Homemade Summer Sausage

Homemade Summer Sausage

What is Summer Sausage?  Well, depending on where you are in the country, or where you come from you might expect a different flavor and texturte. In Wisconsin most people wouldn't trully consider it summer sausage without some form of pH reduction to provide a tangy flavor and increase the shelf-life. In other places a tangy flavor is seen as a defect and they want more of mild seasoning profile allowing the meat and cheese to be the main focus. One thing all summer sausages have in common is that they are cured using Sodium Nitrite and are smoked to provide a smoky flavor and to help increase the shelf-life.What is Summer Sausage?  Well, depending on where you are in the country, or where you come from you might expect a different flavor and texturte. In Wisconsin most people wouldn't trully consider it summer sausage without some form of pH reduction to provide a tangy flavor and increase the shelf-life. In other places a tangy flavor is seen as a defect and they want more of mild seasoning profile allowing the meat and cheese to be the main focus. One thing all summer sausages have in common is that they are cured using Sodium Nitrite and are smoked to provide a smoky flavor and to help increase the shelf-life.

Make Summer Sausage at Home!

What is Summer Sausage?  Well, depending on where you are in the country, or where you come from you might expect a different flavor and texturte. In Wisconsin most people wouldn't trully consider it summer sausage without some form of pH reduction to provide a tangy flavor and increase the shelf-life. In other places a tangy flavor is seen as a defect and they want more of mild seasoning profile allowing the meat and cheese to be the main focus. One thing all summer sausages have in common is that they are cured using Sodium Nitrite and are smoked to provide a smoky flavor and to help increase the shelf-life.

Meat and Seasoning Block

Summer Sausage can be made from a mix of beef and pork, all beef, or all pork. If you are making an all-beef summer sausage just be aware that pork fat is superior to beef fat in sausage making as it has a creaminess that beef fat (or any other fat) can not match.

Most of Excaliburs Seasonings are designed to work with a 25 "meat block". Some people will say that means add the bag of seaosning to 25 lb of meat, some will factor in the weight of the seasoning, meaning if the bag weighs 2 lb, add it to 23 lb of meat. And still others will also factor in the weight of the water and other additives. There is not a "right" answer to this, it comes down to personal preference.

Equipment and Supplies

Summer Sausage can be made with just a Walton's Processing Grinder, as they have the ability to double as a sausage stuffer, or just a Walton's Sausage Stuffer as you can purchase already ground meat for use. However, to be able to make the best cured sausage possible below is a list of equipment and supplies you will need.

    Process

Casing Selection

For a classic Summer Sausage you will want to use Fibrous Casings . These casings come in Mahogany, Clear, and Camo patterns, the only difference between them is the appearance and a very slight smoke flavoring. These casings are most commonly perforated, meaning they have tiny holes in them that will allow the pressure from the cooking meat to escape without bursting the casing, and they allow the casing to form to the sausage more tightly. If you purchase fibrous casings that are not perforated you will need to use a casinger perforator to create these tiny holes in the casing. These casings are available in many different lengths and diameters, the smaller the diameter the shorter your smoke schedule will be, length has almost no effect on smoking times.

Casing Peperation

Fibrous casings must be soaked in hot water for at least 30 minutes before being used. The water should be around 90-100° F and in a clean bowl or container. Soaking these casings in hot water makes these casings soft and pliable, if they are not soaked, or not soaked long enough they will be difficult to use and will not form properly to your sausage.

Grinding

When we are making Summer Sausage or other cured sausages we want to grind the meat twice. The 1st grind should be through a 3/8" plate (or the largest you have that is not a breaker or kidney plate) to take your meat from whole muscle chunks into roughly ground meat. After the meat has been ground once it should be put back through the grinder again, this time through a 1/8" plate (or the smallest you have) to further breakdown the meat. If your meat warms up past the mid 30°s during this step it is going to take a lot longer, putting your meat back in a freezer between grinds can speed up this process. Be aware, the 2nd grind will take significantly longer than the 1st grind. Or, use the Walton's One Shot Grinder Head Attachment to complete both grinds in one pass.

Mixing

Transfer your ground meat to your meat mixer and add water, seasoning and any other additives except for Encapsulated Citric Acid. If you are using the Walton's 50 lb Mixer your Walton's 12, 22 or 32 Processing Grinder can power this unit and do the mixing for you. If you are not then attach the handle and being mixing. Mix until you begin to achieve protein extraction, where the meat starts to become sticky and tacky. Then add your encapsulated citric and mix for another 60 seconds. If you are mixing by hand you will want to make sure that you are working the meat efficiently, a good way to do this is as you make mixing motions with your hands, also squeeze down into a fist, forcing the meat to come out through your fingers. This will further help breakdown the proteins and help them bind to eachother.

Stuffing

Choose the largest stuffing tube that your Fibrous casing will fit over and attach that to your stuffer. Load your stuffer with your meat, being careful to avoid any air pockets in the meat. Slide your casings over your stuffing tube and begin stuffing by turning the crank to push the piston down. Your hand that is not turning the crank should be lightly holding the casing onto the stuffing tube to make sure that it is being stuffed fully. If you hold it too loosely the casing will be under stuffed and cause you issues during the smoking process, hold it too tightly and you will burst the casing.

Holding

If you have added Encapsulated Citric Acid, or another cure accelerator you can move directly to the smoking phase. If you did not add something to speed the cure you need to hold your Summer Sausage in a refrigerator or cooler overnight to allow the cure to work in the meat. The cure needs to breakdown into nitric oxide, which is actually what is going to cure the meat.

Smoke Schedule

  • Set Smoker to 125°F with no smoke or humidity and set dampers to open
  • If you smoker will not start that low, load your Summer Sausage first, and then set smoker to lowest setting.
  • Set smoker to 140° F and add smoke and humidity, set dampers to closed
  • Set smoker to 155° F for 2 hours, setsmoke and humidity and dampers same as above
  • 175° F until internal temperature of your Summer Sausage is 160° F for beef or pork, 165 ° F for poultry or wild game.

Ice Bath

Remove your Summer Sausage from the smoker once the internal temperature has reached 160° F for beef and pork, 165° F for poultry and wild game and place them directly into an ice-bath for 10-20 minutes depending on the diameter of your summer sausage. This ice-bath should be as close to 50% ice and 50% water as you can manage. The ice-bath performs 2 functions, 1st it stops the cooking process and 2nd it allows the Fibrous casings to release from the meat. If you try to use a cold-water bath the meat will continue to cook for several minutes and the casing is far more likely to stick to the Summer Sausage while peeling. If you have a smoker that can run a shower cycle with a fan running then this will work as well.

Blooming and Packaging

Any cured sausage should be left out at room temperature for 1-2 hours to allow them to bloom, this is where color development sets in the meat. Then put your summer sausage into a cooler or fridge overnight or for 12 hours. Bring them out, let them come up to room temperature and then vacuum seal for long-term storage.

30th Jun 2022 jon@waltons.com BigCommerce

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