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Ring Bologna in beef rounds

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by danmcg, Oct 4, 2010.

  1. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    While talking with Bmudd in chat Sunday morning I mentioned that I haven’t posted any Q-view in a long time due to no good reason, just life I guess, But I told him I post the ring bologna that I was smoking at the time as it was a new recipe for me and some might find it interesting.

    So here it is.

    This is a recipe I used from Len Poli’s collection, I copied his recipe to the T, and will use this for a baseline for a stronger garlic ring bologna that I’m looking for. The sausage is called Lykens Valley Pennsylvania Ring Bologna. His site is down at the time of this post, when it’s back up I’ll link it.

    The recipe was contributed by; Don Fasnacht-Robert M.Lesher Meats  Elizabeth, PA  

     It’s a great tasting recipe in my opinion, but I’ll be giving out a few pounds of sample to friends tomorrow for a true taste test.

    The recipe called for beef rounds which is a first for me, but I really enjoyed working with them. They are thick and tough which makes them easy to really pack the meat in tightly. (these are edible but you want to peel the casing off when you slice it otherwise you’ll be chewing it all day)

    They are also very easy to get on the horn being almost 2“ in diameter.

    I didn’t get any pic's of the mixing or stuffing, but here’s a shot of them the next day hanging in the frig waiting for the smoker.  


    This next pic is after I dried them at 120°for an hour then bumped the temp to 140° and added some pecan smoke for maybe an hour, i was looking for a light smoke flavor.[​IMG]

    I kept bumping the temp up until they were smoking/cooking at 180°.

    This is after about 5 hours


    I pulled them when they hit 156° internal (about 6 hours total cook time)and place in 180° water till they floated. ( this is suppose to aid in peeling the casings, which seems to work. Another first for me)

     Hung out to dry,


    I have them pack away in the frig since yesterday to let the flavor develop, and when I get done with this , I'll slice some up and taste test it again.

    thanks for looking.

    Edited to add credits.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2010
    banacanin and crazymoon like this.
  2. scarbelly

    scarbelly Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Those look great Dan. I am looking forward to the link. Can you elaborate on what you did not like and will change
  3. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Those Look Great...  How long do you have to let them set before trying them?
  4. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Scarbelly, I'd give these a 10 out of ten for a classic northeastern ring bologna. the only thing I will change next time is to add more garlic, so I can call it a garlic ring bologna. this has garlic but it's not a dominate flavor like some friends want.
  5. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Beer I tried some after 6 hours and they were good. I just tried some after30 hours and they are Very good, but I think it takes two or three days for a suasage to really develope it's flavor.
  6. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Here's a sliced view, although a little out of focus, or maybe I need my glasses

    Last edited: Oct 4, 2010
  7. bmudd14474

    bmudd14474 Legendary Pitmaster Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Looks Great Dan. Glad you posted it. 
  8. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    You definitely have talent even without the glasses  ......nice work
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2010
  9. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I would like to have the recipe for that one Dan. Send it to me if you would or atleast link it when it comes back up. It looks good and the wife and I really like a good Tire Patch Sandwich every now and then.
  10. banacanin

    banacanin Newbie

    This is very cool. I am glad I joined this forum, it looks like I can learn a lot here.[​IMG]
  11. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Looks Great Dan!

    Looks a lot like the better ring bolognas we get around here from small "PA Dutch" butcher shops.

    Thanks for showing,

  12. placebo

    placebo Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Can I be your friend? That looks incredible! I'd be interested in that recipe also. I've heard about ring bologna for years from friends that I've known from PA but I've still yet to try it. After seeing yours now I REALLY want to try it!
  13. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Last edited: Oct 5, 2010
  14. squirrel

    squirrel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Wow! Dan, sir, that looks totally awesome! That may be a new venture for me as I have never tried anything like that. What an inspiration!
  15. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Haven't had that stuff since I was a kid.  Mom used to work in the family business and sometimes needed to make quick dinners. I miss it and can't find it in stores around here.

    Yours looks awesome!
  16. dnvrdv

    dnvrdv Smoke Blower

    One word.  "WOW"
  17. solaryellow

    solaryellow Limited Mod Group Lead

    That looks fantastic Dan! This is going on my to-do list. It looks tasty. [​IMG]
  18. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I'm actually in the middle of trying this one right now, and things seem to be going well. This is my first ever "official" attempt at a real sausage of any kind ~ I took photos and will prepare a complete pictorial, but here are some notes:

    I used three pounds of very-well-trimmed ground deer (no fat) and two pounds of ground pork. The reason for the adjusted ratio (the original recipe calls for 4 pounds beef and 1 pound pork) is due to the lean-ness of the deer.

    Instead of Cure #1 and salt, I used Richtee's "TennerQuack" TenderQuick clone in an amount appropriate for 5 pounds of ground meat (7.5 teaspoons, or 2 tablespoons + 1.5 teaspoons), and added no salt.

    Instead of the water and soy flour (which is unavailable to me) called for in the recipe, I used followed the advice of Curious Aardvark and used beer and oatmeal (pulverised in the food processor until it was nearly the same as flour) in the same amounts as specified for their counterparts in the recipe.

    I washed and re-washed all equipment, bowls, mixing devices etc. in hot, soapy water, then dried thoroughly and put the grinder parts in the freezer to get good and cold. Looking back, it wouldn't have hurt to have the sausage bowl in there, too.

    I measured all spices by weight, using the specified amounts in the recipe.

