Juicy Sweet or Hot Italian Sausage

Note: You must use a scale for this sausage. There is no way to accurately estimate the amount of salt needed otherwise. This recipe can be made with pre-ground pork as well. Mix ingredients as directed in step one, allow to rest at least 8 hours, then skip the grinding step and proceed as directed in Step 3.

Juicy Sweet or Hot Italian Sausage

About This Recipe

Yield:Makes 2 pounds sausage
Active time:30 minutes
Total time:12 hours
Special equipment:Meat grinder, stand mixer
This recipe appears in: The Pizza Lab: Sausages And the Science of Salt


  • 2 pounds pork shoulder with at least 20% fat, cut into rough 1-inch chunks (or 2 pounds ground pork, see note)
  • .6 ounces kosher salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated on a microplane (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 tablespoons whole fennel seed, toasted
  • 2 teaspoons dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes (hot sausage only)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (hot sausage only)


  1. 1

    Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 2 days.

  2. 2

    Place feed shaft, screw, blade, and 1/4-inch plate of a meat grinder in the freezer for at least 2 hours. Grind sausage meat according to manufacturer's directions into the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl. If finer texture is desired, chill meat in freezer for 15 minutes before grinding again.

  3. 3

    In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sausage meat on medium high speed until it becomes tacky and sticky, about one minute. Alternatively, knead by hand for three to four minutes. Transfer to a zipper-lock bag and seal. Sausage will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator. Stuff into casings or cook as desired.


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