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I wanted to try a new recipe that called for Italian sausage. I could go buy some or I could make some. Of course, I decided to makes some.

Remember that cold meat makes better sausages. I made sure the meat was right out of the fridge and cut up pork butt steaks into 1 inch cubes. I put the meat back in the fridge.

I mixed the salt, spices and milk powder together. Before adding the fennel seed and bay leaves, I ran them through my spice grinder for a few seconds to crack the seeds and break up the bay leaves.

I added the liquid ingredients to the spices and stirred to make a slurry.

I ran the meat through the medium plate on the grinder attachment of my KitchenAid. Then I put the meat in the fridge for an hour. I spread the meat on a tray and poured the slurry over it. I mixed the meat by folding it over, turning the tray and folding again. I repeated this and mixed for 5 minutes.

I put the meat in the fridge for another 30 minutes.

I put six feet of 32 mm collagen sausage casing on my sausage stuffer and tied the end of the casing off. I pressed the sausage into the casing.

I put the stuffed casing on a counter. I measured 6 inches and pinched the casing to flatten. Cut at the link with shears. I repeated until all the links were cut.

I made a movie of this cook:

The Verdict

These are leaning towards hot Italian sausage but don’t have a heavy burn. Even She Who Must Be Obeyed was OK with the heat level. The fennel gave a nice herb flavour that was well balanced with the slight tart of the wine and lemon juice. These are a very nice Italian sausage!

The Old Fat Guy

Italian Sausage

Italian Sausage


  • 1 kg (2.2 lb) fatty pork shoulder
  • 12 ml (2 1/2 tsp) kosher salt
  • 8 ml (1 1/2 tsp) ground black pepper
  • 6 ml (1 tsp) ground coriander
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) garlic powder
  • 4 ml (1 tsp) paprika
  • 1 ml (1/4 tsp) cayenne
  • 2 ml (1/2 tsp) dried thyme
  • 2 ml (1/2 tsp) dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 25 ml (2 tablespoons) fennel seed
  • 90 ml (1/3 cup) skim milk powder
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp + 1 tsp) lemon juice
  • 25 ml (2 tbsp) light corn syrup
  • 45 ml (3 tbsp) red wine
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp + 1 tsp) cold water
  • 6 feet of 33 mm collagen sausage casings


  1. Make sure the meat is well chilled before you start.
  2. Cut the meat into 1 inch cubes and put in the refrigerator.
  3. Put the fennel seed and bay leaves in a spice grinder and process until the bay leaves are broken up and the fennel seeds are cracked.
  4. Mix all the spices and dry milk together.
  5. Add the liquid ingredients and stir into a slurry.
  6. Grind the meat through a medium plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  7. Put the meat on a tray and pour the slurry over it. Mix well for 5 minutes. Refrigerate the meat for 30 minutes.
  8. Stuff the casings with a sausage stuffer.
  9. Measure 6 inch lengths, pinching at each measure. Cut into individual links with shears.
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14 Responses

  1. Love this one, David. I haven’t made homemade Italian sausage in years. Every year I say I’m going to make it but never seem to get it done. Great post, now you have inspired me to get moving!!

  2. Lol.. Another vote for you being industrious!
    I have tried several times making Italian sausage and just haven’t been thrilled with the flavor. So, next time I will try it your way. You have a couple spices I haven’t added, and I have been way lighter on the fennel than you.
    I do have a question, what is the function of the milk powder?

    1. The milk powder gives a bit moister texture and can be left out if you like a firmer sausage. It acts to hold in some moisture. I will point out that this is a little spicy but isn’t a hot Italian sausage. Feel free to double the cayenne if you want some real bite or reduce it and the pepper if you want sweet.

    1. It will be a slightly different sweet taste but you can substitute 1 1/4 cup of white sugar with 1/2 cup of water for 1 cup of corn syrup in a recipe.

  3. Just made your Italian sausage ! I have been making sausage 53 years now this the best recipe I have found. I will be making pizza tonight. Thank you so much . Dave in Florida

  4. I am very new to making sausage I found your recipe and love all the ingredients that you have incorporated into your recipe. I was thinking of adding 1/2 tsp of dried parsley along with 1/4 tsp of ground red pepper, to your recipe would this be okay or would it not taste good…….Shane from New Mexico.

  5. hey big Dave … just made 25 lbs of this in natural casings though.. incredible … just ate an Italian sausage sandwich with peppers and Vidalia onions .. off the chart .. you hit another

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