Just can't get the right summer sausage flavor!

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by jsk53, Oct 30, 2014.

  1. jsk53

    jsk53 Smoke Blower

    Moving from Wisconsin to Arizona last year I found that there is no decent summer sausage to be found in this state. A while back I decided to try my hand at making my own. Learning the process from this forum and Rytek’s book,  I posted a Qview of my first effort. The sausages actually turned out very well, but…..the taste wasn’t what I was looking for. What I wanted was something as close to Usinger’s beef summer sausage as I could get.  It was clear that fermento and Rytek’s spice mix didn’t do it. Then, after reading a ton of posts on this forum, I tried again, using Excalibur’s summer sausage seasoning and going to ECA instead of fermento. Still not close. Too salty and no real tang like Usinger’s.  I’ve tried several different commercial spice packages, namely PS Seasonings Old Fashioned and  PS Seasonings Regular mixes, adding the recommended amount of ECA.

    Still, just doesn’t have the flavor or the tang of a Usinger’s or other Wisconsin summer sausages. Don’t know if anyone here has any thoughts or recommendations, either spice wise, process wise or other things I may be missing or should  try, I would really appreciate the help. I love making my own, but so far, the flavor just isn’t there. Thanks.
  2. crazymoon

    crazymoon Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    JSK, I know what you mean, I can't help you as I can't quite get that tang either .
  3. chewmeister

    chewmeister Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I feel your pain. I grew up in WI and moved to PA 5 years ago. Out here they call it bologna. Not the same flavor as a Usinger's or Johnsonville. I've been using a recipe from the book Charcuterie and while close, still no cigar. Not bad though. I will try to tweak that basic recipe a little and see what happens. Out here, all the relatives and other folks I've given some to say it's the best they've ever tasted. Back in WI, there is a smokehouse I used to go to a lot in Slinger. Their stuff is unbelievably good, especially the summer sausage. The name is Helds Market. They have a web site and do offer online sales of their summer sausage and snack sticks. That's the flavor I'm trying to duplicate. If you want a real treat, order a stick of their sausage. Bet of luck on your sausage.
  4. jsk53

    jsk53 Smoke Blower

    Hi Chewmaster...I know Helds Market very well and going between Fond du Lac and Milwaukee on a regular basis, made quite a few stops there! Let me know if you ever get a recipe dialed in. I'll keep trying too. Hopefully someone out there has already been down this road and found the key!
  5. chewmeister

    chewmeister Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I'll keep trying. The other things I miss are fresh cheese curds (you ask for them here and they just give you a funny look) and some good 5 year old cheddar.
  6. bryceb

    bryceb Smoke Blower

    We used to gave a bar around my parts (NW Atlanta) that had them, but you'd think they were made of solid gold for what they charged.

    I was from the Racine area, so the thing I miss is Kringle. Ya, O&H will ship, but the price is crazy. My aunt gave us a recipe that's pretty close.

    Oh ya... Friday night fish fry that's not catfish too.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2014
  7. chewmeister

    chewmeister Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I hear ya. Love the Kringle, too. Miss those fish fries especially the ones with lake perch.
  8. Look to natural fermentation and get away from the Fermento and ECA crap.
    The seasoning of most semi-dried summer sausage.is usually pretty simple, but, of course the smoking plays a big part in the final flavor.

    Something like the following as a base recipe, but all beef:


  9. jsk53

    jsk53 Smoke Blower

    Hi Martin,

    I was wondering if going the longer route using bactofirm might make a big difference. The conventional thought I've read on the forum suggests it does. I've just been a little unsure of the process. In doing some research and looking at the recipe you sent the link for, I find there is bactofirm F-RM and bactofirm F-LC. Are they different or just different manufacturers?

    I'm going to read up on this process in Rytek's book and am going to pick up the book Chewmeister suggested, "Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing".

    Thanks for the suggestions and link. I'll give it a shot as soon as I figure out which bactofirm to order and get it in.
  10. jsk53

    jsk53 Smoke Blower

    Hey Chewmeister,

    I agree on the fresh cheese curds....nothing better than squeaky cheese. Can't get it here either, but I'm heading up to Wisconsin next week and just might have to bring some back!
  11. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Here's a link that may provide some insight....

  12. jsk53

    jsk53 Smoke Blower

    Thanks Dave

    I tried the link in that thread:


    and it took me to a log in page for Rapidshare and I need to buy an account to access. Perhaps Martin could send me the .pdf directly? After reading that thread completely, I have more questions that perhaps this document can answer for me. If I use a bactofirm product, it sounds like the fermentation process is done outside the refrigerator at a controlled higher temp. Not sure where that leads me as I would use the smoker at the normal 160-170 degree range. It sounds like I would ferment the mixture for X amount of days and then put it in the smoker?

    Sorry if I sound confused. Just need some reading! Thanks.

  13. They are different cultures by the same manufacturer....both will work, however I strongly recommend the F-LC for it's versatility and ability to control Listeria monocytogenes.

    The Ruhlman/Polcyn book is okay, but you'll get a lot more bang for your buck if you go with the Marianski book The Art of Making Fermented Sausages.

    Cheese curds?
    If you have an interest in cheesemaking this is the recipe and method to try.


  14. PM me your email address and I'll forward the Hansen manual.

    For a crash course in fermented sausages...go here: http://www.meatsandsausages.com/sausage-types/fermented-sausage

  15. chewmeister

    chewmeister Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

  16. chewmeister

    chewmeister Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I'm jealous.
  17. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    It was the thread itself, that had the information.....
  18. jsk53

    jsk53 Smoke Blower

    Thanks Martin, Will do.

    I've been reading a lot of material on the website  www.wedlinydomowe.com which has been helpful. That I believe is the link you sent me for the recipe. That recipe has steps totally different than I have been using as it has the F-LC mixed in after grinding and the spices, then stuffing right away and leaving the stuffed sausages in 84 degree surroundings for 24 hours.

    I've been using the steps provided with the spice mixes from PS Seasonings that has you mix the meat, cure and spices then sitting overnight in a sealed container, then stuffing and smoking right away after adding the ECA.

    It's fun but scary trying different methods.
  19. jsk53

    jsk53 Smoke Blower

    I have the Art of Making Fermented Sausages on my list of books to get. Never thought about making home made cheese curds!  I think that will have to go on the back burner until I get my summer sausage dialed in. Thanks and I'll definitely do a Q View when I get my next batch underway. Should be interesting!
  20. Let us know what you come up with so we can give it a try! :smile:


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