How to Make Homemade Sausage

Please welcome guest author Hank Shaw of Hunter Angler Gardener Cook as he walks us through the steps of homemade sausage-making. (more photos) ~Elise

Making sausage at home is one of those lost arts that really is not so difficult as it sounds. At its core, a sausage is simply ground meat and fat, salt, and flavorings. It really is not much more involved than grinding your own hamburger; you don’t even have to stuff it into links if you don’t want to. Yet the flavor of a well-made link surpasses the sum of its parts, and a truly great sausage is fit to be served as a main course at a fancy dinner.

Good sausage is all about balance. Balance of salt and savory, balance of meat and fat, balance of spices and herbs within the whole. Knowing a proper ratio of salt to meat (and fat) is essential, but once you understand it you can adjust to your own perception of saltiness, which varies wildly among people. Some sort of liquid helps tighten the bind when you mix the sausage meat; and without this bind you have hamburger, not sausage. You also need a proper amount of fat, at least 20 percent – I have not yet met a low-fat sausage worth eating.

But beyond those “rules,” your ingredient list is limited only by your imagination. You can toss in as many or as few herbs and spices and other flavorings as you’d like. What liquid to use? Anything from water to fruit juice to wine to cream. What sort of meat? Usually pork, but beef and lamb are also good, as are game animals. Do you want a fine grind or a coarse one? How much fat? I like 25-30 percent, but you could go as high as 50 percent.

A good start is a typical Italian sweet sausage, and this is what I’ll walk you through here. Sweet sausage is only slightly sweet – it’s really called so to differentiate it from the Italian hot sausage, which has paprika, chiles and oregano.

Before You Start: Special Equipment Needed

Before you begin you do need some specialized equipment; this is what keeps many home cooks from bothering with sausage.

First, you need a proper meat grinder. I suggest the attachment for the KitchenAid stand mixer as a good start. Stand-alone meat grinders are good, too, and you could even use one of the old hand-cranked grinders. You need at least two dies – coarse and fine – that dictate how wide the strands of ground meat will be when they emerge from the grinder. You will also need a good scale, as most sausage recipes use weight, not volume to properly measure ingredients; a little too much or too little salt in a sausage and you can ruin it. Precision matters.

Are you going to stuff your sausages into casings? Then you need a sausage stuffer. Quality stuffers can run several hundred dollars, but if you plan to make sausage with any frequency, I highly recommend spending the cash. Do not stuff your sausages using the grinder attachment, as it will get the mixture too hot and can ruin the texture. Either do this right or leave your sausages loose.

If you do stuff your sausages, you need casings. Most decent butchers make their own sausages and will sell you hog casings, which are the scrubbed, salted intestines of a pig. (Don’t feed these sausages to those who cannot eat pork! I once knew a guy who made a lamb sausage so his Jewish friends could eat it, but forgot and stuffed them in hog casings. That did not go over too well.) Some people like the synthetic collagen casings you can buy on the internet. I do not. Why bother with this? The stuffing process compresses the meat and fat mixture and integrates the flavors better than in loose sausage – it is why most professionals prefer sausages in links.

Another option is to ask your butcher for caul fat, which surrounds the innards of pigs. It looks like a spider’s web and, once moistened in warm water, can be cut and used as a wrapper for your sausage to make crepinettes. Wonderful stuff. Other alternatives are using blanched savoy cabbage leaves or something similar as casings.

A piece of equipment that is handy but not vital is a wooden rack of some sort to hang your links on, as sausage links need to tighten in the skins at room temperature for a while, and then “bloom” overnight in the fridge.

Before You Start: Get Your Ingredients and Equipment Cold

The first thing you need to know is that you want your ingredients all laid out and at the right temperature BEFORE you begin. Start by making sure the meat and fat is extremely cold by putting it in the freezer for an hour or two. You can even use fat straight from the freezer, as frozen fat cuts better. Why the emphasis on temperature? Think of it like pie dough, where you want the butter to stay separate from the dough – if the butter gets too hot, it ruins it. Same with sausage. You really, really want to avoid “smear.”

