Author Topic: Malnati's Sausage revisited  (Read 7621 times)

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Offline loowaters

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Malnati's Sausage revisited
« on: October 27, 2010, 09:47:07 PM »
Well, I think I've made some headway on the Malnati sausage front.  The subject, which seems to come up from time to time, most recently was discussed after the Travel Channel Food Wars with Malnati's and UNO squaring off.  The sausage subject came up here http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,12000.msg112229.html#msg112229

I bought three pounds of 90/10 ground shoulder from my local locker the other day and went searching thru what I've done before and worked well and started there with the basics:  salt, crushed black pepper, and sugar.  I used the numbers from a tdeane recipe found here http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,8452.msg73328.html#msg73328

I followed that recipe regarding the aforementioned basics but using Morton's Kosher salt rather than the Diamond Crystal.

3 lbs.  Ground Pork Shoulder (90/10)
2 1/2 T Morton's Kosher Salt
1 T Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1/2 T Sugar

It's been brought up several times that there's some garlic in that sausage but no fennel (or anise, for that matter) so I had to decide if I wanted to use fresh garlic or garlic powder.  I figure Malnati's, or whomever is making their sausage, would probably use garlic powder for quality control purposes and went that route.  How much garlic powder?  Well, a few years ago I ruined a sausage recipe when I used what I thought was just a little fresh, crushed garlic and it was so overwhelmingly strong that I pitched the other 1 3/4 lbs. I hadn't used yet.  Of course what do I do in this closely monitored venture?  I eyeball the garlic.  I'm an idiot.  It was in the neighborhood of 1/2 t of garlic powder but I don't have a precise amount.  Once I've gone thru this batch, I promise I'll give you an exact amount next time around.

So the whole thing looks like this:


3 lbs.  Ground Pork Shoulder (90/10)
2 1/2 T Morton's Kosher Salt
1 T Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1/2 T Sugar
about 1/2 t Garlic Powder

I combined everything by hand except the garlic powder then sprinkled what I did use of the garlic over the entire mass of seasoned pork and worked that in with my hands. 

Results?  Really quite good, not that homemade bad pork taste.  If I knew it was going to taste as good as it turned out I would've used a more than the 1/4 lb. I used on a 9" Malnati's clone.  I figured if I'm ruining a pizza, I don't want it to be so brutal I can't just pick sausage off.

For those that will argue this isn't an Italian sausage because there's no fennel (or anise), I don't know what to say.  It is what it is?  It's just seasoned ground pork?  OK, but that's what they're doing at Malnati's.  Also, regarding the simplicity of the recipe, think about how simple that dough recipe is.  Why would the sausage recipe be much different, particularly if they do it themselves?  Hopefully this can be a starting point for someone who may get it closer (I'm not claiming perfection here, just a good reproduction) and share their thoughts or even do a side by side.  BTB?  ;)

Loo
Using pizza to expand my waistline since 1969!


Offline Mick.Chicago

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Re: Malnati's Sausage revisited
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2010, 10:45:17 PM »
Thanks for your enduring effort.

I made a sausage pie tonight, didn't taste that far off actually.

It was 'Italian Sausage' but I didn't taste much if any fennel or anise.

The only thing that was obvious was the fat content. It was high, I'd say at least 30 if not more, I'm just going on what I saw after I squeezed it out of the skin.

I just hooked up with a new butcher, he makes me Irish Bacon, but that's another story, he'll also make me any kind of sausage if I hook him up with the recipe.

Thanks again for the insight and the step closer.

I may have to sacrifice some time this weekend and do some research at Lincolnwood *burp* 

Offline jeff v

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Re: Malnati's Sausage revisited
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2010, 11:31:11 PM »
Nice work loo. I think you made Italian sausage, but that's another thread! :P
Do you think the sugar did much?

