How To Make Homemade Italian Sausages Step By Step

 
Making your own Italian sausages is a great way to create a quality product where you know exactly what went into your sausages unlike the ones you buy at the grocery store. It also allows you to personalize your sausages so you can season them to meet your own personal preferences which ensures you get the best tasting sausage.

This recipe is for hot sausages, but you could certainly decrease or even cut out the red pepper flakes if you wanted to. The best way to determine if you are going to have perfectly seasoned sausages, is to mix some of your meat and seasonings together, and then before you go any further, cook up some of the seasoned meat and determine if you need to add more of any of the spices. The ingredient amounts below are approximate as hot red pepper flakes can vary greatly in the amount of heat they contain, so mixing a small batch up first is the best way to judge.

In most Italian families, older men generally stay out of the kitchen as a rule, deferring to their wives expertise. But when it comes to sausage or wine making, everyone gets involved! I found it easiest to divide our meat after it was ground into 5 pound batches that I would season with the amounts listed below. We made a total of about 30 pounds of sausages, but by dividing into 5 pound batches, we were able to create some mild sausages by simply leaving out the hot pepper flakes in those particular batches. Prepare the hog casings the day before by soaking in water with a little orange juice and salt. Before using, rinse well and cut into pieces 18″- 2′ long. Keep the casings in warm water to keep them soft and flexible while you work.

Makes 5 Pounds Of Sausage
by Deborah Mele

5 Pounds Ground Pork Shoulder
5 Teaspoons Salt
1 Tablespoon Black Pepper
2 Teaspoons Fennel
3 Tablespoons Paprika
2 Tablespoons Hot Red Pepper Flakes

 

To start, cut the meat off the bone, keeping most of the fat, but discarding any sinew or ligaments. I found it best to work with the meat very cold, and cut into 2 to 3 inch pieces that easily fit into the hopper of my grinder. You want a fairly coarse, not too fine grind for these sausages, so use the large holed plate on your grinder.

 

I use a Kitchen Aid Table Mixer with meat grinding attachments with good results. Place the prepared meat in large bowls in the refrigerator until you have it all ground and ready to put into the casings.

 

Basic spices used are paprika, salt, pepper, fennel & red pepper flakes.

 

Next put all the meat out on a large clean surface such as a baking board or counter. Spread out across the surface, and begin to pour the spices across the top. Mix well using your hands until all the spices are incorporated into the meat. Take about 1 cup of the seasoned pork and place in a frying pan with about 1/4 cup of water. Cook over medium heat until the meat is nicely browned and then taste to determine if the seasonings are adequate. If necessary, add more seasonings of choice.

 

It is best to work with at least two people as one will load the hopper while the second one controls the meat moving into the casings. Take your casing, tie the end and begin to stuff it fairly firmly using your machine of choice. Hold the intestine firmly and try to add as little air as possible. Continue until the entire casing is stuffed up until the last three or four inches.

 

Tie off firmly with string. Set aside and continue in this manner with the remaining casings and pork mixture until you are finished. We now go back and tie off each sausage section in 6-8″ segments, and pick the sausages with a sharp needle to remove air. Next place meal sized portions into zip lock plastic bags and freeze, or use as desired.

 

Deborah Mele 2011
 
 

 

31 Responses to “How To Make Homemade Italian Sausages Step By Step”

  1. 1
    Paola D. — February 10, 2012 @ 9:06 am

    Hello Deborah, we are getting ready to try your recipe for sausage making, and I just have a couple questions. Why do you add the water to the pan when testing the sausage? Do you let it evaporate and then wait for the browning? Do you cover it at first and allow it to steam before browning? We’ve had a couple failed attempts at sausage making so we’d love to get it right this time. Thanks in advance!

    [Reply]

    Deborah Reply:

    Paola, you really do not need the water, but that is how we do it. You are just checking to make sure the seasonings are right so as long as you brown up some sausage meat and taste it, that is the important part.

