The KitchenAid Mixer is a powerful tool, but it’s even more awesome with it’s attachments. For my birthday, John gave me the food grinder attachment, used for homemade meat grinding, cutting up vegetables for salsa and a variety of other food preparations. I knew I wanted to make my own sausage, and after a month I finally found a recipe, a process and the time to do it.
Without John, I wouldn’t have been able to make this and take pictures. The grinding process happens too quickly, and with the amount of meat I kept having to touch there was no way I could keep washing my hands all the time.
This also takes a lot of time. As early as 10:00 AM if you count the time the meat stays in the freezer, and we finished at about 5:00 PM. I’m sure that it goes faster when you aren’t stopping to take pictures, and the idea is to learn the process so that you only get faster and faster at it.
- There were a lot of dishes to wash. The grinder needs to be washed in between both uses.
- The meat needs to be really cold so it has to stay in the freezer for as long as the recipe indicates. Don’t cheat the clock.
- Be ready to get messy, and deal with lots of meat for a long time.
My recipe is based off of this one from Simply Recipes, which tells you how to case your sausages if you want to do that. Since the measurements are in grams, I weighed out my spices using my electronic kitchen scale. I used a few teaspoons less of each spice except the cracked black pepper, knowing that I didn’t have as much meat to start with as they did.
Not wanting to mess with casings on my first try, I left my ground sausage just the way it was. I planned on separating the final meat mixture out into portions for meals, hoping I’d get at least two out of it.
If you aren’t planning on using the sausage right away or the next day, freeze the meat in an airtight bag or container.
Now, take a deep breath. Put your comfy pants on. Grab a beer. Start making sausage.
Homemade Sweet Italian Sausage
Makes about 3 pounds of ground sausage
- One pork shoulder, about 5 lbs (I used “Pork Shoulder Picnic Roast Bone-In at 4.77 lbs) with a good layer of visible fat
- 2 tsp cracked black pepper
- 5 tsp kosher salt
- 3 tsp sugar
- 5 tsp fennel seeds
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- Pinch of parsley flakes
- 1/2 a bulb of roasted garlic (instructions to follow)
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup dry sherry
- One large bowl that you can fill up with ice
- Two medium sized bowls that will fit in your freezer
- KitchenAid Mixer
- KitchenAid Food Grinder Attachment with coarse grinder plate
- One large plastic container with resealable lid
- Mixing spoons
- Kitchen shears
- Sharp, long knife for cutting the meat
- Electronic kitchen scale
- Plastic bags, for freezing
You want your meat, fat, grinder and bowls in the freezer for at least 2 hours prior to cutting up the meat. The meat and fat should be so cold that your fingers and hands go close to numb while you’re working with it.
While everything is in the freezer, measure out your spices into small bowls. You want them separated because you’re not going to use all of them at first.
Preheat the oven to 425. Grab a small piece of aluminum foil. Take the head of garlic and chop off the top, exposing the garlic cloves. Drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Cover with foil and roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Once roasted, let cool for 5-10 minutes or until you can handle touching it. Start squeezing out the garlic and mince it into fine pieces. You’ll only need half for this recipe, so place the other half in the fridge for another recipe.
Get the meat out of the freezer and put it on a cutting board. Start to cut into the meat with a long, sharp knife. I frequented back and forth between a knife and kitchen shears to cut the meat because I had a bone to work around.
As you cut the meat, put all pieces into a your frozen bowl. Grab a larger bowl and put ice in it. Set the medium sized bowl into the bowl with ice. This will keep the meat cold as you cut it.
Don’t worry about the size of the meat right now. Just try to get it off the bone. After that’s done, start separating the meat from the fat using your kitchen shears. Start cutting the meat into bite-size pieces and place them in a separate bowl (I know, you’re going to dirty at least 3 bowls for the meat process).
Weigh your bite-sized meat. I ended up with 2.58 lbs of meat, so I wanted half a pound of fat. My pork shoulder was pretty fatty to begin with so I just threw out the fat that I didn’t need. I started to cut into the fat a little smaller than the meat chunks. I weighed out the half pound and then put all of the meat into a large mixing bowl. I used the one I put ice in, since it was already cold.
Add 3 tablespoons of the toasted fennel seeds, cracked black pepper, nutmeg, parsley and garlic into the meat and mix with a wooden spoon.
Add the sugar and salt and mix again, then pour the meat mixture into a plastic, resealable container. Set it into the freezer for 30 minutes or until meat is very cold.
Get the food grinder out of the freezer and assemble it onto the KitchenAid mixer. Prepare a bowl under the attachment (could be the KitchenAid mixer bowl, which I would have used if I thought about it). Take a scoop of the mixture and place on top of the food grinder.
Press the meat with the food pusher slowly. We initially pressed too fast and it clogged up the grinder. If your grinder gets clogged, just take if off, clean it out and start over.
You should end up with something like this.
Put this mixture into the freezer. In a small bowl, mix the dry sherry and white wine vinegar together. Place in the refrigerator.
Clean the food grinder attachment, your mixing bowl and other items that came in contact with the meat. Place the cleaned food grinder and attachments back into the freezer. Told you there were lots of dishes to do.
When the meat is very cold and the attachments are cold, you’re ready to start the second grinding process.
Put the cold meat mixture into the bowl of your KitchenAid mixer. Add the sherry vinegar mix and the rest of the toasted fennel seeds. Using the paddle attachment, mix the meat until well combined.
Set up the food grinder attachment. Start grinding the meat mixture back into the KitchenAid bowl for the second (and last) time.
Weigh out the sausage and package up per your liking. I decided to weigh out three 1-pound portions of meat, with one portion being slightly under a pound just because I had almost three pounds, but not quite.
I plan on using about 3/4 pound for pizza, 1 pound for bolognese sauce and another pound to put in the freezer for later. I spent $7.07 on the 4.77 pound bone-in pork shoulder picnic roast. I had the dry sherry, white wine vinegar, spices and everything else on hand. I ended up with three portions of sausage for $2.35. Not crazy cheap, but homemade and fresh. I can control my seasonings and enjoy the kind of sausage I want. Definitely excited to make my sausage, kale and potato soup with this sweet italian sausage instead of breakfast sausage.