Homemade Italian Sausage
Homemade Italian Sausage Meat that can be shaped and used in numerous ways for a variety of dishes. The Italian Sausage meat is so good with that nice heat, fennel aroma, beautiful color and texture, no matter how they’re shaped or cooked.
This meat blend doesn’t have to be stuffed into Sausages. It can be used for Meatballs of various sizes. Including those Pizzeria Style Sausage nuggets you get on Pizza to Italian Breakfast Sausages, Italian Kebabs or cooked up ground to include in Pasta dishes.
Italian Sausage Ingredients
The typical ingredients you see in Italian Sausages is Pork, Salt, Water or other liquids, Binder, Chili Flakes, Black Pepper, Fennel Seeds. Beef or a mix of Beef & Pork can also be used.
Fennel seeds can be omitted and replaced by Anise in lower amounts. In some cases included with the addition of Anise. Often Red or White Wine and/or Wine Vinegars, Sugar, Garlic & Paprika are added. With some adding in Pepper Paste. Other Herbs & Spices may include Coriander, Parsley, Oregano, Basil, Thyme or just an Italian seasoning and/or Mustard Powder.
Pick up 1 lb. (454 g) of Ground Pork. It’s important that the meat be very cold before you can mix this by hand really well.
1 lb. (454 g) of very cold Ground Pork added to the bowl where all the other ingredients have been added and mixed.
Bread Crumbs are usually just the Binder to derive that Sausage Texture while at the same time holding unto moisture for a juicier Sausage. In this recipe it is also used as the underlying Flavor behind the Italian Sausage. Because of the Italian Seasoning that is included with the bread crumbs.
Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
This is the kind that I use. I am not sure how other kinds would work. This brand is seasoned very nicely and contains Romano Cheese.
ItalPasta Italian Style Bread Crumbs Ingredients
Toasted bread crumbs [enriched flour, (wheat flour, matted barley, niacin, ferrous sulfate, thiamine mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), folic acid), high fructose corn syrup, vegetable oil (soybean and/or cottonseed and/or corn and/or canola oils). Contains 2% or less of yeast, salt, brown sugar, honey, molasses, sugar, wheat gluten, whey, soy, flour, rye flour, corn flour, oat bran, corn meal, rice flour, potato flour, butter, distilled vinegar, skim milk, lactic acid, calcium propionate (preservative), sesame seeds], salt, Pecorino Romano cheese (sheep’s milk, salt, rennet), spices, garlic, onion, parsley.
Allergens: contains wheat, milk, sesame seed, soy, and gluten products. May contain eggs.
Fennel seeds for me is what makes an Italian Sausage what it is, well that plus the heat. Add these in whole, toasted and then added in whole, partially crushed or ground. For this recipe I measure out 1 tsp of fennel seeds and then crush them to add to the bowl.
The Salt content is also what is responsible for the binding of the meat and for every 1 lb. (454 g) use 1 tsp of Sea Salt.
Red Chili Flakes is the main heat in these Sausages. Increase or decrease base on your preference.
Red Wine Vinegar
This is a very nice Red Wine Vinegar. Only a small amount is added to lift the flavors up a bit.
Red Wine Vinegar
Some Italians do use Red Pepper Paste in their Sausages. For me, it’s a must and just adds so much. Not only in terms of Flavor. But to derive a nice color too, especially when using 100 % Ground Pork.
Pimento Paste comes in two flavors, Sweet & Hot. Use the Sweet Pimento Paste for Sweet or Mild Italian Sausages and Hot for Hot Italian Sausages.
Use Smoked Paprika. However you can go with Sweet for Sweet Italian Sausages or Hot for Hot Italian Sausages or just keep the Smoked Paprika and use the Pimento paste to adjust for Sweet, Mild or Hot Italian Sausages with adjustments to the Black Pepper & Chili Flakes if desired.
A small amount of Black Pepper is used as another source of heat in combination with the Red Chili Flakes.
This recipe uses Dehydrated Garlic. You can add in fresh as well, about 1 clove minced.
