Smoking fresh venison sausage ?

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by bearcarver, Oct 23, 2009.

  1. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    OK guys and gals----don't laugh at this question:

    I know when making sausage the curing agents are mixed with the meat, but I was just thinking. I have a bunch of packages of Venison/beef/pork fresh sausage in the freezer (see pic below). It tastes alright, but I LOVE smoked sausage. Would it be possible to thaw a few of them out, and treat them like you were making bacon?
    Like maybe cutting them into lengths, dry curing or brining them for the proper time, and smoking them like pork loin into Canadian Bacon?

    Any of you ever do anything like that?
    Does it sound possible?
    Any suggestions?
    Or is this a dumb idea?
    I just love smoked sausage so much more than fresh!


    I don't know what the mix is, but the biggest percentage is Venison:
  2. meat hunter

    meat hunter Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Well anything is possible, but would it be practical. Did you make that yourself? If so, then I would try doing what you want with a different batch. It just seems like it would be more trouble than its worth, but that's just my opinion. I know what you mean by liking smoked better than fresh, and probably 80% of the sausage I make is smoked. I suppose you could just let them sit in a cure mixture overnight like you would when doing jerky and then smoke like normal, yeah, I think that would work. How much of it do you have? If you wanna try that and need a ratio to weight, pm me and I'll get it to you.
  3. target

    target Fire Starter

    If you made that with a prepacked sausage mix (ex. Hi-mountain) most of them will already contain cure. If not I would think the best bet would be to removing casing and mix cure into already seasoned meat.

    I would think that would be more hassle then its worth. I would eat that sausage as is, possibly just cook in smoker. Next batch (deer season is upon us) try a seasoning or recipe containing cure and smoke away.
  4. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Ok, I understand where you guys are coming from, BUT:

    My son got these made (by a butcher), because he thought it was so great---I didn't---I thought it was just so-so. So now it's not getting consumed very fast, since he must have realized I was right. There must be about a dozen packs of it yet. I don't think it would be that much trouble if it would work. It's only about 1 3/8" thick, so I was figuring
    1 TBS of TQ and some other seasonings per pound in each bag, at 37/38 degrees for about 6 days. Then smoke it from 120* to 220* over 6 or 7 hours, finishing to an internal 160*. I guess I'd have to cut it apart into lengths, because pieces aren't supposed to touch each other in the smoker.

    Does any of that sound like it would work?
    Any better ways, let me know.

    I'm PA Dutch, and don't like to throw food away (especially meat), and this stuff is very boring to eat the way it is. I even left it go, eating other things, because I thought the kid (40 years old) liked it so much. Now I noticed it's the only thing left from those two deer in that freezer.

    BTW: In case anyone wonders, I've eaten two year old deer meat already, and it was fine. This stuff is less than one year old. We keep that freezer at about -10*.
  5. hog warden

    hog warden Smoking Fanatic

    When you cook it.....does it turn gray or does it turn pinkish as if it had been smoked? If the latter, it probably has cure in it and you could smoke it. Might be a good idea to ask the guy who did it if he included cure.

    If not, and you were serious about this, you could split the cases open, mix in the cure, restuff and then smoke.
  6. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Like I said, it is currently boring "fresh" sausage----NO cure.
  7. meat hunter

    meat hunter Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Well, take a pack or 2 and give what you mentioned about using the tender quick a try, see how it turns out. Now that I think about it, I really can't see why it would not work. If you do it, take some pics of the process so we can see how things turn out.
  8. walle

    walle Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    BearCarver, this may be more trouble that it's worth to you, but here goes.
    We have made a similiar looking sausage in my family for as long as I can remember - recipe come across on the boat with my great grandmother from Ccecheslovokia(sp). Meat is pork/beef (40%), Deer/Elk (60%). Story is, the other parts used to be lamb, but lamb was hard to find in Western Colorado in the early 1900's!

