Summer Sausage Stuff and Smoke - Day 2 - 26 pics Q-View

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by princess, Sep 10, 2010.

  1. princess

    princess Smoking Fanatic

    Greetings, everyone.

    I started this project on Monday, you can view the first day's work here:

    http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/forum/thread/98414/summer-sausage-prep-day-1-30-pics-q-view

    Today, Friday September 10, 2010 I am finishing my first fermented sausage project. Rytek Kutas's Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing, 4th Edition: Cervelat Summer Sausage, pg 359. Today I re-ground the 25 lb of meat in my grinder using the small die. The meat got stuffed into fibrous casings, hung to dry, then popped in the smoker for several hours. After, the sausages were transferred to my bathroom for a quick shower to cool down. The pictures below are a step-by-step for that piece.  I cannot wait to slice into them tomorrow morning once they have chilled in the fridge overnight. EDIT: Updates are in purple. (edited 9/11/10  10:30 a.m. EST)

    I had a heck of a lot of fun today.

    Cheers!

    -Princess

    *~*~*~*~*

    It seems odd to call this a "Day Two" post when I really feel like this has been going on for over a week. OH WAIT! It has! [​IMG]   This is the second day of real work though, and yes... I had some "fail" as well as some "success."

    To start things off right today, I moved the tub from the fridge (where it had been since Monday) into the freezer. Whenever you are using a grinder, it pays to have your meat be super cold, even a little icy. I could not help but peek at it. It looked mostly still bright pink, very fresh. Smelled pleasantly sour, almost tangy. Happy with that, I went downstairs and began to prep and sanitize my workspace.

    I knew that the handful of cute hooks that came with my smoker would not be nearly enough to hold all this meat, so I grabbed 6 feet of 1.5" dowel rod and cut it to 14.5" lengths. Later, as you will see, I wrapped them in foil. These smokesticks will be holding my meat for the rest of the day.

    [​IMG]

    I also needed to start soaking my casings. Flat fibrous casings need to be pre-soaked for at least 30 minutes before you use them. I had 20 mahogany ones from Cabela's.  They stated it was enough to do 25 pounds of meat. I cannot see how that's even remotely possible, if you leave yourself enough tail to tie off. (More on that later) 

    [​IMG]

    One of the really nice things about Cabela's casings (and LEM casings as well) is that the top is already snugly tied into a loop. This is a huge time saver and helps reduce the risk that your sausage will slide off the smokestick as it hangs.

    [​IMG]

    I did end up needing more casings. To make a long story short, I got about a pound in each one. Thankfully, I live literally four blocks away from a Rural King and was able to purchase a small package of LEM casings, in the same size, so I soaked a few of those too. They look strange to me because they are clear. It ended up being AWESOME though, because the clear really lets you see the dramatic color change that smoking caused.

    [​IMG]

    So... meat is in the freezer. Casings are soaking. Time to sanitize the workspace and haul out the equipment.

    [​IMG]

    This is the first time I get to show off my stuffer!! I have a 5lb Grizzly. As you can see, the base is bolted to the countertop. I have used this stuffer more than I ever thought I would and I adore it. If you are even remotely serious about sausage, you really need a stuffer. Using a grinder's "stuffer attachment" cannot even compare.

    [​IMG]

    Using boykjo's suggestion, I tried fitting a different tray under the output of the grinder. Looks like the disposable aluminum will be perfect! I can grind right into it, slide it over and drop the meat into the stuffer easy.

    [​IMG]

    At this point, I am almost ready to get the meat. I decided to bring it down in roughly 6 pound batches, leaving the remainder in the freezer. I did not want the bulk of it sitting around getting warm as I processed each part. So the first pile of meat came down:

    [​IMG]

    Went into the grinder, which was fitted with the smallest die I own:

    [​IMG]

    And then that mix was packed tightly into the stuffer. You want to try to make sure there are as few air pockets as possible. So go slow. Put a bit in. Tamp it down, add more. Tamp it down. Etc. You can tell the meat is cold, as the outside of the stuffer began to frost up.

    [​IMG]

    To stuff a fibrous casing, begin by sliding the whole casing over the end of the stuffer horn. If you've soaked it long enough, it will be very flexible.

    [​IMG]

    While holding the sausage snug onto the horn, turn the crank on the stuffer, slowly. You want the sausage casing to fill itself, pushing itself along the counter as it gets full of sausage mix. Let it slide off the horn, but keep a snug grip. The goal here is NO AIR POCKETS.