A good way to tell if your sausage meat and fat are cold enough is if your hands start to hurt and go numb while handling it. You are looking for as close to 32 degrees as you can get without actually freezing the meat – using pre-frozen meat is fine, but you if you then refreeze it, it will suffer greatly in quality.

This carries through to your equipment. Put your bowls and your grinder in the freezer or at least the refrigerator for at least an hour before using them. I can’t say it enough: Cold, cold, cold.

You also need to be prepared to spend a few hours on this project. Under pressure, I can make a 5-pound batch in an hour, and pros are even faster than I am. But when I first started it took me several hours. Don’t have anything planned and leave distractions behind. You get breaks in the middle of this process, so worry not.

How to Make Homemade Sausage

  • Yield: Makes 5 lbs of sausage, or about 15-20 links.

Ingredients

Hank's Sweet Italian Sausage

  • 4 pounds pork shoulder
  • 1 pound pork fat
  • 40 grams kosher salt
  • 35 grams sugar
  • 20 grams toasted fennel seeds
  • 6 grams cracked black pepper
  • 4 grams ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1 head garlic, peeled and chopped
  • ¾ cup dry sherry
  • ¼ cup sherry vinegar

Special Equipment Needed for basic sausage

  • Meat grinder with coarse and fine dies - either KitchenAid with grinder attachment, a stand-alone grinder, or an old fashioned hand-cranked meat grinder

Additional Equipment Needed for Stuffed Sausage Links

  • Casings - hog casings
  • Sausage stuffer
  • Wooden rack to hang sausages to dry

Method

Making Bulk Sausage

1 Make sure your ingredients are laid out, and the meat and fat are very cold (fat can be completely frozen), before you begin (put meat and fat in freezer for 2 hours). Put bowls and grinder in freezer or refrigerator for an hour before using them.

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2 Prepare a large bowl of ice and put a medium metal bowl on top of it. Slice your meat and fat into chunks between an inch and two inches across. Cut your fat a little smaller than your meat. To keep your ingredients cold, put your cut meat and fat into the bowl set into a larger bowl filled with ice.

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3 When the meat and fat are cut, mix them quickly. Pour in most of your spices; I leave out a tablespoon or two of fennel seeds and a tablespoon of black pepper for later. Mix quickly. Add the salt and the sugar and mix one more time. Put into a covered container or top the bowl with plastic wrap and put the sausage mixture into the freezer for at least 30 minutes and no more than an hour. Now you can call back whoever might have bothered you when you started this process.

4 Meanwhile, mix ¼ cup of sherry vinegar and ¾ cup of dry sherry and put it in the fridge. I know sherry is not traditional in Italian sausage. You can use white wine and white wine vinegar if you’d rather (I save red wine and red wine vinegar for the hot sausages).

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5 If you plan on stuffing your sausage, take out some of the casings (you need about 15-18 feet for a 5-pound batch of links) and immerse them in warm water. (If you are not planning on stuffing your sausage, you can skip this step.)

6 After your sausage mixture has chilled, remove your grinder from the freezer and set it up. I use the coarse die for Italian sausage, but you could use either. Do not use a very fine die, because to do this properly you typically need to grind the meat coarse first, then re-chill it, then grind again with the fine die. Besides, an Italian sausage is supposed to be rustic.

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7 Push the sausage mixture though the grinder, working quickly. If you use the KitchenAid attachment, use it on level 4. Make sure the ground meat falls into a cold bowl. When all the meat is ground, put it back in the freezer and clean up the grinder and work area.

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8 When you’ve cleaned up, take the mixture back out and add the remaining spices and the sherry-sherry vinegar mixture. Using the paddle attachment to a stand mixer (or a stout wooden spoon, or your VERY clean hands), mix the sausage well. With a stand mixer set on level 1, let this go for 90 seconds. It might take a little longer with the spoon or hands. You want the mixture to get a little sticky and begin to bind to itself – it is a lot like what happens when you knead bread.

When this is done, you have sausage. You are done if you are not making links. To cook, take a scoop and form into a ball with your hands. Flatten out a bit. Cook on medium low heat in a skillet for 5-10 minutes each side until browned and cooked through.

