QUESTION - Why cook to 160 degrees when using sure cure and smoked meat stabilizer in summer sausage?
I have trouble getting the internal temp of venison/pork summer sausage and snack sticks up to 160 degrees without shrinkage and drying. If using sure cure and smoked meat stabilizer, why cook to that high a temperature? Doesn’t the cure kill the harmful bacteria?
Weathered100 I’m sure Jon or Austin will comment about the science but you still need to cook the meat-you don’t want raw sticks. If you’re having trouble getting sticks to temp we smoke for 2-4 hours to get the color right then into a water bath at 170F until sticks reach temp. We use a turkey fryer the strainer basket makes it easy to remove and rinse in cold water to stop the carryover cooking process. I’ve been questioned about the water bath, and no it doesn’t remove the smoke flavor, no it doesn’t make the meat watery, we use it with natural, cellulose, and collagen casings. Cooking in water is a very soft even heat, some use a sous vide cooker. I’ve never tried it we just put the pot on top of a wood stove in the shop works great, just put a temp probe in one stick and wait for it to hit 160F, shower with cold water we hang to dry, an hour or so, then into the cooler.
Weathered100 First, great question! Second, Parksider , as usual, is correct. Adding cure to a meat product is going to retard the growth of botulism spores but it is not going to make the meat safe to eat by itself, it still needs to get to 160° to fully kill off any harmful bacteria growing inside it. The same is true with Smoked Meat Stabilizer, it speeds up that conversion of Nitrite to nitric oxide faster than E. Coli can grow but it won’t kill it on its own, it still needs thermal processing to make it safe to consume.
As far as moving it to water, I have never done it but there is no reason it would not work and with a summer sausage the only “smoke” you would lose is what has accumulated on the outside of the fibrous casing. As you don’t eat a fibrous casing, this will not affect the taste.
I would vac pack it first just to be sure but I also don’t think finishing cooking it in water would make it watery. In fact, I think I would more worry about the opposite, that it would cook too much of the moisture out of the meat by cooking it directly in water.
Having said that though, if Parksider has done it in the past and has not seen any noticeable deficiency in his finished product I would say it is probably fine to do it that way!