Homemade Italian Sausage

How to Make Homemade Italian SausageSausage making 2
This is the classic Sicilian recipe for sausage, salsiccia fresca, fresh sausage, the ur-recipe to what is sold throughout the United States as “Italian sausage.” In Italy, families, especially in the south, still make their own sausages frequently.
Because pigs today are grown quite lean, it is necessary to add pork fat in order to make a truly wonderful tasting sausage. Sausages are made in a 3-to-1 ratio of meat to fat. If you reduce the fat below this ratio, your sausage will taste dry and crumbly.
Hog casings can be bought from supermarket butchers or any butcher who makes sausages. They are already cleaned and all you need to do is rinse away the preserving salts. Make sure all the ingredients, especially the meat, are very cold, including the grinder or food processor blade. Place the blade in the freezer until needed. This prevents the meat and the fat from homogenizing together, looking like a pâté.
The only specialized equipment you will need is a meat grinder/sausage stuffing attachment, which is sold as an accessory to many electric mixers as well as at a variety of kitchen supply stores and hundreds of web sites ranging from Target to eBay. Google “sausage stuffer” and you should get plenty of hits.
In Sicily, a typical method of cooking sausage is by twisting them into one large coil and frying them in a pan with a little water. Grilling is popular and cooking them in tomato sauce is too. Sicilians can wax philosophical when it comes to sausages as we see in Antonio Cardello’s Sicilia e le isole in bocca published in 1986. His discussion of salsiccia al ragù (sausage in tomato sauce) begins with a digression on the confraternities of Sicily in the seventeenth century and on the social condition of the brotherhoods and how a long string of sausages reminds him of the fellowship of a common fate. Sausage making 4
The recipe yields 8 pounds of sausage. For 4 to 6 servings, set aside 2 pounds of sausage. Divide the remaining sausage into 3 large zipper plastic freezer bags for future use.
6 pounds pork shoulder, with its fat, coarsely chopped or ground
2 pounds pork fat back, coarsely chopped or ground
6 tablespoons fennel seeds
1/4 cup salt
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups freshly grated pecorino cheese
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup wine
25 feet hog (sausage) casing
1. In a large mixing bowl, mix the pork shoulder, pork fat, fennel, salt, black pepper, pecorino, red pepper flakes, if using, and wine. Refrigerate, covered, 4 hours or overnight.
2. Open one end of the sausage casing and slip it over the water faucet. Turn the water on gently to wash out the casings. Then slide one end of the casing over the funnel of the sausage-stuffing attachment of a meat grinder or mixer. Push all of the casing you are using onto the length of the funnel (it will contract and fit fine), leaving about 2 inches dangling from the end. Tie this end in a double knot.
3. Turn the grinder on and begin to add the cold marinate pork mixture. As the ground pork begins to push into the casing, it will push the casing off the funnel. Have a large bowl or platter at hand to catch the sausages. Twist to make links or leave to make one continuous sausage. Do not overstuff the casing or it will burst now or later during cooking. Be careful that the sausage stuffing enters the casing continuously and that no air bubbles develop. If air bubbles do develop, it is better to cut the sausage at that point and start a new sausage by tying an end off. Or you can prick the air bubbles with a skewer. The sausages can be frozen or cooked at this point. If you would like to grill the sausages go to Step 4.
4. Prepare a low charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill on low for 15 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, place the sausages in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a near boil over high heat and just as the water begins to bubble, reduce the heat to low so the water doesn’t boil and poach the sausages for 10 minutes. This will prevent them from bursting when on the grill.
6. Drain the sausages and place them on the grill. Cook the sausages, turning frequently, until brown and no longer mushy to the touch, about 45 minutes.
Makes 8 pounds sausage


  1. Hello,
    This sausage sounds delicious. Could you substitute anything else for the wine? Water , broth, etc. ?
    Thanks Kat

Speak Your Mind


Site maintained by StudioSJS