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Advice on Making Great Summer Sausage

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hi All,

Well, thanks to you guys, I've gotten pretty good at making snack sticks. I made some killer jalapeno sticks this weekend, as well as threw some pepper jack cubes into my garlic stick mix for a great cheese stick.

Now, i am hoping to make some great summer sausage (about 2-3 inches in diameter). I have some questions about casings. Do I want to use collagen or fibrous for this operation?? Is there an advantage of one over the other for summer sausage?? Do they even make larger casings for summer sausage in collagen??

Also, i have a good recipe from my grandfather, who is gone now, but it has no indications of how long to smoke the summer sausage sticks, or at what temps. Is there any rule of thumb for making great summer sausage as far as smoking times. Like I said, I'd like to do 2-3 inch diameter summer sausages about a foot in length (so they can fit in the little chief). How long would i have to smoke them to ensure i don't get the grey circle of failure in the middle that i got the first time i tried to make summer sausage? :)

I assume the temps are going to be the same at roughly 120 for two hours with no smoke, then 150 degrees for the duration of the smoke(however long), then up it to 170 or so until an internal temp of 152? Am I wrong here??

Any help you would be able to give on any of the above points would be appreciated. Thanks again. you guys are the best.
post #2 of 21
Hey Rhino, already moving on to summer sausage? I told you this was an addiction LOL. I can give you a recipe or 2, but it will have to be later as I am in the middle of processing our deer. Came in for a break. I don't know if I mentioned it at all or if anyone else did, but if your getting into the sausage making big time, and I think you areicon_mrgreen.gif, you gotta get a copy of Rytek Kutas's book. Man I tell ya, it is loaded with information. Often called the bible of sausage and meat curing. It is a very good read, loaded with more recipes than you can shake a stick at and other info if you move onto other area of smoking such as cold smoking, making hams and so on.

Even the story of how he got to where he was at is great. I'm sure others will chime in here with a favorite or 2 of their summer sausage recipes, but if not, when I get these deer done, I'll post one or 2 from the book for ya.
post #3 of 21

Great question

I am going to use some collagen cases that I picked up from bass pro.

probably going to mix something up tonight.

Like it has been said this is a fun hobby.

I have "the book" I think the 3rd edition, dont know whats in the 4th edition but full of good information.

Always looking for a good receipe. I have found that the ones in the book are good all round sausges to build on with spices.

Can you post your grandfathers recipe?

Thanks
post #4 of 21
As Meat Hunter suggests, get Rytek's book. The stuff below was made to his Venison Summer Sausage recipe (needs more coarse black pepper and whole mustard seed):



No gray there. Combination of using Insta Cure in the mix (nitrite develops a pink color when cooked) and smoke, but mostly from the nitrite in the cure.

For the batch above, I used collagen casings and mahogany fibrous casings and can't tell any difference.

Cooking times were about 6 hours plus as I recall. Smoker temps start out at 120 to 130 for hour (to dry out the sausage casings), then heavy smoke at the same temps for 2 to 3 more hours, then increase the temps to 165 to 170 until internal temp of sausage reaches 152. As the temp differential narrows at the top, the process slows down. Don't rush it or you will render the fat out.
post #5 of 21
Are you going to use Cure #1 (sodium nitrite) in your Summer Sausage?

For cooking instructions, I would do this (if using cure). If not using cure, don't follow these instructions.
  1. Hang sausages to dry at room temp in a well ventilated area (or with a fan blowing on the casings) for 1-2 hours prior to smoking. Or, place in smoker (no smoke) at 100F for 1-2 hours with the vents wide open to allow the casings to dry out.
    • When placing the sausages in the smoker (hang on wooden dowels or lay on a rack), make sure the sausage are not touching each other or the walls of the smoker. Any place the sausage is touching anything, the smoke will not penetrate.
  2. Increase temp to 140F and smoke for several hours (3 or 4).
  3. Increase temp to 165F and smoke until internal temp of the sausage is 152F.
  4. Remove from smoker and place sausages in an ice water bath to quickly lower the internal temp of the sausage to stop the cooking process until the internal temp is below 110F.
  5. Hang sausages to bloom (achieve the proper color) for 2 hours at room temp before placing in the fridge to chill overnight.
post #6 of 21
All I can add to this thread is that I stuff my SS by hand in fibrous casings, way easier than using the stuffer.
post #7 of 21
I would just listen and do what theses guys tell you to do and yes they are that good.
post #8 of 21
HogWarden and Panther have given you some good advise. I like the fibrous 3.25" by 27" that Butcher& Packer carries. http://www.butcher-packer.com/index....roducts_id=278
you can get two 12" chubs out of one, and are about 1.5 lbs each. good luck, and share some pic's when ya do them
post #9 of 21
Here ya go Rhino. From Ryteks book.

