First time smoking venison summer sausage with complete recipe and how to guide

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by rnyboy, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. Hi All,

    I spent quite a bit of time looking into using my new MES 30 Analog Smoker to make 10 lbs of venison summer sausage (VSS).  Well after "harvesting" all of the information on sites like this one I came up with a recipe that was sort of a blend of many.  Along with writing down the recipe I also wrote down the full procedure, from start to freezer, for making my first batch of VSS.

    The main issue was getting the needed smoke at the required temperatures, and for that I very recently purchased the A-MAZE-N wood pellet smoker (AMZNPS) to fill that need; which it did so perfectly I might add!  So for Step 6, the smoking procedure, its written for a smoker that is already capable of smoking at lower temperatures.  From what I've read I think most commercial electric home smokers are probably not capable of producing smoke, or enough smoke at least, at low temperatures .  Most are actually more like BBQs that smoke at around 225F and not a cold smoker.  Two rows of hickory pellets in the AMZNPS, lit at both ends, produced a beautiful heavy smudge of white smoke for a solid 3 1/2 hours and continued to produce a lighter smoke for another additonal hour, which seems to have been near perfect for this first attempt. 

    When I took the first taste of the VSS this morning I was very very happy with the results, in fact you might say I was amazed.  Way better than I expected considering this was the first time I ever smoked anything, and with a more or less untested recipe.  I took a half of a stick of the freshly smoke VSS along with some sharp cheddar and Vermont chedder to a sportsmans club I belong to at around noon today and it was gone in no time with several of the guys asking for the recipe.  So I've since printed out copies of the below to give to them next weekend.

    I did modify my smoker so it can hold a fourth rack as well as allow hanging of the sticks of sausage from some square tubing near the top. 

    If you have any questions on anything in this start of a thread please feel free to ask.

    So without further blather here's a photo of my slightly modified smoker at the start of the smoking with the sticks of VSS hung and the AMZNPS smoking, the recipe, and the full process I used.  I hope it helps anybody else who is completely clueless like I was when I first got interested in smoking meats:

    Smoked Venison Summer Sausage Recipe, for 10 lbs

    (Adapted from numerous venison summer sausage recipes by Pat Thompson, 12-11-12)


      1)       6 lbs coarse ground venison

      2)       4 lbs course ground fatty pork butt/shoulder

      3)       3/4 cup + 1 tblsp low fat cultured buttermilk

                     (Cultured buttermilk will help give sausage its "tangy" flavor.)

      4)       2 tblsp non-fat dry milk, for binder and additional lactose for fermenting

      5)       2 tsp (0.40 oz) of Prague Powder #1

      6)       4 tblsp + 2 tsp kosher salt, can substitute 4 tblsp of pickling salt

      7)       2 tblsp whole mustard seed

      8)       3 tblsp coarse ground black pepper

      9)       4 tsp sugar, for fermenting to get tang.

    10)      1 tblsp garlic powder

    11)      1 tblsp onion powder

    12)      2 tblsp paprika

    13)      1 tsp ground marjoram

    14)      1/4 tsp ground ginger

    15)      1/4 tsp ground coriander

    16)      1 tsp monosodium glutamate (optional), Same as Accent seasoning

    Step-by-Step Instructions:

    1.         First grind of the meat - Cut the meat into 1" cubes and put in freezer for 30 to 45 minutes to firm meat for grinding.  Grind with coarse plate for proper texture.  Always keep the meat cold (< 40o F).

    2.         Season the meat - Add all ingredients to ground meat and thoroughly mix by hand or with a meat mixer.

    3.         Regrind the meat before stuffing* - Regrind the meat with the coarse plate to assure the desired texture for stuffing and mixing of all the ingredients.

    4.         Stuff the sausage into casings - Keep meat cold (< 40o F) while stuffing.  Stuff into synthetic or fibrous casings that are 2 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter.  A 2 1/2" dia. by 17" long stick will weigh about 3 1/2 lbs.

    5.         Cure the sausage at 40o F -   Store sticks in the refrigerator and refrigerate at least overnight.  Can be kept in refrigerator for up to three days.  "Tang" of summer sausage will increase the longer it is refrigerated.  I refrigerate mine for about two days.  Do not let internal temperature get below 34o F or mix will not ferment.  Active bacteria in the cultured buttermilk will metabolize (ferment) the added sugar and lactose in non-fat dry milk to lactic acid giving the summer sausage its characteristic "tangy" taste.  You really won't "taste" any of the sugar that has not been metabolized but the sausage may seem to taste less salty than expected.

