Italian Sausage: Penzey vs. derryX – 1 (Construction)

Since I’ve been experimenting with making different types of sausages since Cassie bought me a crazy, amazing meat grinder. The book I have has been inspiring me to tweak the recipe for Italian sausage and make my own. When Penzey’s Spices opened back in March, and it was the greatest thing ever to come to the Capital Region since Shop Rite, I stopped in because of a coupon I had for a box of spices. In order to get the box, I had to spend $5. For $3.50, I got a small jar of Italian Sausage Seasoning.

I’ve been intending to do my recipe versus their recipe (from the label) for a while. Because this was a fairly large undertaking, I called my go-to butcher shop, Falvo Meats, and ordered a pork shoulder. The owner recognized me from all of the things I write about his place. We chatted about the great things he sells and laughed a little, but I had to cut it short because I had a lot of sausage to make.

What I wanted to do was use meat from the same shoulder for both recipes. The Penzey recipe was easy, one tablespoon of seasoning per pound of meat. That’s it.

I was going for three pounds of sausage for this recipe. So, I sliced up the shoulder.

And I ground it up.

After weighing out three pounds of meat, I sprinkled the spice over the ground meat.

Then I mixed the seasoning into the meat with my fingertips for about a minute. It became gluey pretty quickly.

For the rest of the 8.5 pound shoulder (about 5.5 pounds), I used the following blend of spiced:

  • 4 tablespoons of Anise Seed (not fennel)
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh minced garlic
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of red pepper flakes
  • 8 teaspoons of kosher salt
  • 4 teaspoons of ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper

I mixed the dry spices together in a big bowl.

I added the remaining meat to the bowl and sprinkled the fresh garlic over the top. I added about half of a cup of water and four tablespoons of Ouzo (Anise flavored alcohol – Sambuca would have been way too sweet).

After incorporating everything, I had two bowls of seasoned sausage.

At this stage, I always check for seasoning. No, I don’t eat raw pork. I fry up a small tasting patty.

Left - Penzey's, Right - derryX

The seasoning was perfect in both, but I never make my judgement on sausage until it gets a chance to cure in the fridge for at least a day.

So then I stuffed each sausage into medium hog casings.

Penzey's Sausage
derryX Sausage

I allocated about a pound of each for official judging, and then froze the rest after curing for a day.

Left - Penzey's, Right - derryX's

In order to assess which recipe I prefer, I thought the best way was to prepare both in a traditional, Brooklyn-style sausage and peppers (pronounced: sassidge and peppiz). So that’s exactly what I did…

(Coming soon)


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