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My first summer sausage

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by miamited, Dec 1, 2018.

  1. miamited

    miamited Fire Starter

    80/20 beef to pork. I estimate about 90% lean. gas vertical smoker at 200 (lowest it would go) for just over 2 hours until internal temp was 155. Sausage came out good. My taste testers at work keep asking for more. Only issue is that it is not hard like it should be. Atually able to squeeze it. Why would it not firm up?

    Attached Files:

  2. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I don't make summer sausage,maybe just leave it in the fridge uncovered for a day or so.
    (Just a wild guess) It looks good
  3. What were your steps once the meats were out of the smoker.
  4. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    90% lean is a little too lean for SS IMO. What was the recipe? Home mixed or a commercial blend? Reason I ask is what sort of binder was used (commercial would be a mystery, but should have the proper level). Also like Tropics said, it needs to set in the fridge at least 24 hours, or thats how I usually do it.
  5. jhend

    jhend Smoke Blower

    If you want it like a true summer sausage you need to hang it to dry around 8 to 10 degrees and 80% humidity.
  6. miamited

    miamited Fire Starter

    Recipe from justapinch dot com.
    After smoking cold water until internal temp 120 per recipe.
  7. jhend

    jhend Smoke Blower

    I see a few recipes, which one did you use?
  8. crazymoon

    crazymoon Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    MY, Seems strange that you got to 155 in two hours , maybe soft from being under cooked ??
  9. miamited

    miamited Fire Starter

    That was my thinking.
  10. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Also have you verified the accuracy of your thermometer? There is the boiling water and ice water bath tests. If it's off 10-15 degrees, that can be a huge difference when cooking to 155*.
  11. TinCupTom

    TinCupTom Newbie


    A couple questions- in the meantime I would suggest holding off eating this batch.

    1. 90% is way on the lean side for summer sausage to achieve proper protein extraction - are you sue of the lean/fat ratio? The reason I ask is low fat sausage is typically dry and crumbly.

    2. How/how long did you mix the meat? Proper mixing in a meat mixer is approx 8 min or unitl the meat achieves a sticky/stiff texture. This process allows emulsification of the water and fat and provides some level of structure to the sausage. If you didnt mix unitl the stiff/sticky state this may be playing in to your soft texture

    3. What did you use for cure and how long did you let the stuffed sausages cure before smoking? Did you use a cure accelerator like Encapsulated Citric Acid? If you didnt use a cure accelerator and went right to the smoker the meat hadn’t cured prior to smoking and is impacting your textureand is potential unsafe to eat. Properly cured sausage (without an accelerator) must sit 10-12 hours in a refrigerator before it can be smoked. My experience is the overnight curing process really stiffens up the sausage.

    4. It would defy physics, and most best practices of making summer sausage, to heat to internal temp of 155, in 2 hours, at a temp of 200F, assuming you started with 40 degree product. Most smoking processes take 10 hours on a 2.5” casing, if done properly. Did you have any fat out on this batch? If heated too quickly the fat will liquefy and run out of the sausage or collect between the casing and the meat- from the pics, it doesn’t appear to be the case. My assumption is your thermometers are way off and your product isn’t cooked properly-as such my caution on not consuming this batch.

  12. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Your heat was too hot too fast.

    Yeah hard to control a gas smoker if you dont have a needle valve.

    You dont need ECA to cure the meat. Not true about fridge for 12 hrs for the cure to work.

    Prague Powder #1
    Also called Insta-Cure and Modern Cure. Cures are used to prevent meats from spoiling when being cooked or smoked at low temperatures (under 200 degrees F). This cure is 1 part sodium nitrite (6.25%) and 16 parts salt (93.75%) and are combined and crystallized to assure even distribution. As the meat temperate rises during processing, the sodium nitrite changes to nitric oxide and starts to ‘gas out’ at about 130 degrees F. After the smoking /cooking process is complete only about 10-20% of the original nitrite remains. As the product is stored and later reheated for consumption, the decline of nitrite continues. 4 ounces of Prague powder #1 is required to cure 100 lbs of meat. A more typical measurement for home use is 1 level tsp per 5 lbs of meat. Mix with cold water, then mix into meat like you would mix seasonings into meat.
  13. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Here is the temp and time scale i use for most of my sausage making. I use this for chubs and sticks. Please note that YOUR RESULTS MAY VARY.

    Outside weather conditions can also have a big part of how long it takes the meat to target IT.

    Many types of smokers will have hot/cold spots in the cabinet

    I do not use a meat probe while smoking, the probe can cause fat cavitation and give false readings. Use a Thermapen to check IT of meat. I know that opening the door is going to increase your time, just the nature of the game.

    Hang your stuffed casings at room temp for 1-2 hours to dry and set. Have your smoker pre heated at 130* I use a TSM 30 LB electric with a PID. Keep your top vent open. Closing the vent off will increase moisture inside your smoker and give you an unpleasant discoloration on your product. Remember this is semi dry sausage, not dripping prime rib.

    1. Hang in smoker at 130* for 2 hours (no smoke)
    2. 140* for 1.5-2.5 hrs smoke (stall may happen around this mark)
    3. 150* for 2.5 hrs (smoke opt)
    4. 160-165* for 2.5-3 hrs (smoke opt) check meat IT here from the top of the chubs with your Instant read thermo.
    5. Increase smoke temp to 170* (opt smoke) For 3-4 hrs. Check IT again, You should be close to your target IT of 152.
    6. If NEEDED increase smoker to 172 for 1-2 hrs. DO NOT GO HIGHER OR YOU WILL RISK A FAT-OUT. CHECK IT OFTEN

    Opt Step
    7. If you dont have time to do a complete smoke you can use hot water to finish to your IT. DO NOT EXCEED A WATER TEMP OF 165 AND MOVE THE CHUBS/STICKS AROUND IN THE WATER. Cold water bath after your IT is up to you.
    chopsaw likes this.
  14. miamited

    miamited Fire Starter

    OK, tested my "redi check" brand 2 probe thermometer. probe 2 showed 37 degrees and probe 1 (the one that I use in the meet for internal temp) showed 41 degrees with the probe in a glass of ice water. Looks like I need a new two channel thermometer.

    I used insta cure and they have been vacuum sealed and in the freezer. I will put the sausage in the oven at 170 (lowest possible setting, then work my way up.
  15. miamited

    miamited Fire Starter

    Update on my thermometer. Two probes tested in both channels with boiling water showed 212 degrees.
  16. TinCupTom

    TinCupTom Newbie

    @nepas Thanks for your reply, want to confirm that I didn’t suggest ECA was required to cure the meat - hope I didn’t imply that.

    My concern reading this post was the quality and food safety issues related to underprocessed summer sausage. Suggestion was to err on the side of safety and not consume the product.

    Also, looking for some clarification to your comments above related to overnight refrigeration of Summer Sausage using only InstaCure #1, and no cure accelerator.

    I am new to this however have researched the process extensively and the information I see both on the pre-packaged (LEM Backwoods) seasoning/cure kits as well as all the Walton’s Summer Sausage videos explicitly state that when using InstaCure #1, overnight refrigeration is required to provide time for the cure to work, unless using a cure accelerator.

    I tend to be a “by the book” guy when it comes to things such as food safety and wish to practice only the best processes.

    Your comments above (not true about fridge for 12 hours for cure to work) contradict the information provided in many other sources...

    Where does a guy go from here? Thanks, Tom
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018 at 11:46 AM
  17. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★


    You can stuff right away after mixing. The fridge over night is just personal preference to some.

    Allot of them big companies need to get away from the old ways when they use modern cure agents.