    [​IMG]

    You need to leave enough tail on the sausage to twist it and tie it or seal it.

    [​IMG]

    The picture below shows an okay representation of how to properly tie a hanging sausage. I did some of them this way. Long about sausage 10 or 12, I got bored and just tied 'em regular. Then (when I had to run to Rural King to get more casings) I got some hog rings and clipped the rest. I'm not sure I like the hog rings, it hurt my hands to use the pliers. If I do another big sausage project like this, I may need some advice.  Honestly, closing the sausages took more time than anything else.

    I apparently forgot to include the picture of the "properly tied" sausage. I think if I were hanging for a long time (or if I had not heard the AWESOME hint of using twist ties) I'd care more about this, but for now I am only including this pic for completions sake:

    [​IMG]

    The clear sausages fill the same way, I'm just including a picture here so you can see the color. My Husband remarked that it looked like I was filling Meat Balloons.

    [​IMG]

    I repeated this process twenty-five times. Grind it, pack it, stuff it, tie it, hang it.

    First there was one:

    [​IMG]

    Then there were five:

    [​IMG]

    Then there were twenty. The last five went into the clear casings. And so they hung for a bit, following the original recipie. Meanwhile, I cleaned up the grinder and prep area, got everything soaking in bleach and/or into the dishwasher and set up the smoker outside with some good hickory chunks.

    [​IMG]

    I had to creatively stagger them to fit them all in. You can see the clear casings hanging in the front of the smoker.

    [​IMG]

    This is just a close up of the stagger. The very center sausage was the one that got the temperature probe inserted into it.

    [​IMG]

    I followed the instructions for smoke, time & temperature as written in the original recipie.  Mid-smoke I paused to check color and add more wood. They were coloring up nicely.

    [​IMG]

    I took the sausages to an internal temp of 155 (ten degrees higher than the recipie reccomended) just to make myself a little more comfortable. I then moved the smokesticks of sausage to my bathroom to prep them for a nice cold shower. You can really see here how DARK those clear cased sausages got!  They are the rack in the back. You'll also see that the probe is still in the meat. I need to shower them down to an internal of at least 120.

    [​IMG]

    Blasted them with cold water for about ten minutes or so. I got them to 115 then let them hang just a bit more to dry out and get that nice bloom of color.  I did notice as I packed them away into the fridge that I have a few with "smokestripes" from where they were too close together in the smoke house. I'm not concerned, it's not like I am selling them, so the aesthetics doesn't bug me.

    [​IMG]

    And that's all there is tonight, folks!! I slice into them tomorrow after they spend the night in the fridge, so when I do, I'll snap one last pic and add it here as an edit.

    Cheers!

    -Princess

    Aaaand the first slice. I decided to eat the one that had the probe in it first, just because it was already punctured.

    [​IMG]

    The texture was just about perfect. Slicing into it felt like I was slicing into any summer sausage.

    The color seemed just about what I was looking for too. That meaty reddish smoky look:

    [​IMG]

    Then I took my first bite. Yummm... I am really happy with how it turned out.

    [​IMG]

    Have a great weekend everyone! 

    Cheers!

    -Princess
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2010
    old poi dog likes this.
  2. old poi dog

    old poi dog Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Awesome Princess!!!!   Thank you for sharing your Q-views.   Looking forward to your taste test reveiw.
     
  3. princess

    princess Smoking Fanatic

    Thank you for looking, Poi!! :) Yeah, I'm looking forward to the taste test too. It smells SO GOOD. ::trying to be patient::
     
     
  4. mossymo

    mossymo Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You done good Princess; great post and looks like your processing set up is 1st class !!!

    I do have a question I am hoping you can answer after you have had plenty of time to taste test your summer sausages. For many years I have stuck with using the mohogany casings and have read that the clear casings accept more smoke taste to the product. I am hoping since this is your first run with summer sausage to get an unbiased opinion between the two casings? Again, good job !!!
     
  5. princess

    princess Smoking Fanatic

    Thank you for the compliments, MossyMO. :) And thanks for looking!

    I am more than happy to try the two side-by-side and give you my $.02 worth.  The clear came out SO pretty. They look just, professional? I also was a little irritated that Cabela's stamped their name all over my mahogany bags.  I don't like advertising for them against my wishes, if you catch my drift?  Where do you get yours from? If the taste is similar, I may stick with the clear going forward just since I like the way they look.