    6**.      Smoke the sausage in smoker - Preheat smoker to 120o F.  Hang or lay sausage on racks in smoker, making sure the sticks are well separated from each other.  Insert temperature probe into center of sausage near the middle of the smoker.  Allow to dry for one hour with damper wide open at 120o F.  Add wood chips (hickory is suggested) to the wood pan, close damper to 1/4 open, and increase smoker temperature to 150o F for four hours, add water to water pan and increase temperature to 170o F (Max) to finish cooking.  While smoking add wood as necessary in 1/4 cup amounts and generate smoke for three to ten hours (suggest four or five hours for first try) depending on how "smoky" you want it to taste, continue cooking without smoke until internal temperature of sausage reaches 155o F.  Some recipes recommend using a heavy smudge during the smoking process.  A "heavy smudge" is produced using lots of heavy white smoke.  This is difficult to do with most home smokers at 150o F unless you have an additional smoke generator attached to or within your smoker to produce the necessary level of smoke. 

    7.         Stopping the smoking/cooking - To stop the cooking process once the sausage reaches an internal temperature of 155o F immediately plunge the sticks into ice cold water to drop the internal temperature to 100o F.  You can also plunge the sticks into deep snow if present.  I used the available snow and this cool down took about a 1/2 to 3/4 hour to complete.

    8.         Blooming:  Dry the outside of the sticks with a towel and allow to further air dry while hanging at room temperature for a few hours to reach proper color and then store in a cooler or freeze.  If wrapped in aluminum foil and butcher paper the sausage will stay fresh in a freezer for several months.  Vacuum packing and freezing will insure freshness for up to a year.

    *Note:  You can grind the meat finer during the second grind if you prefer a finer texture to the summer sausage.  I prefer a coarser sausage.

    **Note: Most home smokers are not meant for low temperature smoking.  You may need to purchase an additional low cost sawdust or pellet smoke generator, such as sold by A-MAZE-N Products, that is designed for cold smoking.
    pveach and bertman like this.
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    MB, morning.... Thanks for the tutorial and recipe.....  Sausage looks good..... Smoker looks a little pale... needs a work out...  Dave
  3. Sounds like a good recipe. Thanks for the in depth description of your process  [​IMG]
  4. Lookin' good.

  5. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looks good, nice write up.

    However im not with the step #5

    Lactic acid in the Buttermilk will (normally) not work well with the table sugar.

    DEXTROSE - 70% as sweet as cane sugar and quite a bit heavier. Helps reduce nitrate to nitrite as meats are cured. Used to counter salt in brines. Dextrose assists fermentation, which gives us the desired tang of flavor. The most common sugar used in meat is dextrose. Dextrose is corn sugar and it will not burn as easily as cane or beet sugar. When a recipe calls for cane sugar you can replace it with dextrose by adding 20% more dextrose than cane sugar due to the sweetness factor between cane sugar and dextrose.

    Bactoferm™ F-RM-52 - Medium: 5.0 pH in 4 days) F-RM-52 is a freeze-dried culture well suited for all fermented sausages where a relatively fast acidification is desired. The culture is recommended for the production of North European types of fermented, dry sausages with a sourly flavor note.

    Sugars are use to add flavor and to cover or mask salt. Sugars will cause browning when the product is pan fried or grilled. There are different forms of sugar. The most common is cane sugar. Cane is what we normally call table sugar. It can be used in meat brines but is not widely used in sausage because it has a tendency to burn or scorch. Brown sugar is used in most brines but sometimes used in meat because of its flavor.

    NON-FAT DRY MILK - Milk powder has been used for years in sausage making. Acts as a binder by helping to retain the moisture of the meat. Although not highly effective as a binder, it can impart a creamier taste to some sausage products. You can use up to 12% (of the meat weight) without affecting the taste of the sausage. This product is good at hiding salt flavor in most sausage and is used in liver sausage, hot dogs and bologna.
  6. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Question: If you use Dextrose and Bactoferm could you also use Encapsulated Citric Acid or is that doubling the effort for tang? One or the other ?
  7. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I wouldnt use ECA in conjunction with a Bactoferm product. Or use ECA with fermento, buttermilk powder or buttermilk. Use ECA by itself if thats what you have on hand.

