Hillbilly , Welcome to the forum. After your narrative, I expected a mess , Very pleased however at the pics of your pie.
I have this past year been making my own sausage as well. Do you mind sharing the recipe for the Italian sausage that you found?
Keep up the good work, your pizza will improve and ... well, if your wife already likes it the way it is
I guess my wife is not a Pizza connoisseur but then neither am I. As long as she likes it, all is good.
Here is the recipe I found for the Italian Sausage. It is surprisingly simple and I think it is perfect ..... but we all have different tastes. You may want to adjust the seasonings to your preference.
10 Lbs of pork butt coarsely ground and chilled (I used a med plate on the grinder)
2 oz of fennel seed ground up in a mortar and pestle
4 oz oz of sea salt ground fine
2 oz of crushed red pepper
hand mix the spices in to the ground pork and either stuff into casings or make patties. I made patties, froze them and then vac sealed the frozen patties.
I partially cooked the sausage before adding it to the pizza but given how long it took to cook the pizza in my BBQ I could have used the sausage raw.