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Additional Steps for Making Links

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9 If you are making links, put the mixture back in the freezer and clean up again. Bring out your sausage stuffer, which should have been in the freezer or refrigerator. Run warm water through your sausage casings. This makes them easier to put on the stuffer tube and lets you know if there are any holes in the casings. Be sure to lay one edge of the flushed casings over the edge of the bowl of warm water they were in; this helps you grab them easily when you need them.

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10 Slip a casing onto the stuffing tube (And yes, it is exactly like what you think it is). Leave a “tail” of at least 6 inches off the end of the tube: You need this to tie off later.

11 Take the meat from the freezer one last time and stuff it into the stuffer. If all the meat will not fit, keep it in a bowl over another bowl filled with ice, or in the fridge while you stuff in batches. Start cranking the stuffer down. Air should be the first thing that emerges – this is why you do not tie off the casing right off the bat.

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12 When the meat starts to come out, use one hand to regulate how fast the casing slips off the tube; it’s a little tricky at first, but you will get the hang of it. Let the sausage come out in one long coil; you will make links later. Remember to leave 6-10 inches of “tail” at the other end of the casing. Sometimes one really long hog casing is all you need for a 5-pound batch. When the sausage is all in the casings, tie off the one end in a double knot. You could also use fine butcher’s twine.

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13 With two hands, pinch off what will become two links. Work the links so they are pretty tight: You want any air bubbles to force their way to the edge of the sausage. Then spin the link you have between your fingers away from you several times. Repeat this process down the coil, only on this next link, spin it towards you several times. Continue this way, alternating, until you get to the end of the coil. Tie off the other end.

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14 Almost done. Time to hang your sausages. Hang them on the rack so they don’t touch (too much), and find yourself a needle. Sterilize it by putting into a gas flame or somesuch, then look for air bubbles in the links. Prick them with the needle, and in most cases the casing will flatten itself against the link.

15 Let these dry for an hour or two, then put them in a large container in the fridge overnight, with paper towels underneath. Package them up or eat them the next day. They will keep for a week, but freeze those that will not be used by then.

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Links:

Garrett's rollicking account of what it was like to make sausages with Hank and Elise
Advanced Tips on Sausage Making from Hank Shaw

60 Comments

  1. Bob

    Great tutorial! I’ve never made sausage myself, but my brother did once. Somehow I have a feeling this was better than that particular disaster…

  2. Linda

    WOW! What an excellent tutorial. Love the step-by-step pictures. I like the idea of doing sausage patties, too. Using your instructions, I think I would be able to do this. Thank you!

  3. B.Swetnam

    Making homemade sausage is easy and fun and should remain that way. First time sausage makers should, in my opinion, skip the stuffing into the casing until they are more comfortable with the sausage making and simply portion this into 1/2 or 1 pound portions for recipes calling for bulk sausage.

    I have a Kitchen Aid meat grinder and stuffer and still prefer my hand grinder for the texture it produces (cost about $16-$20).

  4. Robin from Israel

    I think I love you. I live in Israel and Italian style sausage simply can’t be found, not in any form. I’ve spent years searching with no joy. It would be great to be able to make my own.

    I don’t have a meat grinder anymore though, it went with a machine that died. Do you think I could get away with using a food processor to make this if I wasn’t trying to stuff links? What I most want the sausage for is things like pizza topping, pasta sauce and the occasional patty. (While I like eating sausage links I’m a bit squeemish about the whole casing thing, so I definitely don’t need the ability to stuff them at home.)

    Yes, you can use a food processor — pulse it a few times — but the result will not be as good because you will get bits of all different sizes and food processors tend to get hot fast. I don’t recommend it, but in a pinch it can suffice. Don’t forget to mix after chopping, so you get the bind. ~Hank

  5. Jeff

    Awesome write up on homemade sausage. I love making it and it is so much better than store bought stuff.

  6. Garrett

    Speaking as someone who was there for this and ate these sausages let me tell you, the taste of homemade sausage is eye opening and out of this world.

  7. noble pig

    An absolute amazing labor of love.

  8. amy

    This is a great visual.

    And it makes me want to get a meat grinder.

    Thanks for posting this Elise (and Hank)!

  9. Elise

    My parents and I have been eating these sausages all week. Having them for eggs with breakfast. Cooking them up into spaghetti sauce. They really are the best Italian sweet sausages we’ve ever had.