    The ground pork was from the store and looks to be of a fine-ground consistency. As for the deer, it was all about 90% thawed and - thanks to careful trimming and packaging - as fresh as the day it was frozen. My grinder (a Universal #2) doesn't have a plate with the holes in it; it just has the two rotating doo-hickies (one with three blades (coarse) and another with a dozen or so (fine)). The venison went through the "coarse" blades pretty well, but when I tried to run the coarse-ground meat through the "fine" blades, I just got mush that wouldn't feed through the grinder blades, even though the meat and the grinder were both pretty dang cold. Because of this, I stuck with the original (coarse) grind, but I don't think this will be a problem, for reasons I will explain below.

    I ground the meat into and mixed this bologna in a very old, well-preserved, porcelain-lined metal bowl that we "rescued" from my wife's Slovak grandmother's posessions as her greedy children were preparing to auction everything off after her death (don't get me started). We've all probably seen one of these bowls at our grandparents' (or maybe great-grandparents') home or farm; they're white, wide, low and have a blue or red rim. This bowl is for, among other things, MAKING SAUSAGE! You can tell because there's one section along the rim that is chipped from the grinder knocking against it. It will be my "sausage-making" bowl for all of my projects, and I hope that one of my children has enough interest to adopt it as his "sausage-making" bowl when the time comes.

    Following the recipe directions (modified for the cure, beer and ground oatmeal), I mixed the dry ingredients and beer with a whisk into a slurry, then added the meat; a little deer at a time, then a little pork at a time, then deer, then pork and so on. I then got a plain, old-fashioned, hand-held potato masher and had at it, mashing and twisting everything together while rotating the bowl. (When using the masher, I transferred the project to a large, wide Tupperware bowl, so as not to damage the porcelain bowl with the metal masher). This mashing action seemed to have the effect of helping to emulsify and bind the meat with the cure, and the mashing/twisting seemed to pulverise it to the point where I am pretty sure I was able to compensate for the "coarse" grind, which really isn't that coarse with venison anyway, since it is a pretty fine-grained meat.

    I followed Curious Aardvark's advice when mixing, making sure to blend everything well and continue through the first "sticky" stage and well into the second "firm and spongy" stage. This worked quite well as the two meats, beer, ground oatmeal, cure and spices all melded together so as to become one well-integrated mass.

    Right away I noticed two things:

    1) It was really starting to smell like GOOD bologna; not the cheap stuff that you buy on sale toward the end of the pay period, but the high-end stuff that goes beyond any of the lunchmeat brands. The spice combination and amounts seemed a little strange to me at first, but I took a leap of faith, and it paid off big time.


    2) This entire operation was really, really much easier than I thought it would be, and once again, as I have done so many times, I kicked myself for not trying this sooner, on the flimsy excuse that the project seemed "intimidating" or that I was waiting for all the "right" stuff, the stars to align and for conditions to be "perfect;" such a waste of time, when I could have been enjoying good food and the satisfaction of making it myself! I see it all the time and am guilty of it myself, here and elsewhere, and not just with charcuterie projects: "Someday.... when I have a fancy set-up. Or when the time is right. Or when I feel ready. Or when my skills improve....Yadda yadda yadda." Trust me on this: you're wasting time! Go to a garage sale and get a 10$ grinder, and get started MAKING stuff and building your experience and skills while you save up for a more-advanced set-up. You will be glad you did!

    Anyway, I got everything mixed, and I really think it came through like it is supposed to. When I was finished, I covered the bowl well with three offset layers of plastic grocery bags, each tied well to make everything air-tight, and put the mess into the fridge, where it will cure overnight.

    Tomorrow, I will make my first-ever attempt to stuff sausage into a casing of any kind. Previously, I had simply rolled meat into tightly-saran-wrapped logs, where the exterior of the log would make its own "casing" while cooking or smoking (saran wrap removed, of course!); other times I would employ the same general concept with aluminum foil, cooking the meat in the foil. This time, however, I wanted to use actual casings, but I'm out of money (another long story), so I couldn't get any ring-sized bologna casings (which probably aren't available for a 130-mile radius around me anyway).

    Then I remembered that a few years ago, I had bought a "sausage-making kit" from the makers of Little Chief smokers:



    I had completely forgotten I had this! I lost the "seasoning package" long ago, but I still had the rest of the kit, including the casings, 10 of them. As I recall, each casing does 1 pound of sausage, so this might work perfectly. [EDIT: After doing some checking and some math, it actually takes 8 cases for 5 pounds of sausage "logs" - 10 ounces per log.) I'll also, for the first time, be able to use the stuffing apparatus (tube and plunger).

    So there it is - I'll give this a shot tomorrow, then smoke in my Little or Big Chief smoker, most likely with hickory for this first attempt.


    Based on your knowledge of sausage- or bologna-making in general, am I on the right track so far? Have I made any huge, glaring errors? I've tried to follow all instructions available, including proven methods from people I trust here and elsewhere; but have I missed anything? It seems almost....TOO easy!

    Tomorrow: I just stuff the casings, tie them off, hang them in the smoker and get 'er done? Is it that simple, or are there steps along the way that I should be sure to observe?

    What's the best way to check internal temperatures? Can you stick a probe into casings and meat? what about the hole?

    One crimp in the plan: I just read that the HIGH for tomorrow is projected to be 14 (FOURTEEN) degrees, with up to10 MPH winds.

    With that information, I'm not sure how well the Big Chief will perform, so there's a strong chance that tomorrow morning, I'll be adding liquid smoke (i believe 1/2 teaspoon per pound is about right) and doing this in the oven.

    Yeah, I know - give me a second to don my asbestos suit, then let the flames begin! lol ~ but then again....FOURTEEN degrees! [​IMG] What would YOU do?

    As always, thanks in advance!

  19. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Welcome to the sausage making club Ron, you're going to love it :sausage::sausage::sausage:

    Looking forward to your results Ron, Good luck
  20. sounds like your going to have fun... what is 14c? is that like 60f?