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  2. 2
    Frank Angotti — February 28, 2012 @ 10:45 pm

    I’m buying an attachment to my kitchen aid and going to make some sausage. Also going to make the lentil soup, lots-of-good=stuff in there. Thanks for the recipes. Frank

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  3. 3
    Matthew Casamassima — August 8, 2012 @ 9:16 am

    Hello Deborah,looking to take the adventure into sausage -making and would like to incorporate items like ‘rappe and or long , hot fresh peppers, instead of hot pepper flakes . Being of Puglese descent, our butchers incorporate lamb with cheese and parsley, and we know those who incorporate peppers and onions, etc. . My questions are : coarsely chop and add to the ground meat and NOT place through grinder OR put through grinder ?Next, do you suggest we saute peppers and or broccoli d’rappe till aldente or NOT precook , in any fashion ? I understand and will experiment but your opinion on these steps, might save time and energy , on proven methodology . Thanks for your assistance and for such a wonderful touchstone .Can’ wait !
    Regards Mat

    [Reply]

    Deborah Reply:

    Matthew, Sorry, I’ve only used dried pepper flakes as my InLaws do.

    [Reply]

  4. 4
    Charles Sanfilippo — December 22, 2012 @ 4:21 pm

    Bon giorno I miei amici,

    Regarding the Broccoli d’rappe, you may want to par boil them in salted water for four or five minutes to remve some of the bitterness. Then, cool the rappe and cut them into desired pieces. Mix the rappe with the sausage meat and they should cook completely with the fat in the casing. As always, with cooking there is trial and error involved for the outcome you desire. I have found that this works farly well.

    Careful not to bypass the par boil step or you will have a bitterness from the rappe that will not please your palate. Salted water is essential to remove the bitterness.

    Additionally, if you have time on your hands, I find that if you chop the meat and add spices, then let the mixture sit overnight (meat only) the results can be much more flavorful.

    Mangia I buona fortuna mi amici!!!!!!!!

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  5. 5
    Jerry Kurowski — January 16, 2013 @ 9:56 am

    I am surprised that no garlic is used in the sausage revipe. Do you recommend garlic? Please advise.

    I have a great family recipe for polish sausage. Would you like it?

    [Reply]

    Deborah Reply:

    Jerry, it is common to include garlic in Italian sausage. Thanks, but I’m lucky to find time to make Italian sausage once a year.

    [Reply]

  6. 6
    Jim Smeltzer — February 27, 2013 @ 2:49 pm

    The problem we have in the USA is the lack of fat in our pork. It is certainly not 25-30% fat content.

    You use pork sholder is their much difference using pork butt?

    [Reply]

    Deborah Reply:

    You can use either. We used pork shoulder from Costco last time and it made great sausages.

    [Reply]

    Jim Schmitz Reply:

    Pork shoulder and what the stores call Boston buts are the same cut of meat.

    [Reply]

  7. 7
    Debbie DeGrazia — March 21, 2013 @ 2:54 pm

    I want to make some Italian sausage. I haven’t made it in years. I don’t know what size casings to buy. I can’t find them in any store so I’ll have to order them. What size do you recommend? I want to try your recipe. I also want to make some out of chicken. Thanks.

    Debbie

    [Reply]

    Deborah Reply:

    Debbie, I never heard of the casings coming in different sizes. We simply buy natural casings.

    [Reply]

    Palladini Reply:

    You can get casings in all sizes. Some Natural, Pork, beef, sheep intestines are used as well as edible man made ones.

    [Reply]

  8. 8
    Cindi — May 23, 2013 @ 1:47 pm

    Where can I buy sausage casings? Where online?

    [Reply]

    Deborah Reply:

    Cindi, I am sorry but I do not know personally. If you have a good butcher store close by, they will usually sell them to you.

    [Reply]

  9. 9
    Pierre — May 29, 2013 @ 10:17 pm

    Hi Deborah i have made dried sausages about 6 months ago and still have some casings left which i have kept in my refridegerator since
    Can i still use them again
    And whats the difference between Italian sausages and Chorizo sausages that gets dried

    [Reply]

    Deborah Reply:

    Pierre,
    I wouldn’t think the casings would be good anymore unless they were frozen.

    [Reply]

    Palladini Reply:

    If they were packed in salt, and kept in the fridge, they should be OK

    [Reply]

  10. 10
    william hancock — August 17, 2013 @ 2:30 pm

    Hog casing, if kept in the fridge and salted can last up to a year. If you have access to fresh casings then by all means buy more. I can get about 50 feet from my butcher for about $5.00. To inexpensive to risk using spoiled casings.

