Homemade Merguez Sausage Recipe

Photographs: Joshua Bousel

Merguez, a North African lamb sausage, is a powerhouse of spicy and earthy flavor, making it one of the tastiest sausages around.

Type of fire: Direct
Grill heat: medium-high

Recipe Facts



Active: 90 mins to 2 hrs
Total: 90 mins
Makes: 4 pounds sausage

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  • 2 teaspoons whole cumin seed

  • 2 teaspoons whole coriander seed

  • 2 teaspoons whole fennel seed

  • 2 tablespoons paprika

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 3 pounds lamb shoulder, cut into 3/4-inch cubes and removed of gristle

  • 1 pound lamb, beef, or pork fat, cut into 3/4-inch cubes

  • 2 tablespoons freshly minced garlic (about 6 medium cloves)

  • 1/3 cup harissa

  • 1/3 cup ice water

  • Lamb casings, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes prior to use


  1. Place cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds in a cast iron skillet over medium heat and toast until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder and grind into a fine powder. Transfer spice mixture to a small bowl and mix in paprika, salt, and cayenne.

  2. Place lamb and fat in a large bowl. Add in spice mixture, garlic, and harissa. Toss to through coat meat and fat in spices. Place in refrigerator until ready to grind.

  3. Grind mixture through a meat grinder, fitted with small die, into a bowl set in ice.

  4. Using paddle attachment of a standing mixer, mix on low speed for 1 minute. Add in water and mix until liquid is incorporated and sausage is uniform and sticky, about 1 minute more.

  5. Form a small sausage patty; place rest of sausage mixture in refrigerator. Cook patty in a small frying pan over medium-high heat until cooked through. Taste and adjust seasonings of sausage if necessary.

  6. Stuff sausage into lambs casings and twist into 6-inch links. Refrigerate until ready to cook.

  7. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Grill over medium-high direct heat until sausage registers 155°F when an instant read thermometer is inserted in middle of link. Remove from grill, let rest for 5 minutes, and serve.

Special equipment

Meat grinder, Sausage stuffer, and Grill

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