Mortadella: 'Fancy' Italian Bologna

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Smoking Fanatic
Original poster
May 3, 2011
Northern California
Here’s a go at making a five-pound batch of Mortadella. My wife loves this stuff, and so after recently make 10-pound of bologna, she asked me to try my skills at making some traditional mortadella

For those unfamiliar with this Italian delicacy, mortadella is a firm, emulsified pork & beef product with visible bits of high-grade white pork fat. Often it also contains black peppercorns and pistachios. Good mortadella is slightly spicy (not hot) with a distinct ‘good bologna’ aroma, and a pleasantly smooth texture. Unlike it’s distant cousin, bologna, mortadella is usually very thinly sliced & served as is—no frying. It makes a great sandwich or simply eaten by itself.

First we need to start with some good meat. — 2 to 1, pork to beef ratio. I’m using a fairly-lean beef chuck and pork loin, with a bit of pork shoulder I had :


Very important to this recipe is the addition of pork back fat. Belly fat is considered not ideal due its softness and ease of rendering, so I was able to pick up a thick slab of the back fat from a local carnicería. I cut a half-pound into ¼” cubes.

Ratio of meat to fat for this mortadella is 80-85% lean/15-20% fat—so in fact the end result will actually be much leaner than the vast majority of store-bought lunchmeats. Traditionally, mortadella is 70/30 lean to fat; so I’ve trimmed the fat down just a bit.


Here are the list of ingredients I’ll be adding to the ground meat. Although this product is not smoked, the cure adds the traditional color & texture to the final results. The whole peppercorns and whole pistachios (locally-grown!) will be added, along with the fat cubes, prior to stuffing.


Grind Number One: 4.5mm medium grind to start. I’ll next add the majority of spices:


MIX: Using my Kirby Bucket mixer; meat in and spices added…


Less than a minute later, the meat is well-mixed and ready for a second grind:


2nd GRIND: Using a 3.0mm plate for a fine grind.


Final mix: Adding the last ‘whole’ ingredients to the meat paste- the whole peppercorns, the pistachios, and the fat. I’ll mix this in and let it rest overnight.


Going to do some stuffing next.

More to come….

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Wow what a great post and man is that going to be tasty !!! 
Dang nice looking start to some fine sausage. looking forward to the finish Q-view.

  I think I'll wait a day or two before posting my feeble attempt at some longanuiza
Nice day outside today so I brought the Kirby cannon outside to make quick work on this single chub.

Meat-cannon loaded & ready to go:


Using the largest feed tube (41mm). This particular Kirby cannon will hold about 12 pounds packed, so its only about half-full.


Minutes later, the chub is done.

The "Mini Mort"... 


Next step is to get water up to 165 degrees and add the mini mort.

I expect this slow-poach will probably take a good 3 hours to reach the desired IT of 155 degrees.


Once it reaches the IT, next is a quick ice-bath. The chub will then rest for a day or so in the fridge before being sliced.

More to come....

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lookin good Kevin, I wussed out on the pistachios, that just didn't sound good to me, having never tried mortadella b4 I didn't wanna make a big batch of meat I wouldn't like, I have nevver even seen mortadella around here, or I would buy a lil bit to try with pistachios....LOL
Looks awesome...Good Mortadella is a treat...Now seek out the remaining ingredients for a Muffaletta...Heaven!...JJ
After resting overnight, the mini mort is ready to be sliced...


Upon slicing it, I was pleasantly surprised to find a good distribution of all the whole ingredients in the chub. The flavor and texture were great. Thinly sliced, it has a nice somewhat mild flavor with a kick of heat from the peppercorn. Nice crunch from the pistachios, too. My wife said it was quite delicious, and since she's the 'mortadella connoisseur' around here, I'll take that as a success! 



Got a portion put in ziploc bags for the fridge, and the rest I'll keep in foodsaver bags that'll keep for quite some time.


Best eaten freshly sliced with some olives, cheese & crusty bread! Good stuff!

-  Kevin
That mortadella looks awesome!  I've never seen it with the pistachios, but sounds good.  My wife is Italian and loves the stuff so I guess she won't mind if I make a batch.
Wow Kevin, those sliced views are out of the park. awesome

What casings are you using? protein lined? When I probe them the water ends up under the casing and separates it from the meat, yours look perfect
The last three posts for Sausage making were really great. Is there a place in this great form where these recipes are posted for everyone to enjoy and try? The pictures on this Mortadella are great,but I would like exact measurements like the previous recipe provided . The more I view this frum the more i like it!!!! This is a great learning tool. Thank you!! mds51

Yes your mortadella looks awesome if I liked it I would want a sammie.
Here's the recipe I used on this Mort. Makes approx. five pounds.


INGREDIENT             METRIC      U.S.

Pork Butt/Shoulder       1150g      2.5 lbs

Beef                              525g    1.25 lbs

Pork Fat                        225g      0.5 lbs 

Non-Fat Dry Milk              60g      2 Tbls

Corn Syrup solids             47g      2 Tbls

Coriander; ground             5.0g     2.0 tsp

Mace; ground                  1.5g      0.5 tsp

White Pepper; ground       4.5g     1.5 tsp

Garlic powder                   5.0g     2.0 tsp

Paprika                            2.0g    1.0 tsp

Kosher Salt                       35g

Allspice                           1.0g 

Cure#1***                        1.8g    .25 tsp

Black pepper; whole           4.0g   1.0 tsp

Pistachio Nuts                    60g  1/2 cup

NOTE: ***Cure amount is on the low side in this recipe. Cure is added for texture and color ONLY.

This sausage is meant to be cooked thoroughly at a higher temp (165°), NOT smoked.

If one wishes to smoke it, the cure amount needs to be adjusted per meat weight in the proper proportion (1 level teaspoon of cure should be used for every 5 lbs. of meat)

• Divide pork fat into two groups. Cut one group into 1/4” dice.

  Chill & set aside for later.

• Grind chilled meat & 1/2 of fat through medium plate.

• Add salt & cure, mix well then refrigerate for several hours to allow meat to cure.

• Add remainder of spices (except whole peppercorns) to meat & blend thoroughly.

• Regrind through smaller plate (3.0mm); adding 1/2 cup of ice water if necessary

• Add in cubed fat, peppercorns and pistachios; mixing well to disperse ingredients 

  in the meat paste.

• Stuff into fibrous casing.

• Poach  in 165° water until IT of 155° is reached.

• Ice-bath to cool down.

Chill very well before slicing thin. serve.

- Kevin
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Thank you for posting the exact ingredients This recipe looks great and the pistachios make the sausage just like the real deal. Your pictures really add to the entire post being a great learning tool for those of us that wnat to give this recipe a try. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.