Anyone else here doing non-fermented semi-dry sausages?

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by forluvofsmoke, Jun 12, 2011.

  1. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Can anyone direct me to info for GRAS (generally recogized as safe) methods for either a warm-to-hot smoke chamber drying method,  refrigerated drying, or a combination of the two, being refrigerated drying which transitions to warm/hot drying/smoking.

    I've found tons of info for fermented semi-dry and dry shelf-stable products, much of it being what I was studying a couple of years ago. But I'm looking for info on cured non-fermented semi-dry product, if it exists. I don't want to be the guinea pig if there already is a proven method. And, most importantly, I don't want to find out the hard way what the time/temp limits are for cured meat mixes, or that the risk for things to go wrong resulting in an end-product being unsafe are too high.

    It doesn't happen often, but I may have exhausted my researching skills on this one...(huff-puff-pant...but, not giving up just yet).

    Any info on the subject would be very greatly appreciated.

    Thanks all!

  2. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    What kind are you wanting to make?

    You can use a regular Summer Sausage or Bologna recipe (non dry fermented) smoke in your normal way to your IT. Bloom (cool) in the fashion you like, Place chubs in a brown paper bag in the fridge for a couple days. This will cut the green weight by 30-40% and give you a semi dry style chub.
  3. solaryellow

    solaryellow Limited Mod Group Lead

    Why are you opposed to fermentation Eric?
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2011
  4. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Well, I've mainly been toying with a basic beef salami recipe I've made a few times as a semi-dry, many times as just a smoked/fully cooked, and I have a chicken sausage recipe I wanted to try as a semi-dry as well.

    That's an interesting method you mentioned about the paper bag...hadn't heard of or thought of it. Definitely worth incorporating into anything else I have done in the past, or will be doing in the future.

    My main concerns with the drying methods I've been trying up to this point are not really knowing for sure how long I can hold cured meat in a fridge to begin the drying, and/or at low smoker temps, say 100-120*. I actually started one @ 85-90* and took over a day to bring up to finish temp with a 2.5lb 3" H x 4" W uncased loaf...28 hrs? Yea, crazy-long ride at lower heat. I guess I've never seen any hard data on where you need to draw the long the meat can be in the 41-135* range before it could become a risk, etc. My thought is that at some point in time, there's going to be issues, and I want to avoid that altogether. But, I also want to get as dry of sausage as possible (without fermenting...not ready for that gig, yet) while staying within reasonable margins for safety. I just don't know where that border is, and don't want to push the envelope over the edge.

    Maybe this is just not a feasable idea. If so, I'll just have to settle for the semi-dry I can do with the margins I've stayed with in the past.

    That paper bag trick has really got me thinking now, though. That would give me 3 opportunities to reduce the overall water weight...pre-smoke, smoke, post-smoke. Definitely gotta try it!

    Thanks for your help, brother!

  5. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I was shown the paper bag trick by an Amish friend.

    I made some Landjaeger a couple months back where i smoked at low temp and hung to dry with a 70%R/H to reduce the green weight. Made 3 lbs and it went really fast. I have Droewros drying now at 70* going on 3 days now. Checked and they are getting close.

    I been doing sausage and jerky since 1977 and never been sick and thats even when i used salt peter (Potassium Nitrate) 100% pure.

    I did chicken slim jims that turned out pretty good.
  6. nogoer

    nogoer Meat Mopper

    First off  Nepas is your best source of info here on drying sausage. Second, i think your over complicating it. Humans have been making dry sausage for millenia and doing it whatever way they could figure out.

    I have made a few attempts at exactly what i believe your describing. In fact if im right then the book Charcutrie has a recipe you may want to find for Saucission Sec. Which is an unfermented dried sausage made form pork. The recipe is essentially just grinding up pork meat, adding some basic seasoning and cure, stuffing and then hanging it to dry until it's done in a few weeks to a month.

    Now i know i said your overcomplicating it, but they don't call stuff like this artisinal for nothing. There is almost as much art to it as science. Things like relative humidity and temperature play a giant role in the final product and it's safeness to eat.

    Here is a link to a thread i started when doing a recipe i got from a friend...

    Its for an "italian" dried sausage which is also unfermented and just hung up to dry. His family is from italy and this is how they have made thier dried sausage for generations. Most of the time they don't even use cure he said, but they make sure to hang in a perfect place and don't let anything touch.
  7. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Oh, not opposed, just not ready to take that big of a leap yet. I've only been making simple cured/smoked sausages for a couple years of and on, and took a few cracks at cured/smoked semi-dry just in the past couple weeks. I thought I may have been pushing the safety limits with what I did, but from the sounds of it, I wasn't doing anything that seemed to really stretch it badly.

