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 Ground 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