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Summer Sausage Process Question

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

In preparation for my first attempt at beef summer sausage, I've been searching and reading a lot of posts here which has been invaluable to me. I have one point of confusion. I've seen two recommended ways to mix and process the meat. 


One is to grind the meat, mix in the cure and spices, then stuff the casings. Put the stuffed sausages in the fridge overnight to cure. The other is to grind the meat, mix in the cure and spices cover the bowl with plastic wrap in the fridge overnight, and then stuff the casings.


I assume it does the same thing but is one method better than the other? Are there pros and cons to each? That actually leads me to another mixing question. I've seen some recipes that call for mixing water with the meat, spices and cures. I happen to be trying a spice mix from Excalibur but there is no reference to mixing water. Also many of the recipes I've seen posted don't mention it either. On the other hand, I just watched a Youtube video where he mixed 2 cups of water to 10 pounds of meat. Any recommendations?


One final question comes up in the heating/smoking process. I understand that the first hour in the smoker set at 150 degrees is to dry the surface of the casings so the smoke will be absorbed. The question I have is when, or if, you put water in the water pan in the smoker. I've also seen both ways.


I appreciate the help as I want to do it right the first time so then I can start experimenting..Thanks.

post #2 of 11

Usually the recipes using cure #1 in the spice mixes are the ones that cure in the casings. I let cure at least one day in the bowl with an extra mix to blend the spices and cure before stuffing the casings.After that with cure #1 the meat can get a little firm to stuff.I still prefer at least a 3 day cure total. The recipes using Tenderquick are generally cured in the mixing bowl and remixed at least once a day for three days.It seams Tenderquick isn't as fast to blend as cure#1. Most recipes call for a quantity of water to blend the cure and spices and to make stuffing a bit easier. Put the cure and spice in the water to dissolve then add to the meat for a better blend. Even if the particular spice blend I'm using makes no mention of water I'll use a small amount to blend the spices and cure (it does'n take much,I kind of make a paste ), it also helps the jerky gun flow better. It may take a bit longer to dehydrate, but whats the diff. between 8 hrs. or 8 1/2 hrs. if the spice blend better and the product tastes better?

post #3 of 11

Remember a lot of this is personal preference.  I dont tink it makes a difference weather you leave the seasoned and cured meat mix in a container [covered] or stuff it and leave it in the fridge overnight and smoke the next day.  I stuff after leaving the mix in the fridge overnight in a glass or plastic container.


I always mix the seasonings and the cure in cold water and pour over my meat mix. I feel that the meat mix gets a better mix this way [again personal preference].  I also use water or beer in all my sausage with amounts depending on type of sausage made and the lean to fat ratio used.  I also believe the cure should be mixed in water even though you may decide to just sprinkle the season over the meat mix without using water.  Being in the buisness my working days i have never seen it done another way.


As far as water in the pan, i have sand in mine.  Dont use water in the pan for sausage, just vent control.  Reinhard

post #4 of 11

Another option is to sprinkle the seasoning over the chunked up meat and mix with your hands. The next day grind the way you want it. I'm making some summer sausage right now and this time I coarse ground the meat and mixed the seasonings and added Nonfat powdered milk and a small amount of water. Today I ground it through 4.5mm plate or 1/8". I wanted to stuff after that but ran out of time so it will sit another day. Here is how it looked today.


I also grind meat, mix seasonings and cure, and stuff. It takes cure about 4 hours to do it thing. Then hang to dry and form a pellicle and then smoke.

post #5 of 11

Looks great Woodcutter!!  Looking forward to the final product!! Reinhard

post #6 of 11
Yeah... me too.......
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks all for the great input. Since I am going to start out using 80/20 ground beef this time, is there a need to do a second, finer grind prior to stuffing? I've seen recipies with just one grind and others with two. Thanks
post #8 of 11

No further grinding required.  80/20 ground chuck has already been ground twice. I used to run a grinder/chopper.  You would throw whole chunks of meat in one hopper and it would break it up to smaller chunks, then go through a course plate into another grinder chamber where it would be ground through a finer plate ready for the counter.  So your good to go.  Reinhard

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

Perfect! Thanks Reinhard.

post #10 of 11

I think they have you well covered. I'm looking forward to seeing your sausage.

Happy smoken.


post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

Startin' them today. I'll post photos of the whole process as soon as they are done! Can't wait and I appreciate all the help and advice Thanks everyone.

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