    The dried sausages captured my interest quite awhile back, but I need to educate my self quite a bit more on the uses of lactic cultures, bacterial fermentation, do's & don'ts, etc, before I'll be comfortable with that type of process. I'm really not equipped anywhere near where I'd like to be before I start that endevour, so I'm just taking it slow and steps...walk before I try to run...LOL!!!

    Hmm, that is comforting to know. What I had read about certain types of sausages gave me the impression that fermenting was needed for a long-term cool/warm drying to be successful. The reduced pH from the good bacterial fermentation holding down the bad bacteria's activity. That was over a year ago when I was studying that, so I may have misinterpreted something along the way.

    Yea, I guess it's just a bit spooky to think about if you don't fully understand the process. My thought was, cured is cured, and un-cured is fresh...fresh is a no-brainer, but cured had me thinking that there's just got to be a breaking-point somewhere, when your time in the safety net runs out. But then, as water activity decreases during drying, it causes even less chance for harmful bacteria to become active.

    So, am I correct in thinking that with a dry sausage, the longer it hangs and drier it gets, the safer it is? Or, would there be certain situations which may dictate the use of additional precautions, such as lower humidity? It's commonly 30-45% R/H in my area unless stormy weather is nearby, and typically 40-42% in my small fridge (without drying meat inside)...that's why I mentioned the reduced R/H factor. If a sausage were to dry correctly in 70% R/H, it may dry the surface too quickly and hold onto interior moisture much longer. In a few old techniques I read about somewhere awhile back, it mentions to dry in a low-draft area if lower humidity was typical, or was expected during the sausage drying...make sense?

    Thanks everyone!

  8. nogoer

    nogoer Meat Mopper

    From what i have learned, the more airflow the better. It helps by getting rid of excess moisture easier which is the main goal in dried sausage. My last attempt took almost 3 weeks and it was in a low airflow area with a humidity somewhere around 60-70%. As long as your using cure #2 then the risk of bacteria is low enough. Like you though i have as of yet been unable to actually try eating anything i have dried. I keep having issues with stuffing and making sure there are no voids or airpockets and getting it stuffed tight enough.

    The drying too quickly on the outside is what's referred to as "case hardening". It is when the casing dries and acts as a barrier to evacuating the interior moisture. I have been overly concerned with this myself and could have sworn for the entire second week of drying my last batch had hardened. I was wrong and it had merely slowed down in drying.
  9. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Get and read any or all of the Marianski sausage making books (Amazon) and you will have a much better understanding of the types of curing/drying/fermenting porcesses.

  10. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You know, now that you mention the case hardening being the issue, I may be able to do some cold drying in my small fridge with a small DC powered fan to move a little air. It's a fridge with a small freezer compartment that's open to the fridge...(cold from the freezer evaporator is what chills the fan). I have a small digital thermo-hygrometer which stores min/max and current readings which I've been using for curing since I got the fridge over a year ago...this would help to see how dry it's getting in the fridge, as with using a fan, the evaporator will collect more humidity and freeze it to the evaporator. It's a manual defrost, so no worries of drips getting on least it hasn't been an issue to this point in time. As long as I keep a reasonble amount of interior humidity, I should be able to pull it off for semi-dried smoked/fully cooked sausages, at least.

    Not ready for the dried uncooked gig...I'll need to take a hard look at what I'd need for the proper invironment to do it correctly. Environmental controls being the first step, then a dedicated combination incubation unit & fridge. I have a larger fridge outdoors right now, but in winter it would need to be heated to maintain temps. We routinely see -20 to -30*F in mid-winter, and at times colder than that. Maybe sometime in the future...but that's a ways down the road.

    Yea, I need to consider a few books...most of my outdoor cooking related knowledge I've gained here on the forums, but anything beyond the basic cured/smoked sausage is a whole new animal.

    Thanks for your input, fellas!

  11. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  12. Mike.mzman

    Mike.mzman Newbie

    I know this is an old thread, but I have the same original question: Can I skip the fermentation, and just smoke sausage links until dry (sausage jerky)? I would love to try fermented sausages, but I am in an apartment and in Florida. I just don't have the space or means to keep the temperature low enough to cure sausage this way. I do have a great smoker though, and am pretty sure I had some dried sausages in Germany that only spent a night or two in a smoker.

    Any help would be appreciated.

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