    It was a ton of fun hanging out with Hank and Garrett making sausages. Now I totally want to go get a grinding attachment for my KitchenAid. Stuffing them into casings was fun too, though you can imagine the 10-year old boy humor from the guys during that process. South Park meets Family Guy in Hank’s Kitchen.

  10. Wendy

    I have always been intimidated by making sausages but this step by step should make things easier.
    Plus are those flames on that Kitchen Aid???? I now think that mine needs some flames!

    You bet those are flames! My girlfriend Holly took the mixer to an auto detailing shop and had them painted on as a Christmas present…waaay coool…. ~Hank

  11. Heidi from Savory Tv

    Thank you for taking the mystique out of making homemade sausage! The casing process sounds a bit expensive, but I am going to try them without!

  12. Ranee @ Arabian Knits

    I was wondering if you could elaborate on using the cabbage leaves as casings? I have family members who do not eat pork for religious reasons, and I would love to be able to make lamb/beef/veal/chicken/turkey sausages for them. Thank you!

    Basically you wrap the sausage like a burrito or a stuffed grape leaf (also an excellent sausage wrapping!). They will not be as tightly wrapped as with a casing, but it’ll work for a braised or steamed dish. You could also tie the little packages with kitchen twine and grill them gently. ~Hank

  13. Julia

    I could believe the humor you people made while making the sausage. I remember my son and his friend when I made stuffed pasta shells one evening for our supper. They had a comment for each and every pasta shell I stuffed.
    But it is a very good tutorial for someone who is interested in making their own sausage.

  14. jody

    How about making chorzio? Is this recipe pretty much how you would do it and then just add chorizo seasoning? My husband is so picky when it comes to chorizo I have a hard time finding what he wants and if I could make my own then maybe he wouldnt be such a baby! :) Thanks, Jody

    Not really. Mexican chorizo is essentially a spreadable sausage where the casing is really just packaging. If you used my recipe with chorizo seasoning, it might be tasty — but it would not be a real Mexian chorizo. ~Hank

  15. mareza

    Wow this great ! I’ll try your recipe with no casing, I do have all the
    attachments on my KitchenAid just because I never buy ground meat
    with all the recalls we have. It is a good investment. Can I use beef
    with the pork fat?

    Yep, you certainly can use beef. ~Hank

  16. Tina

    Hank is absolutely right about the fat issue. I recently got the grinder attachment for my Kitchen Aid, and tried my hand at making sausage. Lean sausage. Lean pork and veal sausage. Not my finest moment in the kitchen, by any means. It has this rather curious saw dust texture. This sad little experiment is being browned off and tossed into my next batch of red sauce, with the hope that it will just fade into the background. Next time, veal out, pork fat in!

  17. Matt

    Always wanted to try this, they sound amazing…went from living with parents who said “You want to make what?!” to living with a vegitarian wife…my dreams have been shattered. Love reading about it though.

    Ohy…this scene makes me laugh to this very day.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAUP1wsmqUU

  18. Veronica

    This may sound like a dumb question, but where do I get the pork fat? Do I ask the butcher for it?

    Yep. Even a supermarket butcher should be able to get you some. ~Hank

  19. Jim-49

    You bring back memories!! In the country,here in Southern Miss.,I used to help make sauage,cure hams,ect,the old way.We,would start off,with maybe 3-4 hogs a day.My job,as of about 12 years old,was to put the fire under the old wash pot,cast iron,and heat water for scalding to scrape hair off,then,helping and clean pot,for cooking out fat,crackling,etc.Then,taking all the casings to wash and clean,for sauage.Help make sauage,and start the smoke in the smokehouse.Fix the salt meat,and hang the hams up for smoking.I still own the equiptment for the job.The last I made was about 375 lbs.,about 14 years ago!! I sure would like to have the old smokehouse,and I am thinking about building one.”The Greatest of Times”!!

  20. Lorraine

    Great recipe! Is there a sausage stuffer you recommend?