    ENCAPSULATED CITRIC ACID: Use encapsulated citric acid when making summer sausage or snack sticks and that distinctive “tang”, associated with reduce pH, is desired but the lengthy fermentation cycle is not. When used correctly, it is almost impossible to tell if the sausage was manufactured by fermentation or by the use of this product. There is no need to worry about processing under special conditions. You just add the citric acid to the meat at end of the mixing process (making sure that you do not grind meat again), and then blend into the meat by hand or by mixer. If using a meat mixer, mix only until the encapsulated citric acid is blended into the meat mix, usually about one minute is sufficient. Longer mixing can cause the capsules to rupture resulting in the premature release of the citric acid.

    Encapsulated citric acid is citric acid, a naturally occurring acid, that has been encapsulated (coated) with maltodexrine, a hydrogenated vegetable oil, which will melt at 135 degrees F. releasing the citric acid into the meat product. This prevents the citric acid from releasing and prematurely lowering the ph of your sausage meat mix. If the meat’s ph drops before the protein sets at 105-115 degrees you will get a negative effect on the texture of your finished sausage. It won't bind as well and the texture will be crumbly.
    Encapsulated citric acid should be added and mixed in after the grinding is complete as not to rupture the capsules. Since the encapsulation prevents release into the meat until the meat’s internal temperature reaches 135 degrees F. a ruptured or damaged capsule will release the citric acid prematurely causing the undesired affects listed above.
    Once the capsule is melted releasing the citric acid into the product decrease in pH is achieved resulting in the distinctive "tang" or sour taste associated with reduced pH products.
    Suggested usage for this purpose is 3 oz. for 25 lb. of meat
    Also use to preserve color of fresh sausage during storage. Use 1/2 oz. to 1 oz. per 100 lb. of meat for this purpose.

    NOTE: Too much Citric Acid will cause the meat to turn white.
  8. driedstick

    driedstick Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    nice snausages and smoker ,
  9. Lots of good information in this one thread - I learned a few useful things. Thanks Nepas
  10. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yes, thanks for the summer sausage thread and thanks Nepas for clearing that up for me.
  11. down lowe

    down lowe Fire Starter

    thanks for taking the time to share your process.  Do you have any "money" shots of the finished product?
  12. Rnyboy. Thx for the info. Made a batch from ur post and it was excellent!!!!!!!!
  13. jsk53

    jsk53 Smoke Blower

    Is Bactoferm the same thing as Fermento? 
  14. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Bactoferm (TM) F-RM-52 is a freeze-dried culture well suited for all fermented sausages where a relatively fast acidification is desired. The culture is recommended for the production of traditional North European types of fermented, dry sausages with a sourly flavor note.

    Fermento is a starter culture that produces a tangy flavor immediately in semi-dry cured sausage. you can stuff and smoke immediately. Generally used in venison summer sausage, cervelat, goteborg and other summer sausages
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2014
  15. jsk53

    jsk53 Smoke Blower

    Got it! Thank you, that is very helpful.
  16. remi

    remi Newbie

    I am new to making sausage and smoking sausage.  I tried this recipe for my first time at making summer sausage.  It turned out perfect, everyone that tried it said it was better then what we get from the local smoke house.  Next I will add some high temp cheese and maybe some dried jalapeno flake to the next batch.  Great step by step information thanks so much for this recipe.
    bertman likes this.
  17. I used this recipe tonight and plan on smoking Sunday or Monday, depending on what the weather will allow. Can't wait to see how this turns out.
  18. Five hours in the smoker so far. I think I'll give it another hour in the smoker at 150 with smoke before I bump the temp up to 170.

  19. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Summer sausage is looking great. How about starting a new thread on your adventure

  20. I hadn't planned on taking any pics, just wanted to add to replies about rnyboy's recipe. I hope I haven't broken any protocol by doing it this way.

    I found this by researching summer sausage recipes, and I kept coming back to this one. It's hard to find a "go-to" recipe, and I thought if mine turned out good, it might help someone else doing a similar search.

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