Cured Sausage 107 - Basics For Making Summer Sausage
Cured Sausage 107 - Basics For Making Summer Sausage
Attend this entry-level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!
What Is Summer Sausage?
Summer Sausage is a semi-dried sausage that is typically stuffed into a larger diameter fibrous casing. It can be made from beef, pork, wild game or some combination of meat. Some people are intimidated by making it but the most basic steps can be done by almost any home processor.
10 lb of Untrimmed Pork Butts
1 Bag of H-Summer Sausage
1 oz of Sure Cure (Included with purchase)
Before you begin processing take your casings out of the package and soak in warm water for an hour to make them pliable for stuffing so do this early enough in the process to prevent any delays later.
The first thing you need to do is to grind your meat. Make sure you have oiled your plates and knives before starting your grinder. You will want to grind the meat twice, the first grind should be through a 3/8 plate and then with a 1/8 plate. Remember to keep your meat cold through this process. You can also simply purchase ground pork, it is readily available just make sure you aren’t buying lean pork, you want and need the fat.
Next, you need to mix the seasoning and cure into your meat. To do this you can either use a meat mixer or do it by hand. Because this is a product that we are going to cure and smoke we need to achieve a high level of protein extraction so doing this with your hands is difficult but can be done. When using a mixer add the meat to the mixer, then the seasoning and cure and finally the water, you will want to mix in both directions until all seasoning and cure has been mixed in and you have good protein extraction. You will know that a good level of protein extraction has been achieved when the meat is sticky and tacky if you can pull a handful of it apart and it stretches that is a good sign.
Next, choose the largest stuffing tube that your casings will fit over and begin stuffing. Stuff until the casings are full and smooth but leave yourself enough room on the end to close with a hog ring. To close with a hog ring twist the end and then put a hog ring over the twist and crimp it down.
When you are done stuffing the product has to be held in the refrigerator overnight to allow the cure time to work. If you added Encapsulated Citric Acid or other cure accelerators you skip this step.
Thermal Processing & Smoking
Set up your smoker and hang your sausage on smoke sticks or lay on racks and smoke at
125F for 1 hour
140F for 1 hour
155F for 2 hours
175F until internal meat temp of 160F
When they have reached 160° internal temperature remove from the smoker and put them in an ice bath to bring the heat down and help set the casing.
Lastly, leave them out at room temperature for about an hour before vacuum packing them, this will ensure you don’t get additional moisture in the vacuum bag which would affect the shelf life of your meats.
In later classes, we will go over these and more advanced steps in greater detail for making Snack Sticks.
Depending on your pH and your Water Activity your sticks might be shelf stable but without a way to test this you should vacuum pack and refrigerate these.
Watch WaltonsTV: Basics For Making Summer Sausage
Here is a link to a website that has a handy Excel spreadsheet. It is, as it says a free non-commercial site.
As for Waltons dropping the ball, I vote they are doing a great job.
I think for all of us there are general guidelines, but unless you have a temperature and humidity controlled environment, both for the preparation, cooking (if you cook them) smoking, hanging etc, the results are bound to vary from batch to batch.
Personally, I am searching how to get my home made smoked and dry cured pepperoni to the exact texture and firmness of Margarita pepperoni from the store.
Through trial and error I have the flavor where I want it, but not the texture or firmness. I know time, temperature and humidity are all crucial, but the best I can do is in the basement and then subject to the environment that is there.
I figure as long as I am not killing anyone or making anyone sick I am making progress. Thanks Waltons for all of the great information so far.
Having said that, it would be nice to have your chart in an Excel spreadsheet.
Thanks Jonathon! One question tho! You eluded to 178 being high for a temp! Don’t you guys recommend setting the temp at 175 during the final stage to completion to internal temp? Three degrees shouldn’t make that much difference should it??
Sounds reasonable. Thanks for your input. Pulling the meat at 152 will make a big difference I bet! Thanks again.
@Kinger Thanks for the information. Your process, other than going to 178, is on in my mind. The only thing I do differently is an ice bath for 20 minutes. Showering for 10 minutes, if you are running a cycle and a fan in your smoker can work, but I still think an ice bath would bring it down faster and more. Last time I did thick summer sausage it was down to 110 in 20 minutes, I also tried showering it at 2 minutes on 2 minutes off for 20 minutes and it was only down to 136 (ish) but i did not have a fan running on them.
One more thing you might want to try, if you are stalled towards the end you can finish them up by putting them in a vacuum bag (I have done then hot, right from the smoker, some condensation in the bag but it still gets a good vac) and get some water going at around 165, it should get up to temp in under an hour depending on the thickness.
@Newbe There might be some breaking down of the meat but this shouldnt cause you too many issues. I have bought pork butts fresh, then froze them then processed and froze the product again. The taste might not be the BEST possible but it certainly wont be bad.