Question about cure and taste

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by mschwartz26, Feb 9, 2015.

  1. mschwartz26

    mschwartz26 Smoke Blower

    All,

    Long time smoker but just getting ready for my first sausage attempt.  I had a question about adding cure to your sausage (hopefully not the normal questions some have about cure)

    I 100% understand why cure is added, how much to add, etc.  I have made my own bacon, BBB, etc.  

    I understand the 140 in 4 hour rule.  I 'believe' I have the process down for smoking sausage (will know after my first attempt!).

    I purchased a bunch of different brat seasonings online (ps seasonings).  The flavors I purchased do not contain any cure.  

    I understand if I want to smoke the sausages (starting at 120 and slowing increasing temp while taking the sausage internal temp to 153) I will need to add cure.

    Some questions:

    Is the main/only reason that you add cure is to be able to smoke the sausages for longer periods of time...thus adding smoke flavor?  Is there any reason other than this?  Does cure affect the taste of the sausage?

    When most are smoking sausages - do you keep some meet uncured/smoke and cook the sausages fresh?

    I guess what I am trying to figure out is if I cure/smoke the entire batch(s) or if I should keep some fresh and cook that way also.  I expect to get answers that tell me to try each and see what I like best (completely understood).  If I do that, can/should I add cure to the entire batch and pull some out after stuffing to cook fresh/freeze and cook when thawed...OR is it best to pull some of the mixed meat out prior to adding the cure and stuff that separate?  

    Thanks in advance.  Looking forward to this new chapter in learning a new items for the smoker!
     
  2. Is the main/only reason that you add cure is to be able to smoke the sausages for longer periods of time...thus adding smoke flavor?  Is there any reason other than this?  Does cure affect the taste of the sausage? The cure will change the flavor of the pork (really whatever meat) and give it a sort of hammy flavor)

    When most are smoking sausages - do you keep some meet uncured/smoke and cook the sausages fresh? I usually do a batch of 1 single version...cured or fresh. You need to hot smoke uncured sausages, but you can low and slow smoke cured ones.

    I guess what I am trying to figure out is if I cure/smoke the entire batch(s) or if I should keep some fresh and cook that way also.  I expect to get answers that tell me to try each and see what I like best (completely understood).  If I do that, can/should I add cure to the entire batch and pull some out after stuffing to cook fresh/freeze and cook when thawed...OR is it best to pull some of the mixed meat out prior to adding the cure and stuff that separate? You are right. Try each and see what you like. The fresh sausage don't need the cure, so I would leave it out.

    In my opinion, fresh sausage tastes very different than cured sausage. Either way, it's fun to make both...cause then you get to 'em!!!

    Hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2015
  3. crazymoon

    crazymoon Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    M26, I did some sausage this weekend and decided to do fresh sausage,it was a Keilbasa minus the cure and smoke. It is excellent tasting and will freeze some for later use. Next weekend I believe I'll use the same meat and spice but add cure and smoke for a totally different taste. Have fun with your sausage making adventures!
     
  4. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    CM when I did my first smoked kielbasi, I think it was chef jj said he puts the cure in the fresh, that way he can freeze it or cook it fresh. That also gives the ability to smoke it after thawing. My next batch will be that way.
     
  5. mschwartz26

    mschwartz26 Smoke Blower

    Thanks for the responses so far...

    Is there a purpose (other than maybe flavoring) to put cure in fresh sausage that is going to be frozen and then fully cooked (not slow smoked)?
     
  6. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Changes the flavor for the better I think... That's it for me....
     
  7. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Another reason is colour enhancement. Fully cooked meat is not as visually pleasant as we are used to. Cured cooked meat will stay pink (or red).
     
  8. reinhard

    reinhard Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    If I make fresh sausage I don't use cure for the most part.  If I make sausage for smoking of course I use cure.  For your question on using cure in your batch of sausage and maybe leaving some for fresh and some for smoking I say go for it.  I have done it many times over the years.  I think the cure "enhances" the flavor and is a plus fresh or smoked.  The only thing that the cure does to fresh sausage besides to enhance the flavor is to give it some color.  I have for example decided to make smoked polish for example, and at the last minute decided to leave it fresh.  Never give it another thought.  I'm thinking of putting cure in my batches of fresh more often now. Some more flavor and a little color,  always a good combo.  Reinhard
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2015
  9. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Cure changes both flavor and texture, if you are making fresh (uncooked) sausage, and of course you are going to freeze it, AND you are going to cook it in a timely manor when thawed, you are right, there is no requirement for adding cure. What you see is folks get so used to using cure that it just is easier just to use it everywhere.

