Summer Sausage & "Firecrackers" - recipes, pics, and finish in the sous vide?

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by dward51, Jul 9, 2016.

  1. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've been out from the office burning some leave time this week.  I received a call from my group supervisor the other day and the office is having a "summer cookout" Tuesday, which will also be my first day back at work.  Seemed like they had most of the categories covered so I figured I would make an appetizer of summer sausage.  Also going to make some "firecrackers" to put them on, and the local Kroger had their premium white cheddar slices on 50% markdown so it's sort of coming together.

    Summer sausage recipe is variation of one posted in another forum by MossyMO.  I did make a slight change, but it should be the same flavor profile.  Plan is to stuff them into 1.5" x 12" LEM fibrous casings, smoke on the e-WSM on Monday, and then finish in a sous vide bath in a vac bag at 154*

    (again this idea of finishing in sous vide also came from MossyMO and that thread is here:

    Edit - I have since found out that the original source may actually be from Texas-Hunter (again in another forum).

    Cast of characters (sorry, forgot to include the powdered buttermilk in the photo, ran out and had tossed the container before taking the photo):

    Tangy Summer Sausage - variation of Texas-Hunter/MossyMo's recipe

    The original version was for a 25 pound batch.  I have reduced it for a 5 pound batch.  Also the original recipe indicated you can use 50/50 beef/pork or any other variation. This is the recipe as I made it today.
    • 3 pounds of ground sirloin (90% lean)
    • 2 pounds of ground pork (estimate 70-80% lean estimate)
    • 1 tsp of Cure #1 (pink salt)
    • 2 1/2 TBL of Kosher Salt
    • 1 TBL of Onion Powder
    • 1 TBL of Garlic Powder
    • 1 TBL of Black Pepper
    • 1/2 TBL of Mustard Seed (I lightly crushed them)
    • 1 TBL white Sugar
    • 1 tsp ground Nutmeg
    • 1 tsp ground Basil
    • 1 tsp Coriander Seed
    • 1/3 cup of NFDM (non-fat dry milk)
    • 1/2 cup of Sacco dry Buttermilk powder (not in photo)
    • 1 1/2 tsp of Butcher-Packer #414 sausage phosphate
    • water to dissolve cure with prior to mixing with meat
    • 1 1/2" x 12" fibrous mahogany casings from LEM
    Mixed the cure with warm water to dissolve. All other dry items mixed together,  Mixed the beef and pork by hand before adding the cure and seasonings.  Then added the dry seasonings and mixed, finally added the wet cure and mixed for at least 5 minutes.  The meat will get very tacky (this is what you want).  Sorry but I did get a mixing photo, but it's pretty straight forward.  Back into the fridge for a while to re-chill after the mixing.

    The variation I made was using the Sacco powdered buttermilk for twang instead of Fermento (I was out), and also adding Butcher-Packer #414 phosphates for increased mouth texture, moisture, and to help prevent shrinkage.  Yes, I know.... someone will say "but that's what the NFDM is for", but I used them both and went on the lower end of the range for the sausage phosphate for that reason.  If you have AmesPhos, it would work the same as the BP #414.  Also if you don't have the sausage grade of NFDM and are using the stuff from the grocery store, make sure to grind it very fine as the grocery store version is much courser than sausage grade NFDM.

    Back to the process....

    Put 6 of the casings into warm water and weighted down with a small plate to keep them submerged.  I made sure that the insides of the casings were wetted also.  Let them soak for about 45 minutes.

    Prepping the stuffer.  Since the casings are short, I just used a flexible cutting board as my work surface instead of putting out plastic coated butcher paper like I normally do for sausage.

    Ended up with 5 1/2 of the casings.  I used the meat from the feed tube to add to the short casing so I don't have a sample to fry up and taste today.

    Into plastic bags to keep the casings moist while the flavors do their thing.  It's Saturday evening and I plan on smoking them in the e-WSM on Monday morning.  That should be plenty of time for the flavors to get happy and the phosphates to do their magic as well.

    I will update this thread on Monday as it progresses.  I will also post photos of the "Firecrackers" and the recipe.  I will make these on Monday evening, so they will be fresh and crisp for Tuesday lunch.

    More to follow......
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2016
    mosparky and nepas like this.
  2. nepas

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

    Looking good.

    What sous vide did you get? I got the new wifi Anova last week, had a code and saved $50 and got free shipping.
  3. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The regular blue tooth Anova (not the old square style, but the pre-wifi one).  I bought it on the last deal about a year ago.  If my memory serves correct it was a similar deal.  I think I paid $129'ish....