    I bought mine from a restaurant supply store, but you can get them online from The Sausage Maker and Butcher & Packer. ~Hank

  21. CJ

    This is a great article about sausage making. Very how-to and thorough.
    You’re absolutely right about the 4:1 meat to fat ratio. We always use fatty pork shoulder too. Kielbasa is a family specialty. My in-laws used to put me to work in the kitchen, chopping the last pound of meat slightly larger than the large grind die so that the sausage texture was perfect (in his estimation). Then we would pull out their ancient sausage press and I would turn while he fed the casings.
    The one tip I would recommend about hanging (essential to the texture) is to hang them in a cold place. We use our super cold garage in the winter, hand them high keep kids, cars, dogs out overnight. It works perfectly.

    Great recipe.

  22. mely

    Excellent tutorial! I make my own chorizo at home and also Italian and spanish sausages. The recipe I had been using for years for Italian sausages is more simple that this but I would love to try this one. Great pictures!
    Thanks a lot for this post.

  23. Michael

    For those (of us) without access to high tech equipment there is still a simple, much older way. This is how my grandmother did it. Everything is much the same until stuffing the links. All you need, however, is a short (8-10 inch) tube that is slightly smaller in diameter (about a quarter to half inch smaller diameter is fine) than the casing. You also need a pusher (a short wooden– or plastic, I suppose) stick that will fit inside the tube. (For the tube you can even use PVC or metal plumbing pipes, although we have a clear plastic tube that works wonderfully. Just make sure it is not lead!)

    Place as much of the casing over the tube as possible. When no more can fit, leave a 3 inch tail and cut the casing, leaving the rest for the next go-round.

    At the other end of the tube, I like to use something like a pastry bag. The “rule” is that you keep stuffing the tube, jamming it into the casing using the rod.

    I’ve found it somewhat easier to fill a plastic bag with the sausage, squeeze into the tube until the casing begins to fill. Pinch off the end of the casing until it stops being pushed out Quit when there are just a couple of inches of casing left on the tube. Remove the “pastry” (sausage?) bag and ram the rod thru the tube to push the last sausage into the casing. Tie off. Start over.

    Also.. since you got me going… we love goat sausage. You didn’t mention goat. Goat is the world’s most popular meat. It is just moderately hard to get in the USA.

    Yep, I know of this method, but it is a pain — at least to me. And unless your tube has a soft opening, the edges can rip the casing. Still, thanks for putting it out there as it is definitely an option. As for goat, funny you should mention it, as I am planning to make a Greek goat sausage in a week or two… ~Hank

  24. Patti

    You recommend not using the kitchen aid meat grinder for stuffing the sausage. We just got the meat grinder and ordered the stuffing tubes. Can you explain why you don’t recommend using them? We have venison and pork we want to use in the sausages.

    Yes, I mentioned it in the post, but the reason is because the stuffer attachments on grinders essentially re-grind the meat — even with spacers and bell stuffers (special gadgets to make this work better). The texture suffers twice: Both because of the re-grinding action, and because you are re-introducing heat to the mixture (the grinder generates heat as it the auger turns inside it). ~Hank

  25. helil

    Beautiful post! It got me wondering if you have a recipe for wieners / frankfurters.

  26. Darci

    Thanks for the extremely helpful tute!

    Can you share your recipe for the hot Italian sausages? Those are my favourite! And how would homemade keilbalsa be different? I just got a Kitchenaid Grinder attachment and can’t wait to use it!

    I can do hot Italian next, but to tide you over, switch out the nutmeg and sugar for paprika, cayenne and oregano. And sorry, I have never made kielbasa, but I do know the dominant flavorings are garlic, paprika and marjoram. ~Hank

  27. Hungry Again

    You made the big difference in my sausage making by mentioning the “bind”. Thank you. I don’t quite understand what it is about mixing that makes that happen. Please explain?

    May I also mention that I have success when the casing is wet, especially when I’m sliding it onto the stuffing funnel. Also I was taught to run cold water through the casings before loading it on the stuffer.

    Now I plan to find a spice mixture for middle eastern sausages, which use lamb, and which preceded the Italian ones.

