chunks, and re-freeze for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Use your meat grinder, I like the kitchen aid stand mixer attachment, and the fine grind disk to grind the pork meat and fat with the spices, into a large bowl. To make sure that you've got the right meat to fat ratio, do the palm test. Grab a small handful of ground meat. Press it into a small patty on the palm of your hand. It should stick there for about 5 seconds. Now the taste test. Fry up that little patty over medium-low heat and taste it. Does the meat hold together? Add another 0.25 lbs of fat to the grinder if not. Mix the ground fat into the meat and try the test again. Does it taste good? Add extra spices as necessary, you don't want to overpower the whole experience. When you're happy place the meat into the freezer again for about 15 minutes.
- Set up your sausage stuffer. If using the kitchen aid, remove the blade and fine disk. Attach the spacer (a round thing with two arms that fits on the auger) and insert the large meat funnel into the cover cuff, and screw that onto the unit. Wet your fingers, and then wet the meat funnel before sliding about 1/4 of the casings onto the meat funnel. Using kitchen shears, cut the casings where you think you have enough. Do not tie the end of the casing closed, instead pull about an inch off of the meat funnel before you begin to fill it with meat. Keep it pinched as you fill it with meat until you have about one sausage length full. Then don't worry about it until you're done filling the casings.
- Fill the hopper up top with the ground meat mixture, and use the pusher to keep the meat feeding through the funnel into the casings. This is a two-person job (with the kitchen aid anyway), so make sure that you have someone there to help you with this whole process.
- Filling the sausage is an instinctual thing. You're going to panic the first time, as soon as the meat starts coming out of the funnel into the casing. But keep a steady hand and you will quickly figure out what to do. Make sure that you support the part of the sausage that is closest to the funnel. Keep a constant pressure, and allow the casing to fill entirely before giving some slack to move the sausage forward. Don't worry about making it into links until you've stuffed all of the meat.
- Once you have used all of the meat, pull a little excess casing off the funnel, and cut it off about an inch from the end of the sausage. Tie both ends. You do this to avoid air pockets. Now you can divide your sausage into links. Pick a length, pinch where you want the sausage to end/begin, and then twist. Repeat until you have done this to the whole large length.
- Store your sausage in the fridge overnight before cutting the links apart, this lets the casing stiffen a little. They also need some time to let the flavors blend. But you can cook them right away if you want. Preheat your grill to low, about 300°F at maximum, and grill them over indirect heat for about 30 minutes. Until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the end of a sausage reads 165°F. Then turn up the grill and grill them over direct heat until they have some great grill marks. Up to 15 minutes.
- You can store these easily in the freezer. Or slice after cooking for adding to pasta or jambalaya. Whatever you use these for, you're going to love these sausages.
It's easy to learn how to make Hot Italian Sausage. I did it in one day. And seriously. I just did the math, there are nearly 6 feet of meat there. Can you believe that I didn't think that was enough? AND that I want to make more? ASAP? We haven't even eaten all of the original sausages yet! There are no nitrates or preservative salts of any kind in this recipe. You don't need them. A) Because you will eat them too fast for the need of these preservatives, and B) they freeze up real nice, so even if you have leftovers, you can keep them pretty easily. This is a fantastic weekend project that you can do. It's a great learning experience and fun. What is your favorite weekend cooking project? Would you try sausage making? Leave a comment and tell us!