    IMHO, some sausages and processed meats are made to be cured, bacon, andouille, tasso, hams, etc. So are not, but we are seeing a growing change in how meats are looked at within the sausage making industry. I just had a discussion with No1 sausage making company's owner last week about it. He has now gone to adding cure to sausages he did not before strickly for safety. He swears that you can not tell the difference. I find that hard to believe personally but he's gone 100% into cure. They have made the best sausages and andouille in South Louisiana for much longer than he or I have been around.

    I made some meats what I consider to be the 'old" way and have had my hand slapped here upon ocassion. Here's how I look at it, I now cook everything that could leave my house 100% of the time. AS of tomorrow, I will start curing also.

    Bottom line, it would kill me if I actually hurt someone with something I made. I have one exclussion, I will try to make some #2 cured andouille just to see if I can becuase I know that is how it was done when I was a kid.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2015
  10. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    That is BS (you said it too ...in a nicer manner).
    The cured meat taste is obvious unless the meat is drowned in spices.
    Even if the spices are overpowering the meat colour (after cooking) will tell the story.
     
  11. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    When cure (cure#1) is added to fresh sausage the sausage is no longer fresh sausage. It is now cured sausage and cannot become fresh sausage again. It will be raw cured sausage. I don't know how cure is added and doesn't change the structure of the sausage.

    I too add cure to most of my sausages for just that reason. SAFETY. Improper food handling with ground fresh raw meat or sausage can make for a bad day without a preservative to help prevent food born illnesses.... Most of my stuff leaves the house so I want it to as safe as possible and I like the way it tastes...
     
  12. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I'll add my two pennies ... and that would be.... MAKE SURE you label the packages correctly when freezing.. "cured".... "no cure" ... so that way we don't have a mistake when cooking.. mainly when slow smoked ...
     
  13. mickey jay

    mickey jay Meat Mopper

    I recently made a batch of cured kielbasa, and had some scraps that came out of the stuffer that didn't get smoked. I froze it and later fried it up into a burger. It was good but clearly something else was going on (from the cure). It came out the color of corned beef hash or pastrami, with that distinctive cured taste. If I were to do it again and on purpose, I'd go easier on the salt. For some reason it's a good amount when stuffed, but fried up it was a bit much.
     
  14. ron forst

    ron forst Fire Starter

    Personally I put cure in all sausage I make, Including my Brats, and no I dont smoke my brats. I feel "shelf life" in the freezer is longer when cure is in the mix. Try out a small batch of Brats with cure in some time, I really like the color when grilled and they taste great.
     
  15. mschwartz26

    mschwartz26 Smoke Blower

    Great!  I really appreciate all the responses.

    Here is my plan to hit most/all the recommendation:

    Mix everything.

    Pull some mixture out prior to adding cure.

    Add cure.

    Stuff.

    Smoke most of the cured mixture.

    This will leave me some fresh, cured/unsmoked, cured/smoked.

    And as mentioned, I will need to be very careful labeling everything.

    I just remembered that I have about 2 lbs of fat I trimmed off a couple Wagyu briskets.  I believe that will finally come in handy!

    Again, thanks to all for your input.  I really appreciate all the help I get from this forum.

    Mark
     
  16. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Remember to weigh the meat again that you are going to cure.
     
  17. mschwartz26

    mschwartz26 Smoke Blower

    Correct and just for clarification - do I need to make a separate batch with no cure (as part of a difference mixing process all together)?

    I know you add cure based on the weight of the meat.  If I were to add all the meat/fat/spices, mix, then weigh it would be heavier than if I just went off the weight of the meat.

    Is it ok to mix up the meat, fat, spices...take out some 'uncured' mixture...and then weigh for the cure?  If not, what should my process be.  I think I might be over thinking this!
     
  18. The amount of cure is going to only seem like a small pinch if you add all by itself, and I don't think you're going to get even distribution. If I was making a 5 lb batch of sausage that I was splitting in half for cured and uncured, I would dice up all of my meat/fat and separate it before it gets ground. Weigh the meat, and measure out a spice mixture for each batch, one with cure one without. If you think about it, you're essentially making 2 batches of sausage....just one is cured.
     
  19. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Mark I would do all of it separate grind meat, weigh it and mix. I know it takes longer but I feel the extra effort is worth it.I am sure some of the sausage guys will be on to help out.
     
  20. mickey jay

    mickey jay Meat Mopper

    You'll want to go off your total meat+fat weight when measuring cure. It's a good question! I frequently have cutting/grinding days where I'll package 2.5lb or 5lb packs of either cubed or grind so I've got a known weight going in, ahead of time. If you're going to be grinding on the day of mixing, there will be a small handful left in the grinder to account for as well.
     

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