    Our sausage is also "plain", BUT we cold smoke it using the following method and you would not believe the difference in taste and how much longer it will keep in the freezer. Our recipe is pretty salty, so we normally boil it for 20 min, slice and eat, or boil for 10 and grill/finish on the smoker - like a braut:

    In the same old metal five gallon bucket with the bendable tabs to hold the lid on (holes in the bottom and top),
    Two pieces of crumpled news paper,
    One row of dried corn cobs
    Rest of bucket filled with clipped green apple shoots (we butcher in the fall, so these are readily available from the orchard).
    Light the paper with a weed burner from the bottom, which in turn lights the corn cobbs, which will smulder the green apple for hours. We let it set in the smoke house for 24 hours, then roll up and freeze like your package.

    Like I said, may be more hassle than it's worth to thaw, smoke, refreeze for you, but if you happen on a fresh batch, you might give it a try.

  9. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks MH,

    That's probably what I'll do, unless somebody posts a better idea, or yells "STOP---that's not safe! "
    My main concern, since I am a rookie, is would I use the same ratio as I did with my Belly Bacon & Canadian Bacon (1 TBS per pound).
    I'm also wondering if it wouldn't be better to wet brine it, because it might be hard to rub TQ on sausages evenly.

    If I wet brined it, what would be the recipe for a wet brine (using TQ) that would be equal to a dry brine of 1 TBS of TQ per pound? So far, I never wet brined with TQ.

    Any other ideas out there?

  10. dforbes

    dforbes Meat Mopper

    maybe I'm missing something, but what would be wrong with smoking a package at 210 to 225 when you are ready to eat it. just smoke as much as you want, put leftovers in the fridge, heat it up and eat in a few days. seems lot a lot less work with no saftey concerns.

  11. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That would just be cooked with smoke, not cured and smoked, and it would not be safe to smoke at low temps for a long time without curing it first.

  12. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    bearcarver -

    if you're looking to cure and smoke. it looks like you've got the right idea with the tenderquik as per the instructions on the package - the only thing i would add is that i think 6 days would be unnecessary - 24 hours, 48 tops, should be plenty. i've made sausage before (bologna style) and 24 hours was plenty to cure the meat all the way through. if you want to leave the meat in the casings and cure, then more time might be required.

    if it were me, i would probably do what dforbes proposes, just at a higher temperature (smoke cooking rather than smoking). in other words, light up the smoker, throw on a coil or two (frozen) and let it cook, then serve. i've done this before with frozen, uncured sausage and it has worked just fine, but i am usually doing it at temps of around 250 degrees. double-check with rivet, as he is a food safety guru, but there should be no problems with this.
  13. meat hunter

    meat hunter Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Typically, when smoking sausage, you do so at a lower temp, 160-165. When smoking at such a low temp, the meat stays in the danger zone longer than one would want, between 40-140 degrees, giving bacteria a chance to form and multiply. The use of a curing agent takes care of that problem. Now if you were to go with a higher temp, like you suggested, you could do it, but starting with such a small amount of meat, mass wise, the sausage would just cook and not really take on any smoky taste. Basically just cooked, like doing it in the oven.
  14. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks for your reply TasunkaWitko,
    As for your second half comment, I think "dforbes" method would be great for cooking it, but I want to turn it into "Smoked Sausage".

    The first part of your comment is the kind of thing I'm looking for. I figured like bacon----If it was 1 1/2" thick, the formula for dry curing would be Half of the thickness = 3/4" divided by 1/4 = 3 days. Then they tell me to add two days to that, which would bring me to 5 days. Then I add 1 day to be safe. That's the way I was told to do & did both of my bacon curings.
    Is there a different formula for length of time for sausage?
    I could see it maybe being less because the cure would be moving to the center for a short distance from all sides, not only from two sides like a loin or belly.
    And yes, would it be longer curing through the very thin edible casing?
    These are the questions I have too.

    So far the only thing steering me from my original plan is your saying maybe a shorter length of time curing.

