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Apr 20, 2010 06:54 PM

Cudighi (aka Yooper Sausage)

I live in Memphis, TN and have been eating the same unique Italian sausage my entire life. There is only one place left in town to buy it. It's made without fennel and has a very distinctive taste because it's made with red wine, cinnamon, nutmeg, and some other spices.

While doing some research on the internet I came across cudighi and read about its prevalence in the UP. This must be the same recipe. From what I can tell the original recipe came from Northern Italy. As far as I can tell, Memphis and the UP are the only places in the US where this specific sausage is made.

Does anyone know anything more about this unique and delicious Italian sausage?

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  1. Hi Ross,

    I'm a professor at Northern Michigan University, which is in the heart of the Cudighi belt of the U.P. It's found at most of the local italian restaurants here, and pizza shops as well. Many local cudighi recipes (but not all) incorporate venison, which is certainly easy to find around here as well!

    Vango's - which is actually a Greek restaurant - is one example of a restaurant with cudighi on its menu.

    My colleague Russell Magnaghi is probably the biggest cudighi expert - he's head of the Center of Upper Peninsula Studies here. If you would like to know where, I suggest that you give him a call: 906-227-2514,

    1 Reply
    1. re: yooperprof

      We're traveling in the UP from Tomahawk, WI stopped in Municing at Bob's Family Foods it's an IGA and we stop there every time we are up here and got homemade Cudighi brats. They were really good. Asked the clerk checking us out what cudighi was and I'm not sure he knew but said it's in a lot of stuff here! LOL!

    2. It's all over the central UP, often served sliced thin in a baked sandwich with tomato sauce. Always have one when I'm in the area.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Jim M

        I've lived in the U.p. for 7 years and never saw it served thinly sliced - this is how I know it to be served:

        If it's on wikipedia, it's got to be true! LOL ....the only way I have seen it served is in patty form...sort of like breakfast sausage, on what we in Michigan would call a sub roll with tomato sauce on it. I have also seen it used as the meat crumbled up and cooked into spaghetti sauce. BTW Jim, I think you live in Ann Arbor; Bob Sparrow occasionally has it at his meat market. There's a spaghetti sauce called Baroni that you can only get in the U.P. that is similarly spiced as cudhigi...I've never seen it on the shelves down here, though.

        1. re: momskitchen

          Oh, wow, I'll have to go to Sparrow! I never noticed it there. Yes, thinly sliced was a poor choice of words. I've had it as a long patty on a sub roll.

      2. BTW, I found this recipe online, and from the looks of the ingredient list, it seems authentic to me...especially the cinnamon/allspice/nutmeg. That's what makes it unique.

        6 lb. pork butt
        2 T. salt
        1 tsp. pepper
        1/2 tsp. cinnamon
        1/2 tsp. nutmeg
        1/2 tsp. allspice
        1/2 to 1 C. dry red wine
        6 garlic cloves
        1 cinnamon stick
        1 clove

        Have the pork coarse ground and DO NOT have fat trimmed (you want about 25% fat). Put through the meat grinder TWICE.

        Mix the following ingredients together: salt, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Work into ground pork with your hands.

        Combine wine, cinnamon sticks, garlic and cloves. Boil this mixture for 5 minutes and let completely cool.

        Strain this mixture, reserving the liquid and work the liquid into the meat.

        Let meat season in refrigerator for 2-3 days.

        Some serving suggestions
        You can make this into links or leave in bulk. We use it in all of our Italian cooking…lasagna, pizza, etc. You can also serve this as a sandwich, either grilled or pan fried

        1. my parents used to own a pizzaria in gwinn michigan called the pizza machine.....where i promise you iwll find the best cudighi around.....make sure when you make this recipe you use a good red wine....marsala is usually okay

          1. I remember they used to serve Cudighi in the Cafeteria when I went to NMU. I'm making a trip up there in a couple of weeks and I might try to find a place that serves it. It might be Vangos but first I want to get one of there Steak Sandwiches.