Jamaican Jerk Chicken Sausage: To cure or not to cure...

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by worktogthr, Feb 16, 2016.

  1. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    So I was in a local market that I don't go to often and they had a great deal on chicken thighs and and they had some habenero peppers in the produce section and since I am on a sausage kick and on vacation this week, I started brainstorming and researching Jamaican jerk chicken sausage. I found a recipe for jerk pork sausage on Len Poli's site and the ingredients seemed pretty authentic as far as jerk seasoning goes but he included cure in it and recommended cooking at a low temp (170) without smoke. I was wondering if anyone could offer their opinions on these questions:

    Wouldn't the cure give it that hot doggy/kielbasa taste and detract from the jerk chicken flavors?

    Do you think I should just make this as a fresh sausage without the cure and just grill them over charcoal and some wood to give it that smokey jerk chicken flavor?

    If I was to add cure, would you smoke it or just do as Len Poli suggests?

    Thanks for your advice and opinions in advance. Looking forward to this experiment!

  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I make all our chicken sausage fresh no cure. Then hot smoke or grill when we eat them. The cure effects the flavor profile too much. If you plan on getting from 40-140 in 4 hours or less when cooking then you do not need to add cure.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2016
  3. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I was leaning towards fresh. I was thinking about applying light smoke for 2 hours at about 160 degrees and then finishing in a warm water bath which usually takes about 20 minutes so that they are fully cooked and ready to be warmed on the grill. Would that be a safe option?
  4. ragnar

    ragnar Smoke Blower


    I agree with Dirtsailor - ditch the cure, and go fresh like you were leaning towards. He's dead on. The cure will alter the flavor and detract a lot from your goal. Your timeframe to get 140F or higher is safe.

    Sounds awesome, by the way. Looking forward to the outcome!
  5. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yes you will be fine, there was typo in my original post and I have corrected it. 40-140 in 4 hours or less and you are fine.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2016
  6. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thanks guys for the input. Fresh it is!
  7. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I fried up a test patty and really likes the flavor. The habeneros pack some heat even with the seeds and veins taken out. It may need a touch more salt. When reading through Len poli's recipes I noticed that for 5 pounds of meat he usually recommends 5 teaspoons of salt uness it's cured in which case he recommends 4 teaspoons plus the one teaspoon of cure #1. I followed the recipe exactly minus the cure so do you all think that would explain why it needs a little more salt? I forgot to replace the salt that cure #1 would have given it?

    If you think that the case when I add the extra teaspoon of salt, how long should I mix? The test party had good texture so I don't want to end up over mixing? Thanks everyone!
  8. ragnar

    ragnar Smoke Blower

     If you think it needs a little more, it wouldn't hurt to add a little. You said you just dropped the teaspoon of cure, and didn't add it back in pure salt. Yeah, you're thinking right, you're a teaspoon short. Remember, #1 cure is really just salt as a carrier, a hint of nitrate, and tiny bit of pink coloring.

    In order to facilitate mixing, you could dissolve the salt in just enough water to get it into solution, and mix that in. It won't really affect the texture of your meat, and will help it get mixed in pretty quickly. Probably a minute or two should do it... and if it's been sitting in the reefer for a day, it's probably stiffening up anyway just a little.
  9. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    That makes a lot of sense! Sometimes I just need the reassurance that I actually know what I'm doing haha. Still relatively knew to the sausage game so I always have to ask. Thanks so much for the help!

    If your screen name is a Vikings reference, great show! Haha

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