First Sausage SUCCESS Story / Recipe, Details, Pictures.

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by 12gage, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. I spent this past weekend working on the various processes of making my first successful sausages! It was a lot of fun, and the reward of a great batch of sausage was well-worth the effort!

    Backstory: A couple of years ago I made breakfast sausage links using collagen casings. While they were technically a success, I didn't really count them as such, because I used a generic recipe I found on the internet, and I wasn't a fan of the collagen casings I used. Likewise, I made some good breakfast sausage a few months ago. But I wasn't completely happy with the end product, and I packed the sausage in a wrapper for freezing. So I didn't consider that batch to be a complete sausage-making experience.

    Before going any further, I want to thank the SmokingMeatForums community for all of the information I found before beginning my sausage adventure, as well as those who provided insight specifically to my first post on SMF, located here.

    Okay ... so here's the recipe I used, based on the recipe I used for my previous breakfast sausage, which I altered in pursuit of my desired end-product. Being from Texas, I wanted a bold flavor with a level of heat that complimented the base flavor without being "hot for the sake of being hot."

    11 lbs. ground pork (wild hog with roughly 30% domestic pork fat added)

    5-6 large jalepenos

    1 large white onion

    4 c. shredded Sharp Cheddar (thick shred)

    16 oz. liquid stock (see details below)

    4 Tbsp. Brown Sugar

    4 Tbsp. Black Pepper (course-ground)

    4 Tbsp. Paprika

    4 Tbsp. Garlic Powder

    4 Tbsp. Cilantro (dried flakes)

    3 Tbsp. Red Pepper Flakes

    1 Tbsp. Cayenne (smoked)

    16.5 Tsp. Morton Tender Quick

    4 Tsp. Thyme (dried)

    2 Tsp. Ground Cumin

    2 Tsp. Ground Coriander

    I rough-chopped the jalepenos and onion and boiled them in salted water (I didn't measure the water or salt, I just used what I thought I needed). I saved the liquid to use later. Note: I boiled the peppers first, to the consistency I wanted, removed them and then boiled the onions. I set those aside to cool.

    After grinding the meat, I diced the peppers and onions and mixed them by hand into the meat. I had 12 ounces of the liquid stock remaining, but I felt like I needed a tad bit more, so I added 4 oz. of chicken stock. While the liquid was still warm, I added the Tender Quick and other dried seasonings to the stock. I did this while the stock was still warm so the seasonings would dissolve better, and then let it cool before adding it to the ground meat.

    Here's my ground meat before seasoning:

    After adding seasonings and chilling in the fridge for a couple hours, I mixed in the cheese:

    I soaked my natural casings for several hours ...

    Man, those things STINK at first! I was really glad that I learned about that smell ahead of time, or else I would've thought they were bad!!!

    I was also glad that I waited until my wife could help me during the stuffing process, which allowed me to pay attention to getting the meat stuffed into the casings uniformly.

    Here's the sausage after I twisted the links. I tied them off at the end before twisting. Next time, I think I'll leave the ends untied until I get them twisted into links ... there were a couple of times when I thought I was about to bust the casing.

    I saved half of the batch as fresh sausage and put most of that in the freezer. The other half went onto the smoker, which I eventually raised up to 160 degrees. I pulled the sausages out when the internal temp hit about 150-153 degrees and placed them immediately into an ice-bath for several minutes. Then I dried them off and let them bloom for a few hours. I did this in my kitchen oven (turned off), so that they weren't just sitting out in the open.

    And here's the final product:

    The final result is a great flavored sausage with the perfect amount of complimentary heat. My wife, who normally doesn't have a high tolerance for any kind of heat, is absolutely IN LOVE with these sausages!

    Note: I used the thickly shredded cheese because I didn't want to deal with cutting blocked cheese into the appropriate-size cubes. It worked out pretty well, although, after smoking (or grilling, for the fresh product), the cheese isn't easy to see right away). I thought about using the packages of "crumbles" that are sold in stores, but at the time, the store only had a three-cheese blend of crumbles, and I didn't want to go that route. In the future, I'd like to experiment with using larger cubes of cheese during the grinding process to see if they'll get broken down into the right size during that process.

