Smoking Venison Summer sausage newbie

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by smoky261, Dec 17, 2011.

  1. smoky261

    smoky261 Newbie

    New to the forum...excited to read what you guys have to say.  I'm a fairly accomplished smoker with chickens and turkeys, but have finally decided to use some of the venison I got this year for some smoked venison summer sausage...but have a few questions since I'm new to it. 

    First,  I realize this is a semi-dry cured sausage by definition, but do I really need to use Morton Tender Quick (table salt + nitrite + nitrates) to reduce the risk of botulism bacteria?  The brine or cure I use for chickens truly does more for the flavor than protecting against bacteria.  The salt in the brine is just NaCl (table salt).  But it's low risk since I generally operate the smoker at 200F until the internal temp of the meat is 170F.  But with venison....I would be operating the smoker at a lower temp the threat of bacteria is higher I presume.  I was going to smoke like this:

    140F: 2hrs

    160F: 2hrs

    180F: Until internal meat temp is 155F.

    I talked with a local commercial smoker and he mentioned to start the smoker at 160F and not to worry about the Tender Quick?  Any thoughts on this?  Every local well known, commercial, non-backyard guy I talk to says this.....but is it really ok? 
  2. doctord1955

    doctord1955 Smoking Fanatic

    Do you have a recipe?
  3. adiochiro3

    adiochiro3 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Welcome to SMF!  I would find a trusted source and start with that recipe.  I have not ventured into summer sausage myself yet, but it's on my list!  

    Please head over to Roll Call and introduce yourself for a proper welcome!
  4. boykjo

    boykjo SAUSAGE MAKER Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    First off welcome to SMF Smoky........

    Summer sausage is any sausage that can be kept without refrigeration. Summer sausage is usually a mixture of pork and other meat such as beef or venison. Summer sausage can be dried or smoked, and while curing ingredients vary significantly, curing salt is almost always used. Seasonings may include mustard seeds, black pepper, garlic salt, or sugar.

    You can do what your saying without the cure but you need to follow the 40 to 140 degree rule in 4 hrs and you will only be making a fresh sausage chub and not summer sausage without cure and it will need to be refrigerated and eaten in a few days or placed in the freezer for extended periods of time. I would look into using pink salt/cure #1 for summer sausage.  Insta Cur #1 contains salt and sodium nitrite (6.25%).

    Tender Quick is a blend of salt, sugar, sodium nitrate, sodium nitrite, and propylene glycol.  The amount of sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite are 0.5%.

    Happy smoking

    Last edited: Dec 18, 2011
  5. the tender quick is the cure, it gives sausage that rosey color, and a distinctive flavor, but I think there are better cures,

    If you try and make a semi dried sausage with out the cure I believe there is a good chance you could end up with bacteria in your sausage,

    botulism   usually starts at prolonged exposure to temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees, and also with there being moisture from the meat and a lack of oxygen created by the smoker it can make the situation even more unstable, and if you were planning on a drying period, I just think it would increase the risk of contamination.

    I have a recipe for a venison summer sausage that is hot smoked, and has no drying period, I have never used it so I can't vouch for it's flavor, but it is a recipe from the rytek kutaz sausage recipe book, I could share with you if you'd like
  6. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I am no expert by any means, I have not even made SS as of yet. However I read lots of posts on SS making, preparing myself for when I do. I have yet to see 1 recipe for SS that did NOT have a cure in it. IMHO who ever told you, you did not need cure has no idea what he is talking about, and gave you dangerous advice. What I do know for certain is when you are smoking, your temp of the meat must get to 140 degrees with in 4 hours or less. However if a cure is added that rule no longer applies. This is why when I smoke big birds I add cure to my brine.

    I have no doubt that 1 of our resident experts on sausage and or cure will be along and offer up some advice.
  7. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I would not make any smoked sausage without cure. Slow smoking without cure is dangerous & besides it won't taste like sausage. It will just be smoked meat. If you do decide to do it anyway, then the internal temp of the meat needs to get above 135 degrees in 4 hours & the final temp needs to be up to 160 since it is ground meat.
  8. africanmeat

    africanmeat Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    First welcome to SMF .the guys are right you need cur#1 to make it work safely
  9. If this is your first time making summer sausage and you are unsure about the cure etc, I would suggest getting a summer sausage kit. These kits have all the seasoning, cure , casing, etc. I have used the Hi-Mountain kits with great success. For around 18$ you get everything you need to make 30 lbs of sausage.  
  10. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    First off welcome to SMF. Now I'm with the other guys here to on the cure part. You need to use some.
  11. smoky261

    smoky261 Newbie

    I think this all makes sense now.  The 4hr rule with needing to be 140F is probably why these commercial smokers don't use the Prague #1, Prague #2 or Morton Tender Quick.  they all start the smoker at a higher temp and the internal temp of the meat is over 140F well before 4hrs.  Generally they start the smoker at 160F, the meat then gets to 140F+ well before 4 hrs and then they increase the temp of the smoker to finish it off.  Since I am a newbie at venison summer sausage....I'll at least use a #1, but for the ease of obtaining it....I'll probably just get the Morton Tender quick which has table salt, nitrite, and nitrates as i mentioned before.  Of course it has flavorings in there too which will really make it taste like sausage, but was more concerned with the salts.  The big concern is eating the nitrites/nitrates from a health perspective, but the morton tender quick seems to have the least amount.......but an effective amount (.5% by weight if I remember my research correctly).  Thanks for the advice about buying a kit, although we make fresh italian sausage and other fresh all the equipment, casings, materials are well in hand.  All the adivce is great....keep in coming. 
  12. The commercial smokers DO use Cures, you cannot make smoked sausages with out it, there are some natural cure products out there made from celery I believe, I have never used them and probably never will.

    And also in my opinion, the health consequences from eating Nitrates are a far better option than what botulism can do to ya :O)
  13. [​IMG]First off, you must use 2tsp cure #1 per 10 pounds of meat. Yes, if you smoke at 200 degrees you do not need cure. The problem is that at that temp the fat in the sausage will "smear" and drip out. You will end up with cooked meat, not sausage.

    With cure you can smoke at 150 to 165 degrees to IT of 152 degrees (at least 138 degrees because of the pork fat) after smoking, you should shower it with cold water until the temp is 120 degrees. This is to reset the fat to a solid form.

    Notes on venison salami: You must add fat to at least 15 percent which venison starts at near zero. Pork butt is 20- 30 percent fat, pork trimmings are usually 50%, and back fat is 100%. Back fat is very flavorful and cost about $1.00 per pound.

    You will want to use some soy protein and or corn syrup solids to add moisture and texture. Venison loves black pepper. Don't skimp on the salt. Follow a basic sausage recipe from an expert source, I recommend "Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing" available at your local library

Share This Page