Summer Sausage-Dry and hard
We have recently made two different batches of summer sausage. Both were deer meat with 20% beef fat and some were made with 10% high temp cheese. Stuffed into 12" callogen casings. Cooked on our pellet grill starting out on the “smoke” setting (75-100), then 180, then 225 to internal temp of 160.
1st batch was 8 lbs. Took the anticipated time to cook base on our research, they were not put in an ice bath, and were not frozen. All looked great immediately but 1 of the sticks turned hard over the next week.
2nd batch was 18 lbs. This batch took longer to cook. They did have an ice bath. Most were frozen and all of them are hard and dry upon thaw.
Any suggestions on what we need to adjust would be greatly appreciated.
lindsey.1214 Hard to say what the issue could have been. Did you use a binder? What kind? What seasoning did you use?
Out of the 8 lb batch how were they stored?
Also, even though I dont know if this is your issue a jump from 100 to 180 might be responsible for the longer than expected cook as you could have had case hardening. That is where the outside of the sausage cooks too quickly and the heat cant be transfered into the middle efficiently. I’d recommend going with the smoke schedule here https://meatgistics.waltonsinc.com/topic/762/cured-sausage-107-basics-for-making-summer-sausage
A few other tips are make sure you get good protein extraction as this prevents the meat from “fatting out” and being dry and hard. So mix, mix mix mix until it is very sticky. Also, I’d recommend pork fat over beef fat, it is creamier and it has less of a noticable taste.
What Diameter casing are you using, it takes me about 6 hours to get my 43 mm cased summer sausage to 156 degrees and about 10-12 hours to get 73mm cased sausage to 156 degrees. I use 5lb beef fat and 20 lb game meat with seasonings , cure, 2 quarts water and 1 lb binder and have had excellent results. I grind the meat 3/8" then switch to 1/8 or 3/16 " plate grind the fat and mix it thoroughly with meat then regrind them together with small plate then add all other ingredents and thoroughly mix them together for protein extraction and stuff in casings . My smoke/temp schedule is as follows 1 hour 150deg, 1 hour 140 degree, 2 hours 155 degrees with smoke, 1 hour 165 degrees with smoke, and then finish at 180 till done with smoke. I really think having a convection fan in your smoker helps keep from having hot spots that shrink up bottoms of casings.
Jonathon We are not using a binder. Until you mentioned it, I really had not thought about it but it seems it would help.
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