    Never thought about finishing sticks or sausage in the sous vide until I saw MossyMo's posts about this recently.  I did not have one of the big Nesco roasters, but the sous vide should work great.  Now if the Meater thermometers would just start shipping.  That would be the ultimate sous vide accessory as you could tell the meat temp in a vac sealed bag!
  4. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Looks great!

  5. crazymoon

    crazymoon Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    DW51, I'm in !
  6. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Guy's, I've figured out that the actual source of the original recipe may well be Texas-Hunter so I'm editing the first post to reflect that.  Not sure who's version came first but they are pretty much on point with mine.
  7. driedstick

    driedstick Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looking great so far can't wait for the money shot 

  8. Sounds great. One question, how much water ? This will effect how "tacky" the mix will get and the stuffabilty, I think. I'm makeing a homemade water stuffer and not sure how stiff the meat can be and still work.

     Thanks for posting the recipe. I've been watching for one to be posted and this looks like a good one..
  9. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I used about 1/4 cup mainly to dissolve the cure.  The phosphate has more to do with the meat becoming tacky than the water in this instance.  After about 5 minutes of hand mixing, it was a well mixed, sticky mass of meat.  I had no issues stuffing with my  stuffer which has the nylon gears so I doubt the water stuffer would have any problems.  Remember, you can use a large stuffing tube as the fibrous casing is pretty big.  I used my largest one and it was still smaller than the 1 1/2" diameter casings.  Also, if you try a small portion and it's too stiff, just add a little more water (or beer?).   I also stuffed mine right after mixing and I'm letting the flavors meld in the stuffed fibrous casings for about 36 hours before smoking.  Like most sausage, it will set up more with time which is why I stuffed early (and the phosphates will also contribute to that as well).
  10. Wow only 1/4 cup ? I know that didn't comtribute much to the tackiness. Work has me making burger patties all the time now and all the recipes call for 1/4 cup water in 6 pounds of meat. 2 of the 3 flavors stay pretty much the same as the unseasoned meat, but the third gets real sticky (like sucks the gloves off your hands, sticky). I need to look at the ingredients, I bet it has phosphates or something in it that is contributing to it. I remember thinking "boy I bet this will stuff easy, but what will the texture be like ?"
  11. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Well, the sausage made it to the smoker this morning.  Ran an hour at 120* to dry the surface moisture off and then used a pellet tray with Pitmaster Blend and cranked the temp to 140*.  Here is the sausage when first taken out of the fridge and put on the e-WSM.

    Two hours into the smoke phase of the process.  Note the color change in the casings and the white strings.  You can also see the pellet tray on the lower grate below the sausage.  Still got a way to go.

    I'm smoking these in my e-WSM mod.  It's a 18.5" 2005 model WSM with an electric heating element installed in a spare door. I can swap the doors to either use it as a conventional WSM or an electric.  The heating element is controlled by an Auber Instruments "ready to run" PID controller (as it already built when I bought it).  This is the bomb for sausage and snack sticks in the WSM as temp control is PID accurate.

    This entire thread make take longer than I first thought.  We were supposed to be eating tomorrow at work, but the death of a family member of a co-worker is pushing that date back.  Sausage will keep once done.  It just may be a bit before I post the "fire cracker" part of this cook as those need to be fresh the night before consumption.
  12. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    The sausage looks delicious!

    I really like your setup with the WSM!

  13. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Just got back from the Dentist. No worries with the e-WSM.  The beauty of electric as it was still a rock solid 140* in the pit.  Summer sausage has been on the smoke for about 5 hours, so it's time to pull and finish in a water bath.  I did not bother to take an internal temp, as I'm finishing these in a sous vide bath at 154*.  They were noticeably firmer than when I put them in so they have set up properly (but are not yet fully cooked).

    Fresh off the smoker.  The little one was not packed as tightly as the others.  It was hand filled with the remnants of the stuffer tube and what was in the bottom of the stuffer canister.  The others show no signs of shrinkage or fat out (which I would not expect at 140*).  The little one will be my taste sample when these are done, but I expected it to not be as firm and nice looking.

    Vacuum packed the still hot chubs, 3 per bag (using the wide bags).  They did keep their round shape and there was no evidence of the vacuum flattening the chubs.  This was another sign the meat is mostly cooked and set through.

    Both bags of chubs were then placed into a insulated cooler with the Anova sous vide.  Started with hot tap water and when it gets up to the set point of 154* I will start a 2 hour clock.  That should be plenty of time to bring the internal meat fully up to that temp and complete the cook.  I will probably poke one chub with the Thermapen just to be sure since this is the first time I've tried this method.

