First of all, thanks for all the wonderful information in these forums. I am beginning a home made smoker project (thanks Todd and the amazin smoker). I have now been exploring some of the sausage threads and don't mean to revisit the botulism topic, but I am curious on your opinion.
We are going to be butchering 3 hogs this weekend (that says Merry Christmas!). I remember grew up and doing this every winter with my grandparents and family. It is a lot of work, but brings the family together. We haven't continued the tradition for a number of years, but I am trying to revive the tradition. Besides the chops, ground pork, roasts, etc... We stuff a lot of casings. I don't think the old recipes that were used for years included a cure. And I don't think the smoking methods were as precise as what I have read on these forums. In fact, the smoke house is an old grain shed and the sausages are hung from the rafters and smoke generated from burning cut hickory. I don't think the internal meat temperature reached the 140F mark. I could be wrong, but I will test my theory this weekend.
I would guess that the reason that no one has fallen ill from Botulism toxin is that the pork sausage is always thoroughly cooked. It is taken out of the freezer and baked in an oven at 350F for an hour. Its an easy, minimal preparation, and excellent meal. But would the taste quality suffer if this smoking/curing (or lack there of) process was incomplete. I have always thought the taste was excellent.
Anyway, just a quick thought and I thank you all in advance for your response. We are even going to breakout the old school blood-wurst recipe. Has anybody tried blood sausage?