    Any other suggestions?
    I'm still taking notes !
  15. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks guys,
    I guess I'm going to try it. I just got a pork loin (8.7 pounder). The ones I did last week aren't going to last, so as soon as I get everything ready, I'm going to start curing the loin. Then about half-way through that I'll try curing two rings of that deer sausage, so that both items will be ready for the smoker at the same time.

    I think I'll go with 5 days on the sausage curing, because you all say you can under cure, but you can't cure too long. Then I'll probably smoke both items to 160*.

    I guess I should put the probe in the thickest piece of sausage, because it will be done well before the CB. Then I can move it to the thickest part of the CB after I remove the sausage ???? Sound right ?

    I probably won't start until Monday or Tuesday, so if anybody thinks of any suggestions, let me know.

    OOOOppss, second half of Penn State just started !

    Later Dudes & Dudettes,
  16. txbigred

    txbigred Meat Mopper

    I don't know if you have a stuffer or not, but if it was me, I would thaw, remove meat from casings, weigh & add correct amount of #1 cure and re-stuff. I'm not sure how well the cure would penetrate the casings. If you do it in the casings, then I would use a casing "pricker" (I made one out of several needles in a wine cork) and put holes all around the casing. You won't be able to see the holes when it's smoked and would at least allow for multiple entry points for the cure. I'm ASSUMING the casings are hog casings, don't do this with collagen.

  17. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If you have that much of just so-so sausage I'd consider thawing it all out remove it from the casing and add some spices to give it a taste you'd like. Then add the correct amount of cure, re-stuff and smoke.
  18. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I just started smoking things. I just built the cold smoker. I just bought the MES. I borrow my son's slicer. So far all I have smoked was an 11 pound belly, 5 pounds of Canadian Bacon, and some Salmon (all turned out perfect). I don't have any stuffing equipment at all, and am not ready to actually make sausage. Possibly in the future, I will buy more equipment & try that, but in the mean time I must try to do something with the boring deer fresh sausage in the freezer. We need room for at least two new deer that will be knocking on the freezer door soon.
    I don't know what kind of casing it is, as I do not understand that kind of thing yet. All I know is it is thin & edible, but a little chewy. I was thinking about pricking the casing, but I figured I would not this time, but if it doesn't cure right, make holes in it next time I try it. If I make holes in it this time, I will never know if it would work without pricking it.
    Now thanks to TxBigRed, I will be pricking one & not the other. That way we'll know sooner if it needs that.
    I am going to record everything & take pics along the way. Apparently nobody ever tried this, judging by the comments I have gotten.
    Many have said, "Just take it apart and restuff it".
    Now let's think about that for a moment:
    Suppose the motor on my 27 year old Gravely quits. I know nothing about motors & have very few tools other than for woodworking, so I decide to get a new motor for it. Would you tell me to rebuild the motor instead? I'm nearly 61 years old, and right now I know as much about making sausage as I do rebuilding a 12 HP Koehler motor.
    You can teach an old dog new tricks, but you have to do it one step at a time.
    Who knows---Santa is coming soon, and I have already put a small digital scale on my list.
  19. hog warden

    hog warden Smoking Fanatic

    Remember, the reason for the sodium nitrite "cure" is to prevent botulism poisoning, which is possible during the smoking process. This is potentially fatal, so not something to take lightly. The unbreakable rule in sausage making is if it's not cured, you don't smoke it.

    If you do your dry cure test batches, one way you might test for success is to periodically remove a piece of "cured" sausage and par-boil it in a small skillet.....just cover the bottom of the pan with water, put in your test sausage, cover with a lid....then simmer on med-low for about 10 minutes. If it's cured, it will turn pink. That will tell you how far your cure has infiltrated. If it's not pink, it's not cured and shouldn't be eaten. At least I wouldn't touch it. If you get it to go pink all the way through, you could consider it cured and a candidate for smoking.
  20. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks Hog Warden,
    The testing part I already knew, and that is my plan, however it's still good to hear you confirm that part though.


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