    It will be interesting to see if the vacuum packing like this affects the smoke flavor.  There should be no washing off or watering down as it is straight from the pit to the vacuum bag. I could feel the smoke on the casings as I loaded the bags by hand.  I know when I vacuum packed the jerky rounds I recently did, they had a stronger flavor than the ones I did not vacuum pack and kept in a paper bag for consumption.  So this is going to be an interesting experiment.

    Beauty of the Anova is when it says 154*, it is absolutely 154* and there is no danger of over cooking or having fat out with this method.  Should not be any danger of overcooking them either.  I'll post photos and taste comments later tonight when this is done.  In the 15 minutes since I took that last photo, the Anova has the water up to 148*..... Woo Hoo.....

    the saga continues.....
  14. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    OMG!!!!! DISASTER???????

    Well, not really......

    Sitting in the den watching the news and suddenly the lights start to blink on and off.  Yep, there was a line of thunderstorms approaching.  About 8 blinks in....... DARK!!!!!!  Yep, the power went out.....

    Normally this is no big deal, but when you have a little over 5 pounds of meat in a sous vide bath that is dependent on electricity to keep the water at temp and circulating.... well you get the idea.

    Checked the timer and I was 1:45 into my 2 hour sous vide bath time.  So I figured I'm probably ok.  Stuck one of the big chubs with the Termapen and it read spot on 154*.  Woo Hoo......  Disaster averted (plan "B" would be break out the big stock pot and heat water on the side burner of the grill to finish if needed - always have a plan "B").  In retrospect, 2 hours was probably overkill, but with sous vide there is a wide safety margin between done and too done.

    Into cold water with ice to chill.  No shrinkage.....  Again a Woo Hoo moment.

    2 hours later the power is back on, so I'm finally able to post the photos.

    Pealed the short hand stuffed chub.  Looking good....

    First cut - not refrigerator cold, but texture is looking pretty good.  Nice fat marbling and it feels right.

    Close up money shot!!!!!  Flavor is very good.  Mild and flavorful.  These will be fabulous on crackers with cheese when fully set in the fridge.   The sous vide finish is a winner in my book and I will definitely be doing this again.  Also I'm very happy with the way the phosphates affected the final texture.  Moist, firm and just plain perfect mouth feel.

    Since we had to push back the office cook out until Wednesday, I'll post the "fire cracker" recipe and photos of that tomorrow evening. I want them to be fresh.  They are pretty simple and if you have not already saved this recipe (it's been posted in several forums before), it's a winner.  So more to follow tomorrow......
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2016
    bearcarver and driedstick like this.
  15. driedstick

    driedstick Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Dang it man that looks great!!! If it looks this good before fridge, can't imagine after a night in the fridge what it would look like

    Good luck at the office cook out

    Nice job = POINTS

  16. That looks real good.  I just ordered the Butcher-Packer #414 sausage phosphate so I can make some.  Going to add some hot pepper cheese to mine.  Thanks for the recipe.
  17. Not sure what sausage phosphate is or what it does for the sausage, but I tried to look it up on the BP site and got nothing. tried searching phosphate, #414, ect. Nothing.

     Can someone tell me what category it's under or provide a link ?
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2016
  18. mosparky, I found it by doing a google search.  Just put in "Butcher-Packer #414 sausage phosphate" into the search bar.  It came up under meat binders on the Butcher Packer site.  I've never used it before. 
  19. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    They list it as "Special Meat Binder"

    Description is:

    Here is a product which can eliminate the need for any other form of meat binder. Soy protein concentrate, milk powder, whey, starches, and gums are all binders which are used to retain water which makes you think you are getting more. These binders are ineffective for the most part of holding water and the natural juices which are in the meat at temperatures in excess of 165°F. In the meat industry these products are known as fillers and are basically used in cheaper meat formulas. To use the Natural Protein in the meat is the only way to make a wholesome product, and our Special Meat Binder is especially formulated to do just that. Just use 2 oz in 25 pounds of meat instead of soy protein concentrate or any other binder and enjoy a moist and tastier product.

    AmesPhos is another brand, but it serves the same purpose. 

    I was going to reorder some AmesPhos, but I also need some other items from BP, so I just ordered the #414 to keep it simpler.  It appears to work just like AmesPhos and it is less expensive.

    The advantages of phosphates in sausage are; Improved cooked flavor, Reduced loss of meat fluids, Increased tenderness and juiciness, Improved firmer texture, Better and faster color development.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2016
  20. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks Great, Dave!![​IMG]----[​IMG]

    Mighty Tasty![​IMG]

    You Lucked Out !!

    With the power outages we get here, I couldn't live without my Honda Generator!!


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