    So that's it! I hope I didn't provide too many boring details, but I get excited about stuff like this, so I tend to get "wordy," when telling the story of how it all came together.

    Looking forward to my next sausage adventure!!!
  2. That sounds like some delicious sausage and it looks fantastic too.  Nice work.
  3. teebob2000

    teebob2000 Meat Mopper

    Hey gage, those look great!!  And thanks for all the details!  Don't ever apologize for rambling on, someone will find it useful, guaranteed.  

    I'm thinking of getting started with sausage-making, what equipment do you use?
  4. so ms smoker

    so ms smoker Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

      Looks great Gage!  But one question. Did you add tender quick to ALL the meat before setting aside the fresh sausage? Details were a little unclear on that. The cure/tender quick is meant to allow curing and cold smoking. It is not needed for fresh sausage and may be unsafe. Need to check with one of the regular sausage makers on that.

  5. Your sausages look really good man!  Congrats on getting that batch under your belt!  [​IMG]
  6. nepas

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

    Looks good

    And yeah dont worry bout rambling
  7. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

  8. driedstick

    driedstick Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Those look [​IMG]    Great job, the bug know has bit you I think - let us know your future smokes what ever it may be and happy Smoking.
  9. Thanks!

    My grinder is the Open Country 400-watt/1.75hp Food Grinder, which I bought from Bass Pro. It works pretty well as long as you don't cube the meat too big before hand. It came with 3 plates for fine, medium and course grinding, as well as two attachments for stuffing. And it's stainless steel and assembles/disassembles easily, so it's easy to clean and store.

    That's the main piece of equipment that I used. Other than that, I have a large tub made by LED, which was great for mixing the meat in. I have an assortment of other processing stuff, but none of which I used for making the sausage, other than a great set of sharp knives. Oh, and the natural casings were bought at Bass Pro, too, in the food processing area of the store. But they also have them online.

    I will say that whether it's sausage or processing meat (like wild game), having a great connection with a butcher, or the meat department at your favorite grocery store, is invaluable. I have a huge roll of butcher paper that I bought from my connection at the grocery store several years ago for $20, and I'm still using it today. And the domestic pork fat that I used in this sausage was free because the guy saved it for me when they were trimming meats to display. He gave me about 15 lbs. of it, which I stuck in the freezer, so I can just pull it out when I need it.
  10. Thanks!

    I did add the Tender Quick to the whole batch, then I stuffed all of it. After that is when I pulled some for fresh sausage and the rest for the smoker. From what I researched beforehand, like you said, you don't have to cure the meat for fresh sausage, but several resources also said that it doesn't hurt, either. I grilled 6 links of the fresh sausage two days afterward, and they were great. If I find out otherwise, I'll adjust next time. Although, with the Tender Quick, I didn't have to add any additional salt to the recipe. If I don't use it next time, I'll have to figure out how much salt to use in order to get the same flavor result.
  11. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Sausage looks good...
  12. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Outstanding looking smoked links....great job
  13. michael ark

    michael ark Master of the Pit

    Looks great!
  14. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Very nice!
  15. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Nice first sausage!!

  16. lu1847

    lu1847 Smoking Fanatic

    The sausages look great. Nice job. And great Q-viev
  17. kjw08

    kjw08 Fire Starter

    Great looking sausage!!  I'm new to making sausage and really like how your recipe looks.  I was wondering what temp your smoker started out at and for about how long they were in the smoker??

  18. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Hey KJ welcome to SMF. This member hasnt been very active and you wont probably hear from him. Start your smoker at 120 and bump it up 10 degrees every hr to a max of 175. when the sausage reaches an internal temp of 160 place them in a cold water bath to cool. enough to handle... hang at room temp to bloom for around 2 hrs

    Good luck and dont forget to post some pics of your process

  19. KJ: Like Boykjo said ... I started out low, around 110-120 and worked the smoker up from there. I've got a wood-burning smoker, so it probably wasn't as precise as 10 degrees every hour. So once the heat got up to 160 I kept an eye on the meat's temperature so that I could pull them off and bathe 'em before they overcooked.



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