Italian Sausage From Scratch

Adapted from Alton Brown

[ Pictures are from a quadruple batch. Unless you do the same, your amounts will be much smaller! ]

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seed
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves
  • 2 pounds pork butt (2 1/2 pounds with bone), sliced into 1x1xWhatever, strips for ease of feeding into the grinder
  • If you’re making sausage links: 5 feet of 36-millimeter collagen casings (do not allow to get wet at any time)
  • Shortening, to lubricate nozzle of stuffer

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: meat grinder with stuffing attachment or manual stuffer

Cut Pork into long strips. Approximately 1x1xY.
  1. Toast fennel seed in medium-sized, heavy saute pan over medium heat, constantly moving seeds around in the pan until they start to turn light brown, about 5 minutes.
  2. Set aside to cool. Once cool, grind seeds and combine with salt, pepper, and chopped parsley in medium mixing bowl.
  3. Add pork and blend thoroughly.
  4. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  5. Using the fine blade of a grinder, grind the pork.
  6. The sausage can be used immediately or stored for later.
Fennel before toasting.
Fennel – toasted. The color will go from pale green to golden.
Grind fennel in a coffee grinder.
[ Don’t use the grinder you use for coffee! Pick up a used grinder for a few dollars at your local thrift store! ]
Only five spices? Yes! It’s super easy!
Make working with raw meat easier and wear disposable nitrile or vinyl gloves. Mix the meat and spices well.
Run it through the grinder, wrap and store or cook immediately! I find that letting the flavors mingle overnight in the fridge lends more rounded flavor.

OPTIONAL: Making Sausage Links

  1. After lubricating stuffer or stuffing attachment with shortening, load casing onto attachment, clipping end with a clothespin.
  2. Stuff meat into casings, trying to avoid air pockets.
  3. After stuffing is finished layout on the counter and tie off the end. Pinch and twist to form 4-inch sausages.
  4. Wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours. Store in refrigerator for use within 2 to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. If freezing, wrap in aluminum foil.
  5. If using immediately, saute over medium heat in a heavy saute pan with 1/4-inch of water.
  6. Bring water to boil, put on the lid and cook for 10 minutes. Remove lid and continue cooking over medium heat, turning every 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown.
  7. Sausage should reach an internal temperature of 150 to 156 degrees F.

STORAGE FOR LATER USE

  • Wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.
  • Store in refrigerator for use within 2 to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. If freezing, wrap in aluminum foil.

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