First Summer Sausage Made!

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by jsk53, Feb 25, 2014.

  1. jsk53

    jsk53 Smoke Blower

    Mission accomplished….my first summer sausage batch is completed! I want to thank everyone on the forum that answered my unending first timer questions which really helped make this a fun effort. As promised, here’s how it went.

    Not being sure of what spices or recipes are close to our taste in summer sausage, I ended up using a spice mix from Excalibur. I believe it was the H Summer mix. I also decided, with input from the forum, to use 80/20 ground chuck instead of grinding my own beef. I am looking forward to putting the old Universal grinder to work one of these times as I got a number of new plates for it.

    I mixed up the spices and Sure Cure using the proportions recommended by Excalibur into ¼ cup of cold water and then mixed in with the ground chuck. 

    I wasn’t sure whether to cure the mixture overnight in a covered bowl, or stuff it first and let the stuffed sausages cure overnight, ready to go. After more questions to the forum, I ended up letting the beef cure in a covered bowl in the fridge.

    The next morning after at least 20 hours curing, I soaked the fibrous casings I got in water for about 30 minutes, prepared the smoker (MES30), and got the stuffer out. After a number of tries figuring out the best way to secure the stuffer (can’t use the wife’s granite countertop!), I started stuffing the 5 pounds of meat into 12” 2 ½ casings. The stuffing went fairly well except my first one I overstuffed and didn’t have enough end to twist. Getting that resolved, and fumbling with the hog ring pliers I got (which ended up being a ring size too big) I got them done. Worked out to 4 sausages and a little left over. I saw a post on the forum where a guy just wraps the mixture with cheese cloth and bakes for 4 hours. Might try that with the leftover.

    The next decision was whether to hang the sausages at room temp for a couple hours or put them in the smoker at 120° without smoke for an hour. Both ways have been presented on the forum. I chose to put them in the smoker.

    After an hour at 120°, I brought the temp of the smoker up to 150° and got the AMNPS fired up. The one issue I continue to fight is getting the AMNPS to stay lit even with the MES chip loader removed but that’s another story!

    As I’ve seen on a number of posts, I brought the temp up to 170° over the next hour or two and continued to work on keeping the smoke up. It took a while, longer than I had expected for some reason, but I kept the smoker going until the summer sausages got to an IT of 153°. I’ve seen anywhere from 150° to 155° IT so I split the difference. I immediately put the sausages in ice water and brought the IT down to 100° which took about 30 minutes. The casings looked just a bit wrinkly but not bad. I’ve seen store bought summer sausage look worse.

    Once at the 100° mark, I dried the sausages and hung them at room temp for about 2 ½ hours.  I was happy to see that after the blooming period, the casings smoothed out and the sausages looked and felt like I thought they should.

    At that point, I put them in the fridge and finally got to bed. This morning, I couldn’t wait so I took one and sliced it up.  The moment of truth and I was really happy to see the perfect color and firmness.

    The casing came off the sausage cleanly and my first taste told me I had succeeded!!

    While the flavor was very good, it was a bit too salty for my taste and missing the tangy flavor I’m used to from the summer sausage I got in Wisconsin…The smoke flavor was just about right on. I like my summer sausage a little courser, so I think my next try I’m gonna grind my own beef, once I figure out the best cut to use. I think I may look at more recipes for spices here on the forum as well to see what might be a bit closer to what I’m used to.

    Bottom line, I’m very happy with my first effort with many more to come!
  2. bigwheel

    bigwheel Smoking Fanatic

    Looking mighty good. Fine job!
  3. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Great job! I know what you mean about that tang flavor. There are a quite a few posts on ECA, Bactoferm and other cultures. You really did good getting them cooked perfectly, it not easy.
  4. driedstick

    driedstick Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Those look great very nice job ------- I want some!!! [​IMG]
  5. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Terrific looking sausage. Kudos!

    The first batch is never exactly the way you want them. Keep adjusting and it will get closer and closer. The best part, you get great summer sausage with every batch!

  6. darwin101

    darwin101 Meat Mopper

    They looks very nice to me  [​IMG]
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2014
  7. jsk53

    jsk53 Smoke Blower

    Thanks all for the encouragement! I mentioned it didn't have the tang I was looking for and Woodcutter mentioned Bactofirm, ECA and I've seen a number of posts using Fermento. I also read about using fermento in Rytek's book. I thought I would give the fermento a try as it doesn't take the long fermentation period bactofirm apparently takes and I like the idea of the product being mixed into the spice/cure package with the meat. 

    My new question is how much fermento to use? Any suggestions for another 5 pound batch of summer sausage? Perhaps I might just do a 2 pound batch just to see what the differences might be. I might also look for a different spice recipe as I think the Excalibur H is a bit to heavy on the garlic or onion salt. Thinking out loud though, I may be better off using the same mix I did for this first batch and adding the fermento as a direct comparison. 

    Sorry for rambling but I'm really enjoying learning this! Thanks.
  8. Good looking sausage, nice job !
  9. Nice looking sausage. It has very nice color. I did 2# batches sometimes a few batches at a time to get the flavor I like. I now make 10# or larger batches.

    Happy smoken.

  10. reinhard

    reinhard Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Congratulations on a great job on your first step into this addiction!! If you want to try another recipe, do a search on here.  Plenty of great ideas there.  Otherwise try places like Curley's Sausage Kitchen [which i use] or Owen's BBQ and more on-line.  This way you will have your seasoning and can tweek it more if you so choose.  Reinhard
  11. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    If I were you, I would google some of the different cultures and ECA. Most web pages have very good explanations of what each product will do. It is interesting.
  12. jsk53

    jsk53 Smoke Blower

    Good thought. I did that this morning and found the conventional wisdom was 1 oz fermento to 2 lbs of meat. Then I thought to look at the summer sausage recipes in Rytek's book, which I should have thought of earlier, and now I'm confused. According to his recipes, it calls for 1 1/2 cups fermento to 10 lbs of meat. In my math, that works out to 12 oz for 10 lbs or a little over 2 oz  to 2 lbs of meat. Hmmm.
  13. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Last year, I tried Bactoferm FLC and it had some fermenting flavor to it. This year I made 1 batch of Curley's with nothing added except cheese. This last batch I made last week end I used Non fat powdered milk and I think it was the closest so far to the flavor I'm looking for. I have some cultured buttermilk I would like to try next. That is what makes this sport so fun!
  14. jsk53

    jsk53 Smoke Blower

    I think my second batch, probably next week, will use Rytek's Sheboygan Summer Sausage recipe. I have a bottle of Fermento I ordered from Sausage Maker when I ordered Cure#1. Might as well try it and see if it adds any of the tang I'm looking for. Looking at Rytek's recipe, the spices look pretty close to what I think I'm used to in a Wisconsin summer sausage. That will also give me a baseline to start tweaking which so many on the forum suggest as the best way to find the "perfect" recipe...Also in that recipe, he uses powdered dextrose and corn syrup solids...not sure what they do, but I ordered some to see. I will definitely post the results. I think I'm hooked!!

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