Homemade Sweet Italian Sausage

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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.

Homemade Sweet Italian Sausage

EDIT 11.5.13: After using the food grinder several more times, I’ve revised this blog based on those experiences.

This was definitely a process:

  • There were a lot of dishes to wash. The grinder needs to be washed in between both uses to get fat and herbs that may clog the grinder out.
  • The meat needs to be really cold so leave it in the refrigerator while you prep your equipment. The colder the meat is, the easier it will be to grind.
  • Be ready to get messy, and deal with lots of meat for a long time. Meat splatters. Wear gloves, if that’s your thing.

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.

Put your comfy pants on. Grab a beer. Start making sausage. (Adventurous? Try making your own steak burgers with this recipe).

Homemade Sweet Italian Sausage

Makes about 3 pounds of ground sausage

Food Ingredients:

  • 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

Tools:

  • One large bowl that you can fill up with ice
  • Two medium sized bowls that will fit in your freezer
  • KitchenAid Mixer
  • KitchenAid FGA Food Grinder Attachment for Stand Mixers
    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 and equipment in the freezer for at least 15 minutes or until chilled thoroughly.

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.

Roasted garlic cloves

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.

Cutting up the meat

 

Mmmmmmeat

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. Cut the meat into 1-2 inch pieces and place them in a bowl.

Weigh your bite-sized meat. I ended up with 2.58 lbs of meat, so I wanted half a pound of fat for a good fat to pork ratio. 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 the fat a little smaller than the meat chunks to ensure that the fat wouldn’t stick in the grinder. I weighed out the half pound of fat and then put all of the meat into a large mixing bowl.

Add the fennel seeds, cracked black pepper, nutmeg, parsley and garlic into the meat and mix with a wooden spoon.

Seasonings

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.

Seasoned chunks

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.

Meat ready to go in the 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.

Grinding meat

You should end up with something like this.

1st round of grinding meat

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.

2nd time grinding meat

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.

Homemade sausage

Interested in trying this with beef? How about steak burgers? This recipe is a little less involved than this sausage, but just as delicious – Steak Burgers Using a KitchenAid Food Grinder

Burger patty - Steak Burgers using the KitchenAid Food Grinder

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  • hoppie

    how did it taste?

    • solidgoldeats

      Very flavorful, lots of fennel seeds and spices to help with that. The texture can’t be beat, either – you won’t find texture like this from a roll of sausage at the grocery store.

  • Keith Hunt

    Not sure how much fennel seed to use. Ingredients list says 5 TEAspoons and instruction says 3 TABLEspoons.

    • solidgoldeats

      5 teaspoons or less, depending on how much you like fennel. Sorry for the mixup, 3 tablespoons would be far too much.