    Side note: Not that you are, but since this is a forum: I'd also reccomend clear for a rookie. You can't really easily see if you have air pockets in the mahogany.

    Cheers!

    -Princess
     
     
  6. mossymo

    mossymo Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  7. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    They Look Great Princess... I like the clear better, I just think they look better than the Mahogany..
     
  8. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hi Princess

    Those look awesome - I have a question - If I was going to do this I think I would do the sausages in a single run to make the stuff easier and then pinch them by rolling a bit and then double  tying but I have not done sausage this big can you comment on the stuffing process and why you chose to do them individually

    Again awesome post
     
  9. ballagh

    ballagh Smoking Fanatic

    what an amazing post and process.  thank you for sharing. and inspiring me to do something really cool this winter :)  awesome pics by the way.  very nicely done.
     
  10. mossymo

    mossymo Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Scarbelly

    Allowing the cure to saturate thoroughly overnight into the ground meat is good practice to ensure all the meat is "cured". The second grind mixes the cure even more and gives summer sausage a finer grind.

    One tip I can mention on tying off the casing with string if you do not use hog rings is to use plastic zip ties. They are inexpensive, easy to use, hold up fine under 200º temperatures and if you are smoking different seasoned summer sausages you can purchase them in different colors to color code your summer sausages.
     
  11. thoes look some good, did you think about going with a bigger casing?  I was thinking of trying this one after I do a batch of kelbassa, but I like my summer sausage so one slice will cover a sandwich.  would it be harder using bigger casings?

    Also a little off topic, have you tried any of the Kelbassa recipies from that book?  there is like 5 in there and I am trying to decide which one to make.

    Steve
     
  12. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Man I did not realize I was not clear and you just pointed it out to me - Thank you for that - what I was asking is about the stuffing process only

    When my wife and I stuff, we make a single run and then come back and tie or double tie to form links - that is what I was asking as I noticed that Princess cut to length and stuffed after tying the first end and leaving the second end open - - My thought process was to stuff the entire run and come back and twist then double tie and cut in the middle which would allow you to use more of the casing as you would have more in the stuff with no waste

    Please understand . I am NOT criticising just asking so I can learn
     
     
  13. princess

    princess Smoking Fanatic

    It took me your clarification to wonder what the HECK you were talking about! :)  I thinkI may not have made something in mo original post clear: I didn't cut them. Summer Sausage casings come pre-cut with the tops pre-tied. [​IMG]

    Maybe I will clarify that in the edit post-taste-test...

    Does that help answer your question?

    -Princess
     
  14. princess

    princess Smoking Fanatic

    That's a very flattering compliment. Thank you for looking!

    -Princess
     
  15. red

    red Newbie

    Looks great! I have learned a lot from your postings!
     
  16. princess

    princess Smoking Fanatic

    I agree... I love a good wide slice for lunchmeat! And thanks for the compliments!

    As this was my first Fermented Semi-Dry project, I did not want to make it too hard on myself.  Getting a core temp to safe levels on anything that thicker than the 1.5" I used yesterday is pretty intimidating to me still. When and if I do this again, I might try 3" wide then, if just to compare notes.

    I have not tried any of Rytek's kielbasa recipies. For my fresh kielbasa, I still use my great-grandmother's recipie that came with her from Poland. I am very fortunate to still have that part of her legacy. If I ever do semi-dry kielbasa, I will use Rytek's and let you know then!

    Cheers!

    -Princess
     
  17. princess

    princess Smoking Fanatic

    THAT is the best idea!!  I'd probably be even able to tie them off myself, too. Did you just grab them from the hardware store then?

    -Princess
     
  18. smoke_chef

    smoke_chef Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Very awesome! I can't wait to give making sausage a try. This post has been a huge help!! Thank you so much for the time you put in to it!! It's really great.
     
  19. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Great Princess! [​IMG]

    A lot of hard work and close following of directions pays off.

    You have a lot more "willpower" than I have! I have never made any sausage, Bacon, or anything else that has to be in the fridge over night before slicing, without at least trying a little while still warm. Hell, I'm lucky if I can wait 'til it's out of the smoker!

    Thanks for showing,

    Bear
     
  20. My grandmother came from Poland as well, and used to make all kinds of sausages as well as all the other good polish / Ukrainian food, but she passed away befor I got the bug and started smoking and such.. 

    oh well, I guess I will just pick one of his recipies and make it, if I don't like it I will make a different one next time haha.

    Steve
     

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