DIY Italian Sausage Seasoning Mix
Each year I look forward to butchering day with both anticipation and dread. We always do our very best to extend our prized Italian sausage until the next year’s butchering, but it’s not easy. Around here, we LOVE sausage and we tend to eat it all up just about as fast as you can possible imagine.
One year we ran out of sausage in JULY!!! ACK! It was a long, sad wait for butchering day that year. Every year since we’ve made sure to butcher 2 whole hogs for our family of 6!
So yes, we look forward to filling that freezer with home-grown ham, bacon, and SAUSAGE!!!! We look forward to an entire day of chatting and laughing with some of our favorite friends.
But there is a downside…
It’s just so c-c-c-cold.
You see, you can’t butcher a hog in warm weather. That would never do. So we wait for the cold. Sometimes, because life is busy, we wait till it’s REALLY cold. By the end of the day I can no longer feel my fingers or toes, my nose is running down my face and my lips are chapped. When I close my eyes, all I see are piles, and piles, and piles of ground pork.
By the time we finally roll into the driveway we’ve got hundreds of pounds of meat to unload, brine, smoke, and pack into freezers. It’s a FULL day. So. Thoroughly. Exhausting.
And I don’t even have to do the really hard part! I’m just there to package meat. … Actually, let’s just keep all this complaining between us, okay? Might not be good if those hard-working husbands caught wind of it.
Anyway, the very LAST thing I would ever think of doing is to add another task to this already-packed day. So while, other people might season their ground pork before smushing it into packages ~ We do not. We are tired.
That’s why I keep a jar of diy Italian sausage seasoning mix in the pantry. It’s ever so much easier for me to measure out a spoonful of seasoning mix onto our ground pork as I’m cooking than it would be to pre-make a bucket-full to mix into 200 lbs of ground sausage with my poor, frozen fingers on butchering day. I have a feeling that might actually do me in for real.
And this seasoning mix is AWESOME. It turns regular ground pork into the most amazing, spicy/sweet Italian sausage. Mmmm… I can smell those caramelized bits just thinking about it!
DIY Italian Sausage Seasoning Mix
3/4 cup (REAL) salt
1/4 cup sucanat (or your choice of natural, unprocessed sugar)
2 tablespoons cracked fennel seed
5 teaspoons paprika
5 teaspoons black pepper
5 teaspoons cayenne pepper
5 teaspoons (granulated) garlic powder
5 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon basil
We keep a separate coffee grinder for grinding spices. For this recipe, I put whole fennel seed into the grinder for a very short spin, just enough to crack most of the seeds apart. This will release the flavor of the seeds. Don’t skip this step! If you don’t have a grinder, you can simply chop the seeds with a large knife, just be careful not to make a mess.
Measure all ingredients into a pint (16oz) jar.
Stir well and shake.
Keep the tightly closed jar (or other air-tight container) in the pantry.
Use approximately 2 teaspoons seasoning mix for each pound of ground pork.
Our diy Italian sausage seasoning recipe has been modified and adapted from The Complete Book of Butchering, Smoking, Curing, and Sausage Making by Philip Hasheider. This book has everything you need to get started on your very own butchering day!
What? You’re not so interested in butchering your own hog? Did I not make it sound like lots of fun?
No worries! Next time you do your shopping just ask for unseasoned ground pork (preferably pastured) and mix up a jar of seasoning yourself. You’ll save your family all the chemicals, preservatives, anti-caking ingredients, and MSG found in most Italian sausage – and it’ll taste so much better!
We LOVE this Italian sausage with red bell peppers, greens, and mushrooms on our Friday Night Pizza.
What’s your favorite sausage dinner? Do you add it to pasta? Potatoes?
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