Make your own sweet Italian sausage at home with pork shoulder, Parmesan cheese, fresh basil and more, with a meat grinder. Here is the recipe.
Sausage making is fun. Flat out. I got the bug for it when I purchased a KitchenAid mixer a few years back. I wanted the mixer for various recipes, but mostly for the attachments. I started with the pasta making attachment and went crazy with making homemade pasta, which I still love to do, but it didn't take long for me to yearn for more exploration.
I found the sausage making attachments and had to give it a go. Big win!
We're big sausage lovers in the Madness household. Being from the Midwest, we grew up on brats and sausages. It's standard summer grilling fare around here. Wisconsin, which is just over the border for us, is as well known for their brats as they are for their cheese, and that love of sausage has clearly spilled down into Illinois, particularly Chicago, where the Italian sausage reigns supreme.
Of course it's easier to purchase sausages from the butcher or from your grocer, but once you learn how to make your own, you have the freedom to create any combination of ingredients you'd like. You can mix and match different meats, all manner of seasonings, spice them up with chili peppers from mild to superhot, you name it. Add in some vegetables. Get creative. Chicken and Beet sausages? Totally doable. Turkey and Kale sausages? Yep. You can do that.
What about fiery Ghost Pepper-Pork-Bacon sausages? Wow. Now THAT is one that I must trymaking. What am I doing to myself here?
I'm sure you get what I mean. You are only limited by your creativity. I have written a previous post on How to Grind Meat with a Meat Grinder, which you will find very useful. Be sure to refer to it to help you get started.
We like to make big batches of sausages and freeze them. We'll grind up several pounds of various meats, then mix and match different seasonings and ingredients to form burgers, packaged ground meats, and, of course, sausage links, which require sausage casings. I get my casings from the butcher.
For this particular recipe, we're making a sweet Italian sausage. As mentioned, Patty and I live near Chicago, so we're used to our amazing Italian sausage. One thing we've noticed when we travel is that real, quality Italian sausage is difficult to find, especially on pizza. We're considering moving in the future, and neither of us wants to go without our Italian sausage, so we've learned how to make it ourselves. I can tell you, this is super close to anything I can get around here.
The only big difference is that I'm adding Parmesan cheese, which I freaking LOVE. You can omit the cheese if you'd like and will still achieve amazing flavor. But hey! I'm of the mind that if you can add Parmesan cheese, go ahead and do it!
See the recipe below. I hope you enjoy it! I cooked our up and served them on buns with Pesto with Roasted Italian Peppers and diced tomato. BOOM! Great stuff.
For Your Reference
Here are some links to the tools I use at home for meat grinding. They’re affiliate links with Amazon. FYI. Enjoy the end results! Get grinding!
Patty's Perspective: The key to really good Italian sausage is the fennel. I love the addition of fresh basil and Parmesan cheese to make this so much like our favorite Italian sausage. So delicious with pesto on a bun.
Homemade Ground Basil-Parmesan Italian Sausage
- 2 pounds pork shoulder
- 2 cups parmesan
- 3/4 cup chopped basil
- 2 ounces ice water or beer
- 1 tablespoon fennel seed whole
- 1/2 tsp ground fennel
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- Sausage casings if desired
- First, soak the sausage casings in water for an hour.
- Cut the pork shoulder into 1 to 2 inch slices then set them onto a large baking sheet. Cover them in plastic and set them into a freezer for about a 30-40 minutes. You want the meat to be cold and firm, but not frozen. This will help reduce the gumming up of meat at the grinder head.
- Also, freeze the grinder as well. You want to keep everything cold to make this process easy.
- Second, set up the grinder and feed the meat into the top. With a KitchenAid, use a higher speed to keep the process moving quickly. With a manual grinder, crank it at the speed you are comfortable with.
- Stuff the meat down with the handheld attachment, the stomper, and let the grinder do the work. Set a chilled bowl below the spout and let the beautiful ground meat spill into it.
- Once all of your meat is ground, add the remaining ingredients and mix well. You are free to form burgers or meatballs at this point. If making sausages, swap out the grinder for the sausage stuffing head and thread on your sausage casings until only a couple inches remains unfitted. Feed the seasoned ground pork shoulder into the stuffer and fill the casings. Pack the meat in the casings every few inches or so to keep it fairly tight. Once filled, twist the casings every 5-6 inches to form individual sausage links.
- Tie off the casing ends and pierce each sausage with a pin in a few places to prevent them from bursting when cooking.
- Pan sear or grill when ready. Sausages take 10-15 minutes to cook through, depending on heat, and should reach an internal temp of 160 degrees F.