Jeff
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Offline loowaters

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Re: Malnati's Sausage revisited
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2010, 08:01:37 AM »
Jeff, I do think the sugar was important.  It was the first time I used sugar of any "real" quantity in the formulation.  In the past I'd used a quarter teaspoon and relied on the fennel and some wine to provide the sweetness but after Googling sausage formulations I saw many sweet Italian sausages contained dextrose in larger quantities.  I just substituted with sucrose.  It may be responsible for the reduction of some of the "off" type of taste I referred to as "that bad homemade pork taste".  It's tough to pinpoint it or give it a description but maybe "strong" would be helpful.  Considering the relatively minor changes in the amount of salt and pepper I used in past formulations, I think the sugar played a big part in the reduction of that "off" characteristic.

Loo
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Offline loowaters

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Re: Malnati's Sausage revisited
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2010, 08:20:25 AM »
Another note, this time on texture.  I had the locker grind this for me rather than do that myself, which I have done in the past, to save a bit of time and mess.  I think Malnati's sausage might be a bit coarser grind than the standard (if there is such a thing) that I received as IIRC Malnati's had a bit more chew to it.  I'll see if they can give me a coarser grind next time or I'll grind myself and use the large grind plate for my grinding attachment on my KA mixer.

Loo
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Offline Mick.Chicago

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Re: Malnati's Sausage revisited
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2010, 08:33:46 AM »
Loo.

Are the ingredients not listed on the To Go packaging for the sausage? Or does it simply say (% of natural spices)

Offline loowaters

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Re: Malnati's Sausage revisited
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2010, 08:40:50 AM »
Mick, I haven't seen the packaging of a sausage Lou-to-Go pie in forever and back then I wasn't studying it.  The only cover on the site, that I can find, is a pepperoni pizza.  If you can get more info from that it would be great.  I look a bit too when I have some time.

Loo
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Offline jeff v

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Re: Malnati's Sausage revisited
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2010, 12:22:04 PM »
Another note, this time on texture.  I had the locker grind this for me rather than do that myself, which I have done in the past, to save a bit of time and mess.  I think Malnati's sausage might be a bit coarser grind than the standard (if there is such a thing) that I received as IIRC Malnati's had a bit more chew to it.  I'll see if they can give me a coarser grind next time or I'll grind myself and use the large grind plate for my grinding attachment on my KA mixer.

Loo

Yep, coarser is a big key in texture IMO. I've noticed sausage out West (CA) to be more fine as a general rule than Chicago, and I can't remember about NY. Do you know if it was ground once or twice?
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Offline BTB

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Re: Malnati's Sausage revisited
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2010, 02:33:45 PM »
 
Loo, you have more courage than I have in tackling this subject.  What I mean about that is I don't think it can just be about Malnati's sausage without many people hitting onto all the various sensitive opinions, thoughts, etc. about pizza sausage in general.  "OH, THAT"S NOT ITALIAN SAUSAUGE (of my youth) THAT I KNOW!!!"  To that I say, yeah, happy HS.

This follows up somewhat on the discussion started on at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,7302.0.html
 
Here's my story . . . and I'm sticking to it.  I grew up in the south side of Chicago and came to fall in love with something called pizza "pie" in the late 50's (it was always called "pie").  On one block where I lived, the kids rode on their fancy Schwinn bicycles and spoke Italian.  On the next block, they rode J.C. Higgins bicycles and spoke Polish, and on the next block the kids spoke German, and on the next block spoke, Yiddish, etc.  And in time, we all got together, spoke our broken English, and played 16" softball together.  When talking about 16" softball, does anyone outside the Chicago area know what the hell I am talking about? ? ?  Probably not.
 
Regarding sausage, the prime influence on pizza sausage and sausage in general in the Chicago area were the Italians and the Poles.  When you looked at it closely, one would see that there wasn't that much difference in their sausage formulations; the Poles emphasizing Garlic and the Italians emphasizing other Italian spices, some even with fennel.  Even today, many eating at all the various great pizzerias in Chicago wonder if they're eating a pizza with Italian or Polish sausage.  I -- with a preference on thin crust pizzas for sausage with fennel-- swear that the majority of sausage at Italian pizzerias are with "Polish" style sausage (little to no fennel and more garlic than not).
 