    Without getting too technical, the mix affects the proteins in the meat so they begin to interlock within the mixture — but if you mix too long, you can smear the fat. 60-90 seconds is good for a stand mixer. And yes, wet casings are the key: This is why I always soak them in tepid water and then run water through them. ~Hank

  28. Robin from Israel

    Thanks Hank! I’ll definitely be making this very soon – right after I get all my Passover cooking out of the way (and will hopefully get a grinder shortly after).

  29. Ben

    Can you get a recipe from Morant’s Sausage? I know you’re in the area and their sausages are the BEST!

    Elise here. I love Morant’s too, but I rather doubt they would just give out one of their sausage recipes. I wouldn’t even ask. ~Elise

  30. Garvey

    Lbs, cups, grams… Any chance you know what the volume of the spices are, in tsp., et al.?

    Hi Garvey – sausage making is rather precise, especially when it comes to the salt to meat ratio. The best way to get there is with a scale. I made these sausages with Hank and I asked the same thing. Hank doesn’t do volume measurements for his sausage mixes. ~Elise

  31. Robert Donovan

    Here’s my take on essentially the same process, though much less well done. I didn’t hang afterwords either but will next time.

    http://porkandwhiskey.wordpress.com/2007/07/04/spicy-fennel-sausage/

    I also used the stuffing attachment to the grinder but made sure everything was kept cold. Seemed to work out and didn’t ruin the texture.

  32. merd

    Hey there – Hank, Elise. I know I’m late posting to this one, but was wondering if there was a resource to review spice builds/combinations for traditional sausages like: polish, knockwurst, bratwurst, chorizo, Italian (sweet vs. hot), etc… ? I always wondered what to flavor ground pork with to get a bratwurst flavor. Sure, I can guess and probably some up with my own tasty flavors by boiling it in beer, garlic, onions and peppers… (or even making hoity-toity spinach and feta sausages or something like that) but was wondering what traditional recipes may be out there for the classics.

  33. Justin

    After the best Christmas that my family and I have ever had, I decided that it was time to put the meat grinder (gift) to the test. What happened next was unexpected, music, singing, and dancing… The five of us had the time of our lives and we hadn’t even taken a bite of a sausage yet. We cant wait till tomarrow to see what it all tastes like. Thank you so much for teaching me this simple pleasure.
    Justin

  34. Regina

    OK – I just got the KitchenAid meat grinder attachment for Christmas, and now I have to use it! Period. Hank – you mention “toasted” fennel seeds – just put them in a dry pan, tun on the heat, and toast them that way? Weigh them before or after the toasting (or does it matter?)

    Any suggestions for chicken sausage? Is the 4:1 ratio still valid for chicken sausage? And if so, where would one acquire so much chicken fat? I know there’s a “Club” store around here that sells a chicken, spinach and asiago cheese sausage that is TO DIE FOR, but I wouldn’t even begin to know what else to put in it…. I suppose looking at the ingredient list may help…

    Yep. Dry pan, medium heat. Toss seeds continuously until they smell good. Doesn’t matter in terms of weighing. 4:1 is still valid for chicken – use thighs. No chicken fat — it’s too soft. Use pork or beef fat. Hope this helps! ~Hank

  35. Charles

    Great article and tutorial. Do I understand correctly that you don’t recommend the sausage stuffer attachment for the KitchenAid mixer? Thanks.

    You do indeed. The stuffer on the Kitchenaid has not been good for the texture of the sausage – it seems to over work it as it goes through the screw drive and heat it up too much. ~Hank

  36. Dennis

    In response to an earlier post you made the following comment on making hot italian sausage:

    I can do hot Italian next, but to tide you over, switch out the nutmeg and sugar for paprika, cayenne and oregano. And sorry, I have never made kielbasa, but I do know the dominant flavorings are garlic, paprika and marjoram

    I prefer making a spicey sausage…as opposed to blazing hot!!! Could you offer up the specific amounts of paprika, cayenne, and oregano you recommend for a spicey sausage? Also, when adding the oregano do you eliminate the parsley?