10# Batch

1 Tbl ground black pepper
5 Tbl Kosher Salt
4 Tbl Powdered dextrose
2 tsp Insta cure #1
1 Tbl ground coriander
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp garlic powder (optional)
6 Tbl corn syrup solids
8# lean venison
2# pork trimmings
1 1/4 cup fermento

Grind meat thru a 3/16th plate and the pork trimmings thru a 3/4" plate. You can also cut the trimmings by hand in 3/4" chunks. Place all the meat and trimmings into a container and add all the ingrediants, mixing well to distribute evenly.

Use 3 1/2" fiberous casings.

Hang on smokesticks and dry at room temp for 4-5 hours. Place in a 120-130 degree preheated smoker. Apply heavy smoke and smoke at this temp for 3-4 hours or until the desired color is obtained. Finish by raising temps to 165 degrees and cook until an internal temp of 152 is reached. Remove and shower with cold water until internal temp is 120. Hang at room temp for 1-2 hours until desires bloom is reached. Place into a 45 degrees fridge for 24 hours.

Although this one calls for venison, you could substitute very lean beef for it.


This one a buddy gave me. I am going to try this one this year. This is for a25# batch.

Venison Summer Sausage

15 pounds coarse ground venison. Grind thru a 1/4” plate.
10 pounds coarse ground pork trimmings. Grind thru a 3/8” plate, 1/2” is better.
2 ICE COLD cups of water
2/3 cup Kosher salt
1/4 cup whole mustard seed
1/4 cup coarse ground black pepper
1/4 cup sugar in the raw
3 tablespoons granulated garlic
1 tablespoon marjoram
1 Tbl Cayenne (optional)
5 tsp insta cure


Take ground pork trimmings and venison and put into a mixing tub. Take your 2 cups of Ice Cold water and add insta cure and other spices. Mix well. Add this mixure to the meat and mix until everything is distributed evenly.

Use fiberous casings 2-3 in diameter.

Let hang in a draft free room for 3-4 hours to dry.

Place in a 130 degree pre heated smoker.

Smoke for 2-3 hours with heavy smoke at 130 degrees.

Raise temps to 165 degrees and smoke until internal temp hits 155. Cool with a cold water shower until internal temp hits 110 degrees.

Hang at room temp until you get the color you want, 1-2 hours. Keep enough in the fridge to eat, freeze the rest
post #10 of 21
This is the same recipe that I follow. I did make one change though. I now use Encapsulated Citric Acid instead of Fermento. It's cheaper, plus I can get it from Butcher-Packer (where I get all the rest of my supplies), and I like the taste better. Note: The Encapsulated Citric Acid cannot be put through the grinder or meat mixer, because the capsules can burst. It has to me mixed in by hand just prior to stuffing. The capsules will melt/burst in the smoker when the meat reaches 140F. This will lower the pH of the sausage giving it that tangy fermented taste. Fermento is just an additive that fakes that taste, but doesn't actually ferment the sausage or lower the pH.
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 

Re:

Thanks to all,

In the last few days, i did manage to make it out to pick up a copy of Rytek's book, which is awesome. I got the fourth edition, and holy moly are there a lot of recipes. Thank you for posting the recipes though. Question for you. Where can i buy powdered dextrose, Insta-cure #1, corn syrup solids, and fermento (or encapsulated citric acid). Would someone in the twin cities be able to point me in the right direction?? Also, doesn't this mixture have to sit for a while to properly cure?? I thought it was two days per the book, or i may be thinking of another recipe. I was planning on mixing this up on thursday and stuffing it into casings, then smoking it on saturday. I've only gotten through about the first 30 pages of rytek's book, so it is probably in there.

Also, someone asked what cure that i used. I always use morton's tender quick, but as of late, i am having trouble finding it. would you recommend going with a different one? and if so, where can i find it??
post #12 of 21
Hey Rhino. I know that there are some butcher shops in the area. Maybe look for ones on the outskirts of town, ones that have a bit more old town country customers. They should have most anything you need.

If not, you can get most anything you need thru ebay, lots of good sellers on there that deal with sausage and meat curing.

Otherwise, here a couple links for you.

http://www.sausagemaker.com/

http://stores.curleyssausagekitchen.com/StoreFront.bok
www.lemproducts.com/

http://www.sausagesource.com/

Like I said, you would probably have better luck on the butcher shops that are out of the cities. As far as basic stuff though like insta cure aka, pink curing salt, Cabelas and Gander both carry that as does Fleet Farm if you have one of them in the area.
post #13 of 21
In addition to the sites Meat Hunter mentioned, there's this one: http://www.butcher-packer.com/. I like it the best. Prices are cheaper across the board over The Sausage Maker and shipping prices are a little better. They have everything you mentioned except Fermento (but they do have Encapsulated Citric Acid). They are out of Detroit, not sure of where you could get those ingredients locally.