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  11. 11
    william hancock — August 17, 2013 @ 2:36 pm

    Also, you go to LEM.com and they sell all types of casings as well as equipment. Casing comes in different sizes depending on the type of animal they come from. Sheep casing are smaller and we use them for breakfast sausage. Hog casing for Italian. Just type in sausage casings and you will find numerous companies that offer them with the sizes listed on the container. Lastly, your good neighborhood butcher shop, especially those that sell whole hogs, will be your best bet. All you need do to find that type of butcher is go to your local BBQ cookout competition and ask where they buy their meat. GOOD LUCK!

    [Reply]

  12. 12
    Lucile Stachowiak — October 9, 2013 @ 9:47 am

    Good Morning Deborah:

    I enjoy your website and came across the recipe for Italian Sausage, it’s identical to the one my mother used to use and I remember, she tested the flavor and seasonings just as you do, fry a small piece. Aroma in the kitchen was wonderful. My sister buys her meat in 25 lb batches from the supermarket and they supply a packet of seasoning for that amount of meat and casings are not a problem to buy, most meat departments have a container packed in salt and they last a long time refrigerated.

    Lucile

    [Reply]

  13. 13
    Jim Schmitz — January 1, 2014 @ 4:51 pm

    When I make sausage (haven’t ever made Italian) I mix the seasoning with the cut up pork strips then run it through the grinder. It seems to be easier to get the seasoning mixed in with the meat this way. I usually make at least 40 lbs at a time though and smaller quantities such as this recipe may not make that much difference.

    [Reply]

  14. 14
    Robert — January 2, 2014 @ 5:59 am

    They may be less traditional but the end result is indistinguishable so I use collagen casings when making sausages – they are dry, easier to use, don’t smell anywhere near as bad and are easy to store.

    As Jim stated above, I also mix my seasonings through with the chopped meat before putting through the mincer. You do get a much more even spread of flavour that way. Also, as I work with the meat chilled to the point of virtually frozen at all stages, it is easier as mashing up ice cold meat is no fun at all.

    [Reply]

  15. 15
    Larry — February 1, 2014 @ 3:41 pm

    I will be using a kitchen aid stand mixer. What speed do you use with your kitchen aid mixer? Also how do you control the air getting into the casings. I have had air go up the stuffing tube on the outside and fill the casings. Would you reply in email please?
    Thank you.

    Larry

    [Reply]

    Deborah Reply:

    Larry, we keep the speed pretty low and usually one holds the casings tight while one puts in the meat. Air pockets haven’t been a big problem for us though we do use a toothpick to remove any air.

    [Reply]

    Palladini Reply:

    Larry, when putting your casings on the stuffer tube, it is best to not tie the casing until your meat is either at the end of the tube or there is some meat in the casing. This will eliminate 99% of the air. Also using the appropriate tube size for the casings helps a lot.

    removing the start up is easy, for the air left over, a pin inserted into the stuffed sausage works good also.

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  16. 16
    Ivo G. — June 1, 2014 @ 11:36 pm

    When making Italian sausages, in addition to the red pepper, fennel and paprika ( I’ve never heard of putting garlic in sausages and I’ve been Italian for almost 50 years and have lived there as well) one can add a good amount of minced Italian parsley and moisten the ground pork butt ( which comes from the SHOULDER) with a dry white wine ( like englenook Chablis) and the final result is moist and flavorful whether hot or sweet.
    Buona mangiata and enjoy!

    [Reply]

  17. 17
    C Garofalo — October 1, 2014 @ 3:10 am

    We are trying this for the first time. It should be interesting. Have read all tips etc ,so hope it all works out

    [Reply]

    Deborah Reply:

    Best of luck!

    [Reply]

  18. 18
    C Garofalo — October 25, 2014 @ 4:41 am

    Sausages turned out A-ok. Really pleased with this recipe. I used collagen casings,as we were experimenting. Next time will get hogget casings , now we know what we are doing. Thankyou everyone for all the tips

    [Reply]

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