    Yes, you eliminate the parsley. As for spicy vs. “blazing,” what is my spicy may be your blazing. It is all a matter of personal taste. But I would put in 1-2 tablespoons of cayenne, 2 tablespoons sweet paprika and 1-2 tablespons of dried oregano — again, depending on your taste. ~Hank

  37. Robin

    Thanks so much for this tutorial! By far the best I came across when researching how to make sausages. I recently was gifted a sausage stuffer and meat grinder. Planning on getting lots of venison in the fall to turn into sausage so figured I’d better do up a batch as test first. Will follow your instructions and see how it turns out! :)

  38. tim

    if you don’t have a grinder & want to do small batches. hormel & tyson produce ground pork for sale in the meat case of grocey stores. my local one carries both. price is around 2.25/lb. hormel sells in 1lb plastic tubes like your bulk sausage, tyson has thiers in 1lb tubs similar to your ground lamb – & packaged veal products. meat to fat content on both is 80/20. as to your one comment on fat content. played around with a beef mixture that came in at 90/10 first time as bulk. at tasting what came to mind is a summer sausage. when i did a repeat with 97% beef i also thru in the dry mustard seeds. this was a little on the dry side for fat so the 90/10 is about right for fat & taste. next batch will be this with mustard seed tossed in.

  39. Lou

    Thanks for a great tutorial to get me started Hank!

  40. Mike

    Great recipe and wonderful photography. I lean more towards the spicier sausages but any Italian sausage is fine by me.

    I make a Sicilian sausage with red wine, freshly grated peccorino Romano and other fresh herbs and it’s fantastic. You’ll have a rough time finding that in a store.

    Have fun!
    Mike

  41. Joanne

    Excellent step-by-step photography!

  42. Marguerite

    I followed this recipe last night and made homemade sausage for the first time. What a success! Your directions were clear, the photographs helpful, and the resulting sausage was terrific. Thanks for a great recipe.

  43. Yolande

    Thank You very much! Iam from South Africa living in Saudi Arabia-NO PORK… can you assist with a recipe please?

    Yep. Use lamb instead. Works just fine. Sheep casings instead of lamb casings. Narrower, but they work. ~Hank

  44. Matthew Trueb

    My kitchenaid tends to clog and not allow the sausafe to pass into the casing. Any suggestions?

    That’s why I hate using the Kitchenaid sausage stuffer. I’d recommend buying a real stuffer if you are serious about sausage, or to wrap the sausage in grape leaves, blanched cabbage or caul fat if you need a quicker solution. ~Hank Shaw

  45. Meat Grinder Guy

    What a great tutorial! Sausage making is so much fun and really easy, especially when including family and friends. It can be intimidating but Hank, you’ve done such a great job outlining step by step with pictures and tips. Hot Italian Sausage is my favorite so using his tips on switching out the few spice ingredients is highly recommended for two different takes using the same recipe. I agree with Robin…homemade is so much better than store bought :)

  46. Nick

    Something I didn’t see in any of the above posts. I made sausage this last weekend with my kitchenaid grinder attachment for the first time and had a horrible time. I used a pork shoulder, cut it into chunks, and put them in the freezer as you describe. The grinder kept jamming up with membrane and I would have to clean it off the blade and die to get the grinder working again. Did I do something wrong cutting up the meat? Would it work with a pork loin?

    Weird. That’s normal with gnarly cuts of meat – you just clean the grinder die a few times during the process — but it rarely happens to me with pork shoulder. Pork loin works, but it’s really expensive. I’d just trim as much silverskin as you can find from the pork shoulder next time. You still might need to clean the grinder once or so, but it’ll be a lot better. ~Hank

  47. Pyers

    Excellent site – but one minor quibble: can you please sort out the units? You are mixing US/Imperial with metric! Can we have one (preferably metric) or the other?

  48. john

    hey hank,
    going to try your reciepe, but just wondering most reciepes call for rusk in there sausages, why do you not use it. thank you great tutorial.

    Uh, rusk? I have no idea what you are talking about. I have read hundreds and hundreds of sausage recipes, and I have never seen mention of “rusk.” Maybe it is an English thing? ~Hank

  49. john

    Why do I need to use Rusk or Breadcrumbs for making sausages?

    Rusk or breadcrumbs help with moisture and succulence. i.e. so that the sausage doesn’t become too dry.