Italian sausage and Polish sausage and Lithuanian sausage -- and others -- all got combined in many respects over time in the Chicago metropolitan area.  Some Italian deli's made their sausage with fennel seed, usually crushed, as opposed to uncrushed, many did NOT use fennel at all (contrary to the experience of many in the NY area).  Most Polish and Lithuanian deli's used various degrees of garlic in their sausage recipes.  But contrary to remarks made herein, whoever said there is no garlic in Italian sausage is . . . whistling Dixie.  The majority of the many, many, many recipes for making Italian sausage have in fact included . . . garlic in its recipe.  Not all recipes to be certain, but many (or maybe even most) include garlic.  Let me know if one needs leads to websites to show this.
 
My sister, when alive, was a great, great sausage maker.  I am not.  For pizza sausage, I think she would advise me to first, ensure the pork shoulder was Coarsely ground, as opposed to be ground like hamburger meat.  She would say that finely ground pork is no where close to great sausage.  Following on Marc Malnati's remarks, I can definitely picture the combination of Italian and Polish and Slavic influence in determining the type of sausage to use on early day "deep dish" pizza in the Chicago area in the era or the 1940's and 50's.  Garlic would have been the predominant influence and not fennel (or anise).  Not for one second am I saying that I don't like fennel or anise spices in my pizza sausage.  Just not in classic Chicago deep dish style pizza.
 
So in looking at many types of formulations, here's what I vaguely remember from my sister on a style of sausage that may be close to a Malnati's style: 
 
3 lbs.  Ground Pork Shoulder (80/20 -- but I do prefer a leaner proportion with good meat)
2 T Morton's Kosher Salt
1 T Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1/2 cup ice cold water
2 cloves garlic, crushed in press (or some powdered equivalent)
1/2 t marjoram
1 to 1/2 t Sugar
Optional additions: 
1/2 t dried thyme
1/4 t dried basil
1/2 t onion powder
1/4 t ground coriander
 
                                                                                            --BTB

Offline loowaters

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Re: Malnati's Sausage revisited
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2010, 03:06:00 PM »
I knew you'd have something for me, BTB, and a nice history of local ethnicities and their sausage making preferences was an excellent lead in to a recipe that I'm going to have to give a try at some point.  I may however stick with the 2 1/2 T of salt as I've made enough different concoctions that I think the 2 1/2 T of Morton's Kosher salt that I used in this experiment was the best amount of salt for the three pound bulk experiment size I've done, but salt is a sensitive and personal thing.  That's 2.5 t per pound of ground pork for anyone who'd like to adjust the bulk size.  Of course, I have about 2 1/2 lbs. of sausage left to go before I tinker again.  I think I'll stick to using garlic powder rather than fresh cloves due to my own mistake years ago that I documented above.  1/8 t garlic powder will represent a medium clove of garlic.  It's possible that I overestimated how much garlic powder I used when describing it in the OP.  I'm still feeling shame for my stupidity in eyeballing the garlic powder.

In fairness, this is a rather cheap experiment as the three pounds of ground pork cost me all of $5.23...so I'll do this again, and again, and again...probably never making the same recipe twice.

Loo

PS - I'm quite familiar with 16" softball. :)
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Offline mrmojo1

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Re: Malnati's Sausage revisited
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2010, 09:17:09 PM »
Awesome thread Loo and great info gang! i too made my own sausage after watching the same episode for a giardanos clone, i followed what i saw once on a food network show of an italian sausage maker in new york, he used salt and pepper and that was it.  the host was in disbelief...so it stuck in my head, watching the showdown show which confirmed for me the elimination of fennel (or anise) i didnt think about sugar or garlic,  it wasnt perfect, but it did remind me of some places in chicago also garcias sausage from champagne.  but i am going to try both yours and BTB's insights!  but i have to wait a few days, i got a jammed finger from catching a clincher softball.....just kidding.  but yeah! i loved softball in chicago growing up...there was nothing soft about those new clinchers!  anyhow if you ask your butcher i think you can ask for a chili grind instead of a hamburger which might be what you are lookign for. have him show it to you first to make sure im not off.  thanks gang!

