Italian Sausage-Smoked (Medium Hot)

A fresh (raw) Italian Sausage is a wonderful sausage for frying or grilling and can be found in every supermarket in the USA. The dominant flavor in fresh Italian sausage is fennel and by adding (or not) cayenne pepper we can create sweet, medium or hot variety. Fried on a hot plate with green bell peppers and onions, it is sold by street vendors everywhere in New York City. Don’t confuse it with cheap poached hot dogs on a bun, Italian sausage is bigger and served on a long subway type roll. It is leaner than other fresh sausages and the US regulations permit no more than 35% fat in the recipe. Fennel, sometimes added with anise, is the dominant spice in this sausage. In most cases it is made as a fresh sausage for grilling but it can be smoked as well. This recipe is for a smoked variety which can be enjoyed cold as it is ready to eat at any time.

MeatsMetricUS
pork butt1000 g2.20 lbs
Ingredients per 1000g (1 kg) of meat
salt18 g3 tsp.
Cure #12.5 g½ tsp.
black pepper, coarse2.0 g1 tsp.
sugar2.0 g½ tsp.
red pepper or cayenne2.0 g1 tsp.
fennel seed, whole3.0 g2 tsp.
coriander1.0 g½ tsp.
caraway1.0 g½ tsp.
nutmeg1.0 g½ tsp.
cold water90 ml3 oz fl.
Instructions
  1. Grind meat with ⅜” (10 mm) plate.
  2. Mix meat with all ingredients, including water.
  3. Stuff into 32 - 36 mm hog casings and tie into 5” (12 cm) links.
  4. Hang sausages at room temperature for 1-2 hours to dry OR place for 30 minutes in a pre-heated smokehouse (no smoke applied) at 110-120° F (43-49° C) to dry the surface of the sausages. Keep the vent fully open to facilitate removal of the moisture.
  5. Adjust vent 1/4 open and apply heavy smoke increasing temperature to around 140° F (60° C) until desired color is obtained. This should take about 2 hours.
  6. Increase temperature (a thin smoke is optional) to 176° F ( 80° C) until an internal meat temperature of 154° F (68° C) is reached. This should take about 45-60 minutes.
  7. Shower sausages with cold water.
  8. Keep refrigerated.
Notes
For Sweet Italian Sausage remove hot pepper/cayenne from the recipe
For Hot Italian Sausage add 4 g (2 tsp) cayenne pepper.
Italian spices such as basil, thyme and oregano are often added.
There are recipes where 25% of pork is replaced with beef.
To read more on Italian sausages go to the Code of Federal Regulations, § 319.145

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