There are many varitations and some are regional. Most farmers sausages were spiced, but not terribly spicy. The following recipe has been in my family and used for pork breakfast sausage for almost 100 years:
6 Lbs. Lean Ground Pork
2 Lbs. Ground Fat Back
2&2/3 Tablespoons full Salt (not Iodized, please)
1&1/2 Tablespoons full ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon full ground Sage
1/2 teaspoon full Cayenne Pepper
Grind the meat and fat, keeping things as cold as possible, through a coarse plate. Mix the spices separately, well, and then mix into the meat and fat well. Place in frig over night. Take out in the morning and regrind through as fine a plate as desired, remixing well. Serve as patties, or:
If one were to stuff this into casings, a little water to loosen it up would be good and the spices could be mixed into the water before the water was applied
The above recipe is not too much different that one espoused on "Good Eats" some time ago.
Another recipe that has been in the family for a long time is as follows:
7 Lbs. of ground pork (70/30% to 75/25% as desired, but not too lean, as it will ruin the sausage if it is too lean). Besides, one needs some fat remaining with which to make gravy for biscuits and gravy.
8 teaspoons full of plain salt.
4 teaspoons full of ground black pepper
2 teaspoons full of sage.
Grind and mix according to your preferences.
The recipes are fairly sedate, but good eating.