    Aha! Breadcrumbs! OK, I get it. It is in fact an English thing. Most sausage-making traditions don’t use them. For example. adding grain/cereals/etc. is considered “cheating” by the Italians and Eastern Europeans. These are the traditions I tend to follow, and I’ve never had a problem with dry sausage so long as you use enough fat. Give this recipe a go without breadcrumbs, and let me know what you think. ~Hank

  50. john

    hey hank,
    yes used your reciepe, first sausages ive ever, made the patties( i fried before putting into the casings) were very good, I had a problem with the casings though, i used the kitchen aid with the stuffing attachment however i found it very difficult, what kind of stuffer have you got hank and around how much would it cost me. kind regards john

    Yeah, I am not a fan of the Kitchenaid stuffer, although I do like the grinder. I have a dedicated stuffer – it’s a stainless steel tube with a cranking press that can handle about 5 lbs of sausage at a time. Can’t remember the brand, though. They cost about $175 or so. ~Hank

  51. Ronnie Baaldeschwiler

    Great method, for anyone interested in history from years gone bye, a time when there was no refrigeration, this recipe is over 100 yrs old, handed down from my family, for 100 pounds of meat, 1 pound 15 ounces salt, 7-9 ounces pepper, add what ever else you want, not mentioned above, if your meat is dry when seasoning, the salt, and pepper will stick in one spot , use wine, or water to make it slick, so seasoning will be even, smoking- best smoke flavor ever,will not come back with after taste, corn cobs,

  52. Marc LaBeau

    Hank,
    A couple of firsts as we used venison from my son’s first deer and it was the first time we used a stuffer. We used the Kitchenaid stuffer and we are very pleased. Thanks for the great web information and your book is fun too. Marc

  53. Michelle

    Hank, this article is excellent. I’m making my first batch of homemade deer sausage today. I can’t wait to try it. When trying to determine the fat to lean meat ratio do you just eyeball it? Sorry if I missed that info somewhere. And I agree that the colder it is the easier it is to work with. Great tip!

    I eyeball it, but you are shooting for a ratio of at least 20 percent fat, and up to 33 percent. ~Hank

  54. Winnie Fernandes

    I can not the anise taste in my sausage before I start yours could you tell me what kind of seed you get, do you toast it? I buy mine at the food store. Help please!

    I use fennel seed from the store, and no, I do not toast it. ~Hank

  55. Paul

    I’ve been living in Boston for the last three years and have finally decided that I’ll either have to learn to make Steak and herb sausages or else just move back to Ireland!
    I spent the afternoon today doing just that and stuffing them into casings purchased at Whole Foods. I strongly suspect I haven’t got the herb blend just right, but I also wish I’d read this article first. Great tips’n’tricks!
    I think I’ll be better prepared for round two!

  56. Lou Doench

    Just made my first batch, we’ll see how it comes out in the morning.

  57. Leon

    A note to people using a grinder of any kind…I have one from Cabela’s….Make sure the cutting edge of your blade is againt the die…..duh..You may not be as careless as me, but I am guilty of this after using my grinder many times….(getting in a hurry or just not paying attention)….It can be embarrassing in front of your Grandson….

  58. Jennifer

    Hi Hank, great tutorial. Do you think it is possible to put vegies such as pumpkin, carrot, peas or potato in the sausage mix? I have a very fussy 3 year old who loves sausages but is not so keen on vegies. So I was going to try my hand at making some snags with meat and vegies. I am guessing I will probably need to cook them prior to adding to the mix? any suggestions? Thanks

    I know there is a such thing as a potato sausage in Sweden, but I have no experience with it. Sorry! ~Hank

  59. Deborah k.

    I made this sausage recipe last night…mmmmmmmm it turned out awesome! Thank you, I will always use this recipe.. Today I cooked up a couple of links cut up with some sauted onions and bell peppers and olive oil, put on plate with a thin layer of spaghetti topped with a little Marinara sauce and sprinkled it with mozzarella chese, made some toasted garlic torta bread, that’s what I’m talkin about!

  60. Luis

    Great tutorial, whats your take on combing cheeses with your sausages ie cheddar brats and the sort.

    I don’t do it, but only because I don’t like cheddar brats. I had one too many while at UW-Madison years ago, and they no longer agree with me. But it’s a legit sausage style. ~Hank

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