No, ground meats don't have to sit for a while to cure. Only whole meat cuts have to sit when curing so the cure can penetrate to the center. You can grind/stuff/smoke without any wait between if you want. I generally grind & stuff one day, then let it sit overnight in the refrigerator and smoke the next day. Letting it sit can help the flavors of the spices meld with the meat, but it doesn't have to sit for a prolonged period to cure. It certainly won't hurt anything to let it sit in the fridge for 2 days.

Dry cured sausages (e.g. pepperoni, salami, Spanish Chorizo, etc.) have to ferment for a couple of days, then hung to dry for days/weeks/months, but you are talking a completely different ball game there.
post #14 of 21
I'm in the process of making one of Rytek's different summer sausage recipes (the Cervelat Summer Sausage). In doing that, I noticed how similar several of his summer sausage recipes are, EXCEPT the venison one above (which I have made and posted about in this thread). Almost as if a couple steps were left out. As in the part about packing it into fermentation tubs for one or two days, then re-grinding through a 1/8" plate, then stuffing and smoking.

That may very well make a difference in the outcome. I'm wondering if portions of this were left out. As you read those recipes, beef chucks become beef cheeks, etc. One has 6 table spoons salt (.375 cups) vs. 1/3 cup (.333 cups). But basically, they are all the same. The order of the ingredients change but not the quantity. One uses coriander vs. nutmeg, but that's about the only difference. Even for the venison version...... except for those missing steps.

Something to consider if you are making that particular recipe.
post #15 of 21
Have any of you tryed to put some wine or apple cider vinegar in your SS? I did my last time I made it and will be trying it later today. I will let everyone know how it comes out. I am thinking it will give it a nice tang. We shall see.
post #16 of 21
Lots of good info here already, I don't have much to add. A Little Chief isn't your best bet for smoking, but you are on the right track with keeping the sticks at about a foot. I would check often to be sure the lower half (assuming you hang them) aren't geting done sooner than the upper half. That was a problem I found with Little Chiefs was uneven heat distribution. Another thing I would add would be to use hog rings instead of twine to close off your casings. Makes life a lot easier, especially when doing any amount. Here are some of my last years efforts:
LL
LL
LL
post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 

pantherfan83

hi all,

Thanks for all of your help. I just got back from an unsuccessful deer hunting season. Jeez, I've gotten a deer every year for 5 years straight, then the one year i take up sausage making, I get skunked. Oh well.

While I was chasing bambi, we did have a rainy day and i stuffed up some bratwurst and made some incredible summer sausage. The recipe is Rytek's recipe for jalapeno and cheddar summer sausage from the 4th edition, but instead of the cheese, i put in 2 Tbsp Minced garlic and 1.5 tsp mustard seeds. Granted I probably didn't do much other than deprive my family of cheese, but it is a fantastic garlic sausage with just a little bit of burn at the end from the jalapenos. good lord, i made 6 - 1 lb sticks, my brother took two back to michigan, and we ate the rest. Very tasty. I will post some more pics when i make a bigger batch of it.

Question for the gurus, i ordered some dextrose from butcher-packer, as all of the stuff was way cheaper than the stuff from sausage-maker. Is the dextrose from there the powdered dextrose as in rytek's book?? and if not, is there any conversion needed between the powdered and whatever for that stuff is in?? Long story short, can i use the stuff from butcher-packer in the same amount as is in rytek's book??
post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 

pantherfan83

hi all,

Thanks for all of your help. I just got back from an unsuccessful deer hunting season. Jeez, I've gotten a deer every year for 5 years straight, then the one year i take up sausage making, I get skunked. Oh well.

While I was chasing bambi, we did have a rainy day and i stuffed up some bratwurst and made some incredible summer sausage. The recipe is Rytek's recipe for jalapeno and cheddar summer sausage from the 4th edition, but instead of the cheese, i put in 2 Tbsp Minced garlic and 1.5 tsp mustard seeds. Granted I probably didn't do much other than deprive my family of cheese, but it is a fantastic garlic sausage with just a little bit of burn at the end from the jalapenos. good lord, i made 6 - 1 lb sticks, my brother took two back to michigan, and we ate the rest. Very tasty. I will post some more pics when i make a bigger batch of it.

Question for the gurus, i ordered some dextrose from butcher-packer, as all of the stuff was way cheaper than the stuff from sausage-maker. Is the dextrose from there the powdered dextrose as in rytek's book?? and if not, is there any conversion needed between the powdered and whatever for that stuff is in?? Long story short, can i use the stuff from butcher-packer in the same amount as is in rytek's book??
post #19 of 21
to bad on getting skunked...I hate that...As for the dextrose YES. you got what you needed. Amounts and everything should all be fine.
post #20 of 21
this is also something of a personal preference. If you want more tang or more sweetness in your sausages. You can play with these ingredients. Your curing agent is what needs to stay the same if you are smoking your sausage. Maple sugar is a decent substitute for dextrose. I have used pure cane sugar for a sub and it works great.
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