Thanks to assistance from Couger78 and Mike Johnson, I made my first summer sausage this week.
I pretty much followed the recipe and process that Couger did in this excellent post:
The only thing I did differently from Couger was that I scaled the recipe for 3 lbs of meat. Also, I mixed the meat, salt, and Cure #1 together first and refrigerated those overnight prior to mixing in the rest of the ingredients and stuffing the fibrous casings.
Two 1-1/2 lb summer sausage chubs....
I hung them in the smoker and let them dry at about 100 deg F for 1 hour without any smoke being applied. Then I used a mix of hickory and apple in the AMNPS and gradually raised the temperature.
Temperature control was hard using my electric smoker without a PID. They ended up spending about 10 hours in the smoker to get to 153 deg F as I was trying so hard to keep it below 180 deg in the smoker. I ran out of smoke about 6 hours into it, and didn't bother to reload the AMNPS. But, these electric smokers are miserable at temperature swings. Eventually I ran out of time, had to bump up the temperature, and ended up with the temp spiking above 200 deg F in order to keep the smoker running between 170 - 180 deg F.
Because of these temp swings, I did end up having fat render out of the sausages. Clearly, I have some room for improvement.
Anyway, after soaking in cold running water to cool it down and after resting overnight, here is what it looked like on the inside....
Despite rendering out some of the fat, the sausage was still tasty. Better than some commerical summer sausage I've tried.
And here is the money shot! My first homemade summer sausage, topped with my own hickory-smoked cheddar cheese that has been resting for a month.
Thank you again, Kevin and Mike Johnson, for answering my questions and helping me out on my first summer sausage!
Thanks for looking!