Homemade Italian Sausage


  • 3 pounds pork shoulder
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 ounce kosher salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons whole fennel seeds, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon anise seed
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice berries
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar(Optional)
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • sausage casing, soaked in water until soft
  • Directions

  • Step 1

    Cut pork shoulder into cubes. Place in a bowl and refrigerate while preparing the other ingredients.


  • Step 2

    Grind garlic with a pinch of salt in a mortar to make a paste. Add fennel, anise, and black pepper. Bruise spices lightly with a pestle to release the flavors. Add red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, oregano, marjoram, coriander, mustard, allspice, sugar, and a splash of water. Stir to combine.

  • Step 3

    Add the spice paste to the pork cubes. Mix thoroughly by hand. Add the remaining salt. Cover and refrigerate until flavors meld, 8 hours to overnight.

  • Step 4

    Process the cold pork through a meat grinder on the slowest speed.

  • Step 5

    Push a casing onto the stuffing tube of your meat grinder. Feed the sausage meat through the filling tray. Run the meat through the casing on the slowest speed until all the casing is used up. Tie casing at the end into a knot. Pinch and twist the meat to create links if desired.

  • Step 6

    Place sausage onto a wire rack set over a sheet pan. Refrigerate uncovered for 24 hours.

  • Step 7

    Preheat a charcoal grill for medium heat. Separate the links and grill them until browned, about 5 minutes per side.

  • Chef's Notes:

    You can also grind meat in a food processor, and there are plenty of videos out there showing how, but then you’ll have to get a sausage stuffer.

    For a little nicer flavor, you can toast the fennel seeds in a dry pan just until you begin to smell them. This goes for any other whole spices you may want to grind and toss in.

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