This works wonder to create that Sausage texture with optimal juiciness. Only a small amount is needed to create the desired effect. It offers up a recognizable Sausage texture.
Italian Sausage Types
Typically Italian Sausages come in three flavors Hot, Mild & Sweet. For this recipes there are four main ingredients that can be adjusted at different levels to obtain the heat you seek. These are the type of Pimento Pasta (Sweet or Hot), type of Paprika (Smoked, Sweet or Hot), amount of Red Chili Flakes and finally the amount of Black Pepper.
Sweet Italian Sausages
Use Sweet Pimento Paste, Smoked or Sweet Paprika, and reduce the Black Pepper and Chili Flakes by half. Depending on how much heat you want to include.
Mild Italian Sausages
The given recipe is for Mild Italian Sausages. Use Sweet Pimento Paste, Smoked Paprika. Keep the Chili Flakes and Black Pepper the same or increase the Red Chili Flakes to 1/2 tsp for a spicier Sausage still within the Mild to Spicy range.
Hot Italian Sausages
For Hot Italian Sausages, use Hot Pimento Paste, Smoked or Hot Paprika, and either 1/4 tsp or 1/2 tsp Chili Flakes depending on just how spicy you want it.
How to Make Italian Sausage Meat
Italian Sausage Seasoning
Combine all the ingredients, except the Ground Pork together in a bowl and mix well.
Add 1 lb. of very cold Ground Pork and Mix well. Refrigerate covered for at least 4 hours, overnight is best.
Portioning Italian Sausage Meat
The meat will need to rest for at least 4 hours. With an overnight rest more ideal to develop the flavors and exhaust the baking soda. It also hydrates the Fennel and dehydrated Garlic. After the rest it can be portioned and shaped or portioned off into Ziploc bags and frozen.
I did this by hand with a funnel and I don’t recommend it, It’s a tedious task. With a Sausage stuffer the process is effortless.
Measure out about 28 inches of Pork casing for about 1 lb. of Italian Sausage meat to make about 4 Italian Sausages. Tie off one end leaving about 2 inches so that it can be tied off to the other end with another 2 inch string leftover.
The Casing can also be measured out at 16 inches to create 2 Italian Sausages with 2 inches leftover at both ends to tie together.
Stuff the Sausage casings to make Italian Sausages. The Italian Sausage should be about 6 inches long. Ensure that it is not too tight or else the Casing will break when cooking due to the expansion. Also prick the skin with a needle to get rid of any air bubbles and release the tension on the skins. Then refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cooking so the skin can dry or freeze to cook later.
How to cook Italian Sausages
Take out the Sausage and set on a Rack with a catch pan underneath and set on the counter to come up to room temp while the oven preheats.
Preheat the oven to 350 F with the rack in middle position. Then place the Italian Sausages in the oven still on the rack to cook for 15 minutes. Flip them over and cook another 10 – 15 minutes. Remove and let cool.
Oven Baked Italian Sausages
Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, flipping over halfway through and let rest.
Divide into about 114 g portions and shape unto Hom Skewers.
This can be tricky. But if you can get them on there and evenly distributed you’re good to go. I am still working on improving the technique. I initially place the meat on and even it out, then with wet hands shape the meat. It really does come with practice.
How to Cook Italian Sausage Kebabs
These can go into a preheated oven at 350 F for 25-30 minutes resting on a casserole to lift the Kebabs up. Flip them over halfway through.
Optionally Broil on the second notch down from the top rack for about 10 minutes. Flipping them over every 2 -3 minutes. Place some water in the pan to prevent smoking up the oven with the Kebabs set on top. Optionally season with a little Salt & Pepper.
Baked Italian Kebab
Hom skewers placed on a casserole to lift them up and baked for 25-30 minutes at 350 F, flipping over halfway through.
Italian Breakfast Sausages
Divide into 45 g – 60 g portion and shape into Patties. Place them on a baking sheet to freeze. Once frozen they can be removed and stacked inside a Ziploc bag.
