Homemade Italian Sausage Recipe

Ingredients:

3 pounds ground pork: Use pork shoulder or a mixture with pork butt for the ideal fat content.

Seasonings:

  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds (lightly toasted and crushed if whole)
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon brown sugar (optional, for a sweeter flavor)

For Mild Italian Sausage:

  • Omit red pepper flakes

For Hot Italian Sausage:

  • 1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)

Additional:

  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar (optional, adds depth)
  • Natural Hog Casings (optional, if forming links)

Equipment

  • Large bowl
  • Meat grinder (optional, if not using pre-ground pork)
  • Sausage stuffer (optional, if forming links)

Instructions

  • Prep the Spices: Lightly toast the fennel seeds for 1-2 minutes in a dry pan over medium heat, then crush lightly. If using whole spices, lightly crush them.
  • Mix: In a large bowl, combine the ground pork, fennel seeds, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, black pepper, paprika, brown sugar (optional), and red pepper flakes (if using). If using red wine vinegar, add that as well.
  • Knead: Thoroughly knead the mixture with your hands for a few minutes to distribute the seasonings evenly.
  • Test: Cook a small patty of the mixture and taste. Adjust the seasonings if needed.
  • Refrigerate: Cover the sausage mixture and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight, to allow flavors to blend.

Forming Sausage:

  • Patties or Bulk: If using as bulk sausage or forming patties, it’s ready to cook after chilling.
  • Links: If making links, you’ll need hog casings and a sausage stuffer. Soak casings in water for 30 minutes or as directed. Follow the instructions on your sausage stuffer to fill the casings with the sausage mixture.

Cooking:

  • Grill: Preheat grill to medium heat. Grill sausages for 12-15 minutes, turning occasionally, until internal temperature reaches 160°F (71°C).
  • Pan Frying: Cook sausages in a skillet over medium heat for 10-12 minutes, turning occasionally, until cooked through.
  • Baking: Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Bake sausages for 20-25 minutes until internal temperature reaches 160°F (71°C).

Tips

  • Fat Content: For the best sausage, use pork with a 20-30% fat ratio.
  • Fresh vs. Dried Herbs: If possible, use fresh herbs for a more vibrant flavor. Double the amount of fresh herbs when substituting.
  • Homemade Sausage Mix: If you don’t want to make whole sausages, use the seasoned ground pork mixture for delicious sausage patties, meatballs, or as a base for pasta sauces.

Enjoy your delicious homemade Italian sausage!

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