Mel’s Diner

Sharp Knives, Raw Meat and Fire


Quite a while back I picked up Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman.  It was in Charcuterie that I got the basis of the Corned Beef recipe I’ve used.  Soon there after, I loaned it to a friend and never saw it again for two years.  Just a few weeks ago, I got it back and I had forgotten how wonderful it is.  Flipping through the book, I stumbled upon his sausage recipes and vowed to try the Italian Sausage recipes, mainly because it wasn’t intended to be cased.  I picked up some ground pork and went to town.


  • 4 pounds of boneless shoulder butt, diced (I used the ground pork I bought)
  • 1 pound pork fat back, diced (I used about ½ pound of lard I had)
  • 1 ½ ounces (3 Tbls) kosher salt
  • 2 Tbls Sugar
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 Tbls fennel seeds, lightly toasted (maybe 1 Tbls would be better)
  • 2 tsp coarsely ground pepper
  • 2 Tbls sweet paprika
  • ¾ cup of ice water
  • ¼ cup chilled red wine vinegar
  1. Combine all of the ingredients except the water and vinegar and toss to distribute the seasoning.  Chill until ready to grind.
  2. Grind the mixture through the small die into a bowl set in ice water. (The ice water keeps the mixture cool.  If it warms up, even to room temperature, the fat separates and reduces the quality of the cooked sausage.)
  3. Add the water and vinegar to the mixture and mix with the paddle attachment (or sturdy spoon) until the liquids are incorporated and he mixture has developed a uniform, sticky appearance, about 1 minute on medium speed.
  4. Sauté a small portion, taste, and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

OK, a few things.  Obviously, you need a meat grinder or, more likely, a KitchenAid with the grinder attachment, like I have.  I bought ground pork, but I still mixed it with everything and put it through the grinder anyway. 


It was good.  It was very good.  Maybe a little to fennel-y, but, still very good.  Still, I wondered if the texture wouldn’t be better if I ground the meat myself. 


Last week, I bought some pork butt and found some pork belly, oddly cut into 2 inch thick slices instead of being baconfied, so I bought that for the fat back part of this recipe.  I did make it again, but because it was Ash Wednesday and I’m Catholic and I couldn’t eat meat, so I didn’t actually try it.


February 28, 2009 - Posted by | Pork, Recipe


  1. cool! what did you do with it in the end? did you make it into patties or did you use casings?

    Comment by Sara | March 1, 2009 | Reply

  2. I froze it in 3/4 pound packages (8 of them!) to be used in pastas and stuff. Or, just to defrost and eat – it’s really good. I hope to get a sausage stuffer attachment and try some casings.

    Comment by Mike | March 2, 2009 | Reply

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