Offline BTB

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Re: Malnati's Sausage revisited
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2010, 08:43:43 AM »

Offline Mick.Chicago

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Re: Malnati's Sausage revisited
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2010, 05:50:36 PM »
I'm sat in Lous as I type, I took a picture of the sauage ingredients and it wasn't helpfullit simply said. And Spices.     I am sat about three feet away from a huge stack of pans though, tempting to run out with one.

Offline BTB

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Re: Malnati's Sausage revisited
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2010, 08:31:00 AM »
Another good article on sausage making, entitled "Top This: Mark Bello's Pizza (a Casa) Sausage," at http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2010/12/italian-fennel-sausage-for-pizza-recipe.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+feedmeaslice+%28Slice%29 . Some day I may have to get into it.
                                                                                    --BTB

Offline Mitch24018

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Re: Malnati's Sausage revisited
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2010, 08:01:11 PM »
For south east Chicago (Chicago Heights) style sausage, similar to Loo's recipe I would do 10 LBS of pork shoulder ground through a 3/8 inch plate for your course grind, 6 TBLS of Kosher salt 4 TBLS of course ground black pepper. Dextrose or sugar is mainly used is for a browning effect similar to breakfast sausage but if you like the taste go for it. If you want fennel add fennel I would do 3 TBLS.

« Last Edit: December 31, 2010, 08:02:48 PM by Mitch24018 »

Offline BTB

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Re: Malnati's Sausage revisited
« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2011, 09:47:15 AM »
Yet another good article on making sausage and putting it "uncooked" on pizzas. 

The Pizza Lab: Sausages And the Science of Salt

http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2011/09/the-pizza-lab-why-does-sausage-need-to-be-salty.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+feedmeaslice+%28Slice%29

And for Chicago Deep Dish enthusiasts, remember that Lou Malnati's does NOT add fennel to their sausage and actually, the original Uno's/Due's did not either, but the new Boston Group owners apparently have.

                                                                       --BTB

Offline Coletrain

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Re: Malnati's Sausage revisited
« Reply #16 on: October 23, 2011, 10:55:42 AM »
I see you calling for 90-10 pork shoulder.  That is one of the fattiest cuts of pork.  One of the reasons why it smokes so well.  I would think a LOT of trimming would be necessary for that amount..... Have you ever tried a leaner cut say a boneless sirloin that you can find at a reasonable price?  I know my meat

Offline thezaman

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Re: Malnati's Sausage revisited
« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2011, 01:50:02 AM »
back when i wanted to make deep dish for my restaurant a chicago pizzeria owner said that fontinini sausage code tos was what i needed to order, their website has the tos  flavor profile http://www.fontanini.com/food-services/raw-bulk/raw-bulk-italian-sausage

Offline loowaters

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Re: Malnati's Sausage revisited
« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2011, 09:49:38 PM »
Hmmmm.  Thanks, zaman, that's a good find.

Loo
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Offline lavid

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Re: Malnati's Sausage revisited
« Reply #19 on: January 30, 2012, 01:38:28 PM »
For south east Chicago (Chicago Heights) style sausage, similar to Loo's recipe I would do 10 LBS of pork shoulder ground through a 3/8 inch plate for your course grind, 6 TBLS of Kosher salt 4 TBLS of course ground black pepper. Dextrose or sugar is mainly used is for a browning effect similar to breakfast sausage but if you like the taste go for it. If you want fennel add fennel I would do 3 TBLS.



I tried a 3/8" plate grind and found it to be way too coarse. There's no way Lou's uses that, but I can't speak to Chicago Heights. A 1/4" grind is still considered coarse but cooks better and has a better texture when eaten.


 

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