Summer sausage color



  • C9C09E09-2EA6-4696-B716-7E0DE43F91D2.jpeg 1AA7C46A-7F74-42F5-9EA3-81CBAFB57F22.jpeg

    Center is off color. Taste and texture are good. I used H-summer sausage season, 17.5lbs venison, 7.5lbs brisket fat (25lbs~70/30), 1oz sure cure, 6oz sure gel, 2qt water, 2lbs high temp cheddar, 10.3oz fresh chopped jalapeño. Used meat mixer for seasoning, cure, and binder to get good protein extraction then added cheese & jalapeño. My mixer was over full so I dumped in a meat tote and hand mixed the 4oz of ECA. Stuffed into 2.4” casings and moved to the smoker. Smoker is a Pitboss pellet. Started on smoke only (~ 125) 2hr, 150 2hr, 175 12hrs. Had trouble getting sausage temperature to 160. I added more pans of water, rearrange hang sticks and then increased smoker to 200 for another 4 hrs. when sausages were between 155 & 160 (multiple sausages were monitored), dropped them in an ice bath. Vacuum sealed and put them in refrigerator.
    The center 3/4” is off color, not pleasant to look at but taste good, though not enough jalapeño flavor.



  • skmeyer How long was it exposed before the off color happened. Sometimes when cured meat is open to light and oxygen it will turn a grey/brown color because the light and oxy will create a nitrite (metmyoglobin) But it takes a bit to turn color. Kind of like when lunch meat turns that grey color on the outside. Its harmless. It could be you didn’t get a good mixing of the cure and or binder or the eca. And you did use a bit to much cure and binder. Also, venison is temperamental. I’ve had it do weird things when mixing with other meats for no apparent reason. Venison will also turn color faster than other meats when exposed to light/oxy (not sure why it does).

    Adding more water for humidity is good and should help shorten the time in getting internal temp up. Maybe check your temp gauge of smoker. But at 175 it will take a long time to reach 160 because the difference is not high enough to heat up meat very fast. I skip the 175 and go from 150 to 200 and takes about 2 hrs to get internal temp from 130 to 155/160.



  • shane102 the color shown is as soon as it was cut open. It hasn’t changed after being exposed. I’ve only cut two of them.


  • Regular Contributors

    Have made hundreds of pounds of summer sasuage and have never seen anything that looks like that, It kind of looks like no cure got to the center and that is almost impossible.



  • I agree with akdave. Its a little strange that half the meat is red and other is grey. I would think all would be same color. You did say your mixer was over full. I wonder if it didn’t get mixed in all the meat.


  • Team Blue

    skmeyer I wonder if there was case hardening and after such a long cook the outside ring is just so over cooked that it looks that much more red and makes the inside look almost grey but it really isn’t. I’m no expert but I do use a pit boss upright smoker similar to yours and I can see how it could happen.


  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee

    skmeyer Are you a 100% sure that the sure cure actually made it in there? The outside could be a smoke ring (cure ring) though it would be a deep one. My second thought would be what shane102 said. Nitrite will actually turn meat greyish brown after a while of mixing and then heat-treating sets that color to the nice reddish pink we all think of for cured meat. If you hadn’t specifically mentioned that you had an issue and got it to 155 at least I would have also guessed that.

    Are they all like that with the cure ring around the outside and grey in the middle? Austin You have any thoughts on this? Cabelas90 You have any thoughts on what happened?


  • Team Blue

    My first thought would be the ECA was not thoroughly mixed in. And therefore the inside did not fully cure. However I would think if that was the case it would be more spotty than a ring around the outside.


  • Regular Contributors

    Making Sasuage is like Life, some Times [censored] Happens, Just like when my Sasuage Stuffer Passed Gas and Exploded 6’ of Snack Sticks7BA7ED0C-6EA0-45E5-B480-6F8F8F60375C.jpeg



  • I don’t think its a smoke ring cure (seems a little big for that). But Gosh it could be with being in smoker that long without a good mixing of the cure. Strange one!!!
    I they were were my sausages I couldn’t handle it and would cut all them open to see if all did it. Then I would do another identical batch making sure all ingredients were in and measured correctly and mixed well. But that’s just me.


  • Team Blue

    20 hrs is a long time to smoke. It seems to me that the outer portion was probably done long before the inside got to temp. When you zoom in it doesn’t really look that grey to me. I think it’s the color contrast between the smoke ring/over cooked part with the normal not so bright red center messing with your/our eyes. But maybe it looks different in person. Or maybe I am way out to lunch and it’s just playing tricks on my eyes.


  • Regular Contributors

    Ive used quite a few different style smokers over the years, and i have two pellet smokers i use for personal and catering. Since you used a pellet smoker and cooked/smoked those for 20 hours, i can almost guarrantee that is a smoke ring on that sausage and nothing to worry about. But i would change your cook cycle when using that pellet smoker. Like someone mentioned skip the 175 and go to 200 with as much humidity as you can get. Once your internal temp gets to around 138F your risk of fatting out greatly decreases so turn your smoker up to 200 around that time.



  • I agree with Iamurscrappy.



  • Thanks for all the feedback, great forum. After eating it without I’ll effects I shared with coworkers, they tore it up like a pack of wolves and want more. Doing another batch this weekend. Thinking about doing a water bath after initial 4 hrs of smoking. Also wondering if my stuffer is crushing the ECA prematurely , it’s a homemade water stuffer, 6” PVC shooting through 3/4” copper tube.


  • Team Blue

    skmeyer Thats Great! I would definitely do the water bath!
    I dont think that your water stuffer would be breaking the ECA. In Fact we have ran Encapsulated Salt through our patty machine with no issues and we run ECA through a vacuum Stuffer on a weekly basis with no issues. Its Pretty tough stuff really! Looking at your Picture i dont feel like there is any chance that early ECA breakage is an issue the inside of you sausage would be mushy / crumbly.


  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee

    skmeyer You can’t tease the animals like that, pics of your setup?



  • Jonathon I assume you’re referring to my water stuffer. 0CBFB12A-E14F-4CB5-9F76-1D79B1861742.jpeg 8CA301C8-993D-430D-8D09-33D8D50A0E1D.jpeg It’s 6” PVC well casing, holds 30lbs, the piston is the critical piece.

    My second batch of summer sausage turned out well, color is right. 387C3A29-ED32-4E7C-88B4-5F18DF5B2464.jpeg Used pepper cheese and partially dehydrated jalapeños. The pepper cheese is very mild in flavor and heat. I think I need to quadruple the jalapeños. Did 25lbs (17.5 venison, 7.5 brisket fat). Added 20.3oz fresh jalapeños dehydrated to 2.3oz.
    Still puzzled about the color on the first batch. Maybe I’m getting old and forgot the cure but I’m having trouble believing that.


  • Team Blue

    skmeyer That Stuffer is awesome! and Obviously you know how to make summer sausage as that looks great!


  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee

    skmeyer That is awesome man! I think someone downvoted your post by mistake because there is nothing there not to love!


  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee

    skmeyer Forgetting the cure is the only thing that really makes sense to me there, maybe it’s something else but in my mind, that is the Occam’s razor solution


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