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Smoked Sausage - Without Nitrites or Nitrates

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Is it possible to cure or make smoked sausage without the use of nitrites and/or nitrates?

I suffer from insane migraines and I'm led to believe that ingredients in the cures are one of my triggers. I made an Eastman Outdoors snack stick kit and the next day I paid for it with a massive migraine. Now I have a couple more kits sitting in the pantry that I'm afraid to use because of the curing process.

I love smoked sausage and peperoni... Does anyone have any safe methods to utilize that would avoid using the nitrates and nitrites?
post #2 of 20
I sometimes make sausage and hot smoke it right on the grates without any cure. I smoke it at 225 so it gets done pretty quick and it comes out decent tho I haven't tried snack sticks like that
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
That's great news, thanks very much for the reply!

I'm dying to make some more smoked sausages, but they're just not worth the headache (forgive the pun...). PDT_Armataz_01_03.gif

I'm still making fresh brats, but those end up being sauteed in beer or butter and red peppers and put on a bun.
post #4 of 20
Poke a couple small holes in the casing on the side thats going to be on the grates for the grease to drip out. I have hot smoked brats, and breakfast sausages, and venison sausage
post #5 of 20
Backcountry u can PM Andy-BBchevpro-he lives in canada and been smoking sausage for ever without cures-he is a great sausagemaker and real friendly-tell him bacon bob sent ya-good luck.aka desertlites.
post #6 of 20
Smoke at a high temp (like 225 F) and pull when the sausage reaches an internal temp of 180 F.
post #7 of 20
Get Rytek Kutas's book on sausage making, read the part about botulism, then decide if you want to try eating smoked sausage without the nitrite cure.

In this context, the term "smoked" means slow temp cooking that smokes/cooks the meat to a safe internal temperature, but not so hot as to cook the fat out, which would turn it mealy and dry.

In this process, you get a moist environment.....low oxygen....temps in the 150 to 160 range for several hours. To die for......literally.

With fresh sausages, some of us do with brats, should be OK. You could also put some liquid smoke in your sausage and steam it in a shallow pan with a little water or beer, later taking the lid off to brown it in the drippings.
post #8 of 20
Yeah what he said, it just won't be that red color. Or you could stuff it all and freeze it before smoking and smoke it like some folks do hot dogs...
post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
Care to elaborate? What will freezing the sausages do before smoking to prevent the "bad stuff" from happening with no cure?
post #10 of 20
Nothing that I know of. You can kill parasites (trichinosis) by freezing pork (at x temp for y time period), but it wouldn't help you at all with preventing botulism.

Basically if you don't add a cure, you can't smoke it (low & slow) as much as you have to cook/grill it. Grilling it in a smoker with smoke will give some smoke flavor, but not as much as smoking it low and slow would.
post #11 of 20
Being a doc and a migrainier, I wonder if there is MSG in your packaged spices. This is a very likely culprit for migraine. Nitrates can be an issue, but less so. If there is MSG, you may want to try some sausage made from scratch with cure.

My 2 cents.
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
MSG is something I try to stay away from as well; simply because it's a well known trigger. Tough when I like potato chips so much and most chips seem to have it... But other than that, I try to keep away from MSG for the most part.

I'll have a look in the Eastman kits and see if there's MSG. Maybe it's worth trying some from scratch like you say, Doc. biggrin.gif
post #13 of 20
I would have to say that any mass produced sausage kits have some chemicals in them that you dont want. I would try to make a batch of sausage with some natural ingredients and see how things come out. In fact, if you have a favorite or something youd like to try, PM me and tell me what it is and I will see if I have a all natural recipe for you. Almost every kit I have seen contains MSG. Also, it is my understanding, that the nitrites/nitrates, leech out so to speak in the smoking process. Also, any root vegetables that you buy in the store have nitrites in them as well. My neighbor, who is one of the largest Organic farmers in Minnesota, tells me that root vegitables that are grown in the conventional manner, i.e., treated with fertilizers, contain higher levels of nitrates than some processed meats.
post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
That's crazy that some veggies could contain more nitraites than some processed meats. It really could be the MSG then. I will have to try to remember to look at the ingredients in these Eastman kits that I have left. I was fine eating the Beer & Cheddar Brat kits from Eastman, just not the snack sticks.
post #15 of 20
I'm pretty sure Celery contains more nitrates by weight than a properly cured slice of ham. You have trouble with ham and bacon? if not, I bet the MSG or God knows what in those pre-packaged cures is the problem, not the minor amount of nitrate/nitrites left in proprly cured meats. Most of the stuff is converted to NO <Nitrous oxide> during the curing process, which is actually what reacts with the protiens to effect the "cure". Look into Morton's Tenderquick, or the Prague #1 cure and make a batch with it.

Good luck... hope this helps!
post #16 of 20

Country, I just left the health food store where they sell both beef and turkey sticks.that claim no nitrites,all natural. I read the ingrediants and there in clear was celery juice. I just ordered a cure from butcher&packer that is listed an natural. But it contains natural things and not the chemical nitrite. I to have a problem when I get smoked snack sticks from a butcher in so.Ill ecept it does me in differently. will post how well it does for me once I get some sticks done. Its not cheep but if I can enjoy venison sticks and summer sausage again then it will be well worth it.I also have to stay away from msg, nasty little chemical. there are companies that make seasoning with out msg that are real good.  Dave

post #17 of 20
post #18 of 20

I think you will be ok as long as you get the sausage cooked past 140° within 4 hours. Or take them out of the freezer fresh thaw in the frigde and smoke for a few hours then get them thouroully cooked and eat....

post #19 of 20

When ya don't use any "ites" or 'ates'  What ya have is in essence fresh or green sausage.  Can ya smoke it??  do ya smoke chicken or brisket?? do ya use "ites"on it???? Same thing.  what ya gotta remember is ya cant leave it hanging out in the fridge for a month.  Smoke it grill it and treat it like ya would any non preserved meat

post #20 of 20
I often cook fresh sausage at about 220 for about 1.5-2 hours. It gets a great smokey taste and cooks the meat, but is different than colder smoking where a cure is needed. The cooked sausages freeze and reheat excellent. This is not the treatment for snack stix, summer sausage, etc.. Fresh sausage, { brats, Polish, Italian, etc.) that have been frozen can be thawed and cooked in this manner without issue ,
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