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Cervelat Summer Sausage

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Having built a propane smoker, I was wanting to test it on something. Looking over Rytek's book, I noticed a recipe called Cervelat Summer Sausage (page 359, 4th Edition), which called for, among other things, beef hearts. Just so happens I had some frozen beef hearts left over from a piece of calf we got from friends, along with some beef chuck and pork fat. With all that I was ready to go. I pretty much followed the recipe to the letter, except that based on previous experience, I wanted some coarse pepper and whole mustard seed (for flavor and appearance), so I added 1 teaspoon of coarse cracked black peppercorns and 1 teaspoon of whole mustard seed. Just for grins, when you measure out your spices, try to touch each one to your tongue to ID what the flavor is. That way, later on, you will recognize it if it shows up too strong. The pepper was extra and I can notice it (other say they can't).

Process was to grind the chuck and hearts with a 3/16" plate, leaving pork fat coarse, then with all spices, into a fermentation tub for 2 days:

"After two days, pull it out and regrind through a 1/8" (!!) plate".

I only have one grinder with a 1/8" plate, my #22. That was a workout. For the first time in a long time, I broke into a sweat trying to grind something. I'd say this juice isn't worth the squeeze. Stick with the 3/16" plate:

That was stuffed into casings in the morning. Three of them pulled out and cold smoked for 6 hours (pretty heavy) and 3 of them saved back to follow the instructions to the letter.

The regular smoke session started out at 6 AM. Smoker warmed up to around 125* to 130*, sausage in for about 45 minutes to dry out, then 5 hours of moderate to at times, heavy hickory smoke at the 130*. Then temps ramped up to 160* or so for several hours. As per the recipe, final temp goal was 145* for the sausage.......not the 152* most of his recipes call for.

I kept close watch of temps all day. Both digital and dial on the barrel. They stayed together:

To get an idea how long this takes, I charted both the smoker and sausage temps, all day long:

What I noticed from this was how the sausage seemed to maintain about 30 degrees of separation from the smoker temps. Get the meat to within 30 degrees and it would plateau. That started to happen at 3 hours. Meat got up to around 100 and stopped rising. Once the smoker temp was raised, the meat started moving again, until it got to 132*, then hung there for over 2 hours. Again, that 30 degrees of separation.

What to do? On the package my sausage casings came in were a different set of instructions from Ryteks:

Smoker temps to 170* or 180*???? As I didn't have all day, I pushed the smoker temps on up to 170* (Rytek's upper limit), and watched the sausage temps start moving again. Again they stopped. Executive decision time. I pushed them on up to 180* and the temps then bumped up to my goal of 145* and after 10 1/2 hours, it was declared done:

Out of the smoker, the smell of hickory was very noticeable. It hit you when you walked into the room. After the water bath and blooming (2 hours).....not so much. In the sausage.....hardly much smoke flavor at all. It could handle more. Casings were dry....temps were right. To overwhelm this with smoke would require a heavy fog boiling out. Something I didn't do.

But all in all, a good smoke. The real test is will anybody eat it, and it's going fast!
post #2 of 14
Wow what a great step by step.......I love the chart also. So how did it taste to you. I know you talked about the smoke flavor not being really present but how was the over all flavor?points.gif
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
It's good. 3 out of 3 (other than me) that have tasted it said it was like the "store bought" stuff. I take that as being edible and about right on all counts.

Smoke flavor is not quite what they have, but they use the.... ahem......liquid stuff.

I'd bump up the fermento by about half a cup next time (1.5 cups in the recipe). Or try that citric acid stuff. Could use a little more of that "tangy" taste, but this is real close to one I'd make 50 pounds of and not think twice about it.
post #4 of 14
Nicely done! I think this is going on the to do list when my daughter is home for Christmas break.
post #5 of 14
What a great smoke!! I really appreciate the step by step with pics. One thing I noticed in the pictures is that you have your smoker set on blocks. You need to be very careful with those due to them blowing up if they see too much heat or direct flames.
post #6 of 14
i want somePDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #7 of 14
WOWis all I can say for sure. Now that is some of the best summer sausage I have seen in but haven't tasted. Now jerry's (pineywoods) I have tasted so he has the best mark. But I will be making some soon enough and I will use the BIBLE for some recipes and it's a pretty good read too.points.giffor sure.
post #8 of 14
Nice lookin summer sausage. There is a hickory powder ya can add if ya wan't a bit more hickory taste. Some stuff just won't absorb enough ta get ya where ya wanna be without over cookin em, or taken two weeks longer then a sled dog trip in the Amazon!biggrin.gif
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Lost in the shuffle of doing this batch SS was the experiment of cold smoking half of it. We tried the first sample of the cold smoked version today and found it to be nearly perfect in smoke flavor. Well ahead of the stuff we smoked the next day. The next FULL batch I do will be done as cold smoked.

To recap, after stuffing.....I put 3 tubes in the drum and cold smoked it for about 6 to 8 hours. Hickory and pecan shells smoldering in a dutch oven, where it smoldered all day long and into the evening. Ambient temps outside were in the 50's. Ambient temps dropped into the 40's that night with the cold smoked stuff still hanging out there. Then pulled them and allowed them to come to room temperature while "hot" smoking the second wave......which followed the process of several hours smoke at 130 degrees.

When I cranked the temps up to the 160 degree level for the hot smoked, I put the cold smoked half in the drum to cook them together. They finished at the same time.

Something to consider.
post #10 of 14
Great Post, the sausage looks great... Something I plan on making soon...
post #11 of 14
Great looking stuff! This is all kinda new to me, thanks for doing a tutorial style post on making sausage... I'm going to have to think about kicking up my repertoire. points.gif
post #12 of 14
I don't know how I missed this one but great post with a ton of Q-view. Points to you HW
post #13 of 14
Great post and qview, Hog Warden! I learned from friends who only cold smoked ring sausages, so when I first tried summer sausage I did that the same way--smoked first, then cooked. I always thought I got better smoke penetration that way, but it was really just a guess. After your experiment, we all know for sure!
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Two benefits to the cold smoke if you go that route. First, the process of stuffing, hanging to dry, hot smoking for 4 or 5 hours at 130* or so, then finishing the smoke to around 150* internal on the SS is going to take 15 to 20 hours. Cold smoking spreads this out over two days.

Second is the process of cooking without having to generate smoke is much simpler. Just fire up the smoker to around 160* to 170* and go about your business until it's done. This works best for me with that propane burner setup.

Looks like more of this will be forthcoming. We have a side of beef at the locker plant now being processed, which is one of 3 calves our friends raised. Nobody seems to want the hearts and this is way to turn them into something folks will eat. It's like mincemeat pie.....the version with meat in it......you just don't tell em what's in it until after they eat it.
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