How to Cook Italian Sausage Breakfast Patties
Heat a skillet up over medium heat and wait for it to get hot. Sear the frozen Italian Sausage Breakfast Patties for about 3 minutes on each side. Optionally season with a little Salt & Pepper.
Meatballs can be made at various sizes depending on where the meatballs will be used. I typically shape these with 1 1/2 Tbl portions. Place them on a pan to freeze. Once frozen then can be stored in a Ziploc bag to freeze.
You’ll get about 20-22 Meatballs at about 30 g or 1 1/2 Tbl each from 1 lb.
How to Cook Italian Sausage Meatballs
Place frozen meatballs into a preheated oven at 350 F for about 25-30 minutes. Toss them around every so often.
These can also be cooked in a skillet over medium heat with a lid. Heat a skillet up with a bit of oil. Add the frozen Meatballs and cover and leave for about 3 minutes. Move the Meatballs around. Repeat this every 1-2 minutes for a total cook time of about 10 minutes. During the last few minutes cook uncovered.
Oven Baked Italian Meatballs
Bake at 350 F for 25 – 30 minutes and toss around for even browning.
Pizzeria Italian Sausage
To get the Italian Sausage nuggets they top Pizza with at Pizzerias, use 1/2 tsp portions. Roll into a ball and then slightly elongated. Lay them all out on a baking sheet to freeze. Once frozen store into a Ziploc bag.
How to cook Pizzeria Italian Sausage
Place Frozen Sausage Nuggets into a preheated oven at 350 F and cook for about 10 -15 minutes. Toss them around every so often. Just the same for Meatballs but with a shorter cook time.
These can also be cooked stovetop in a pan over medium heat with a bit of oil just the same as meatballs but with a shorter cook time or in an Air fryer at 400 F for about 10 minutes.
Oven Baked Pizzeria Italian Sausage
Bake at 350 F for 10-15 minutes and toss around for even browning.
Ground Italian Sausage
Italian Sausage meat can also be added to a skillet to cook up just like ground beef. Make a big batch and freeze into 1/2 lb. portions in Ziploc bags just the same as you would Ground Beef. Check out my How to Post on How to Freeze Ground Beef.
How to cook ground Italian Sausage meat
The Italian Sausage meat can go straight to a skillet heated up over medium low heat while still frozen to cook covered until it thaws out. Then break it apart and cook uncovered the same as ground beef over medium heat.
Optionally thaw the Italian Sausage meat and cook the same way as Ground Beef over medium or medium high heat.
- 1 Mixing Bowl
- 1 lb. Ground Pork
- 2 Tbl Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
- 1 Tbl Sweet Pimento Paste & Cold Water - each
- 1 tsp Smoked Paprika, Sea Salt, Red Wine Vinegar & Fennel Seeds - each
- 1/2 tsp Dried Minced Garlic
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper, Chili Flakes & Baking Soda - each
- Crush or Ground the Fennel Seeds. In a bowl combine all the ingredients except the Pork and mix well. Then add very cold ground Pork and mix to evenly distribute the seasoning throughout the meat.See the notes for Sweet, Mild or Hot Italian Sausages.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Overnight is best.
- Portion and shape the Italian Sausage Meat any way you like or portion and freeze into Ziploc bags. Make Italian Sausages, Kebabs, Meatballs, Breakfast Sausages or cook it up ground to include with certain dishes. See the post for the different cook times depending on how you are using the Italian Sausage meat.
Sweet Italian SausagesUse Sweet Pimento Paste, Smoked or Sweet Paprika, and reduce the Black Pepper and Chili Flakes by half. Depending on how much heat you want to include.
Mild Italian SausagesThe given recipe is for Mild Italian Sausages. Use Sweet Pimento Paste, Smoked Paprika. Keep the Chili Flakes and Black Pepper the same or increase the Red Chili Flakes to 1/2 tsp for a spicier Sausage still within the Mild to Spicy range.
Hot Italian SausagesFor Hot Italian Sausages, use Hot Pimento Paste, Smoked or Hot Paprika, and either 1/4 tsp or 1/2 tsp Chili Flakes depending on just how spicy you want it.
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