Recently we tried our hand at sausage making. It was very successful and a lot of fun. We did purchase a meat grinder and stuffer for this process and this is not a complete guide to sausage making. We used this post on Simply Recipes as a guide. It’s very informative and easy to follow.
Some of you might be thinking that we’re crazy but grinding your own meat and making your own sausage has two excellent benefits
1) You save money.
Pork shoulder, which is the meat we chose to use, cost around $1.50 a pound. Already made Italian Sausage was $2.50 a pound. It’s a $1 savings for each pound. We did purchase our pork at Costco and it weighted about 15lbs. You might could even find it cheaper on sale.
2) You get to customize it.
You have control over how much of each ingredient you add and which ones you want to exclude. We added no artificial crap to ours and no preservatives outside of salt. We did a lot of experimenting this time around with just basic Italian sausage recipes. We had two batches going and added a little of this and a little of that, then we’d cook up a small patty to taste-test it.
We made roughly 5lbs of Hot Italian Sausage and 3lbs of Breakfast Sausage. The rest of the shoulder went into the freezer for another sausage making session later. We did use natural hog casings for the Italian sausage and created links. We also pulled out about a pound for bulk.
We spent a good bit of time on this project but that was because we were doing a lot of testing. I imagine we’ll probably spend a lot less time on the next batch. If it’s your first time making sausage plan at least a good half-day on just this project. We actually had a lot of fun but we’re a little strange like that.
Lessons we learned
- The colder the meat and equipment are the better the quality stays
- Sausage has a lot of salt but it’s important to the flavor
- You will have some left over in the stuffing tube and grinder. Pull it out and set it aside for bulk.
- Feeding the casings onto the feeding tube is much easier when there is a little sausage poking out of the tube. It softens the edge of the tube.
- Work in 2-3lb batches unless you have a really giant bowl
- Heat WILL grow, so careful with the red pepper!
- It’s much easier with two people
If you’ve never thought about doing this or if you have, I highly recommend it. We had a blast and now have 5lbs of custom made sausage links in our freezer! See our recipe below.
Williams Kitchen's Hot Italian Sausage
Recipe Modified from Simple Recipes
- 5 pounds pork shoulder
- 40 grams kosher salt
- 35 grams sugar
- 20 grams toasted fennel seeds
- 6 grams cracked black pepper
- 4 grams ground nutmeg
- 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
- 1/8 tsp ground red pepper
- 1 cup minced fresh parsley
- 1 head garlic, peeled and chopped
- ¾ cup dry sherry
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar