The last time I remember making sausage was with my Uncle Billy many years ago, who was doing his famous dried Italian sausage for Christmas Eve. By the way, I said “making,” but for the record I actually meant mostly watching. Anyway, this fresh version is inspired by those, and while we loved how they came out, I’m kicking myself for not saving a few to dry. That’s how Uncle Bill did them, and they’d be fried after Midnight Mass, and served on bread with roasted red peppers.
They were incredible, and one of my earliest and most vivid food memories. If you’re going to make your own sausage on a regular basis, you’ll want to get a little more professional sausage-making set-up than I suffered through here.
It did the job, but was slow, even after I figured out what was holding me up. You can also grind meat in a food processor, and there are plenty of videos out there showing how, but then you’ll have to get a sausage stuffer. Speaking of videos, I know I said I’d try to find a link to a more detailed demo using better equipment, but just head over to YouTube and watch literally any other sausage video. Besides, the actual recipe is the hard part.
For a little nicer flavor, you can toast the fennel seeds in a dry pan just until you begin to smell them. This goes for any other whole spices you may want to grind and toss in. Also, if you can manage not to eat them right away, I think letting them dry for a day or two really deepens the flavor, and firms up the texture as well. So, with a wink heavenward to Uncle Billy, I’ll close by saying, I really do hope you give these homemade Italian sausages a try soon. Enjoy!
Ingredients for about 8 to 10 Italian Sausages:
3 pounds pork shoulder
28 grams kosher salt (1 ounce)
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons whole fennel seed, toasted
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon anise seed
2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice berries
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 tablespoons cold water