Matter of fact....any overall sausage making tips are appreciated.
I just made up a bunch of sausage. Made up the seasoning mixes myself and they all turned out really good. I took notes about what worked and what was messed up.
Here's the summer sausage mixes and results:
Summer Sausage: For 10 pound batch: 5 pounds fine ground elk & 5 pounds fine ground pork butt 10 tablespoons Morton Tender Quick Curing Salt1 2 tablespoons black pepper 2 teaspoons mustard seed 2 teaspoons marjoram 2 tablespoons sugar 2 tablespoons fresh minced garlic 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper2 8 blanched fresh jalapeno peppers3 2 tablespoons ground dry jalapeno (not in recipe)4 1 pound high temperature cheese5 Notes: Made up 3 different ~10-pound batches. 1. Made up 2 batches with the Morton TQ salt that turned out just right for salt. Ran out of TQ cure so substituted pink cure salt at 2 teaspoons and used 10 tablespoons of regular Morton iodized salt. That batch came out salty – probably needed to cut back the regular salt to 8 tablespoons or so. 2. Doubled up the red pepper on one batch and it was better for my taste and still not too spicy. Plan to double up on red pepper for future batches. 3. Used jalapenos in 2 batches. Removed the seeds and veins on the peppers then chopped them into small squares. You have to blanch them so that they will stay crisp and fresh through the process and freeze/thaw. 4. Wanted more jalapeno flavor. This was not in the recipe. This turned out well. Not too hot and great flavor! Definitely a great addition! Plan to add jalapeno powder in the future. 5. High temp cheddar, pepper jack, and habanero cheese in these mixes. Turned out great! Got held up waiting on the cheese to show up so mixed up the seasonings in about 1 cup of cold water and mixed up with the meat. Set it in the fridge for a week until I could get back to it. The meat set up pretty good due to the cure so had to add more water and mix again to get it to where I could mix the cheese and jalapenos in and so it would go through the sausage stuffer. Added water, jalapenos, and cheese to the mixes (no jalapenos in the habanero batch) and stuffed into the big mahogany cases. Ended up around 12-14# each for the 3 different mixes. The additional weight was probably due to adding the water.
• Mix 1 – Cheddar Jalapeno: Turned out really good for balance. Not quite as good as the pepper jack one. Still friggin’ amazingly good! Great cheddar taste and the jalapenos made it. • Mix 2 – Pepper Jack Jalapeno: Perfect. The bomb! Best summer sausage ever. • Mix 3 – Habanero Cheese: Good, but a little salty. Probably due to using the pink salt instead of the Morton TQ salt. Would like to try adding some different peppers to the mix like serrano and jalapenos. Smoking/Cooking: • Smoked each batch in the smoker at 120oF with Hickory for 2 to 2 ½ hours. • Cooked in the oven at 200oF for about 5 hours till the internal temp got to 160-165oF. • Dropped in ice water (snow and water in a cooler outside at 5oF) till they cooled down. • Cut in ~1# sticks and vacuum sealed then put in the freezer.
Let me know your email and I can send it that way.
Also have recipes for breakfast and Italian that turned out really good.
Then crank it up to 150 with the damper half open and add your wood chips. I usually smoke about 2 hrs. going through 2 pans of chips.
Then close the damper completely to keep all the humidity in and crank to 180 to finish cooking. It's finished when it hits about 160.
Next, pull it out into a meat lug and rinse with cold water out of your garden hose to cool it down. Not absolutely neccessary but this keeps it from wrinkling.
Check out Curley's Sausage Kitchen and click on any of his smoked sausage recipes. This is the standard procedure he uses for pretty much all of his sausages.
Tips: If you use a Masterbuilt smoker, crack the wood chip hopper during the first 2 steps to help with air flow. Also, occasionally rotate the grates for even cooking.
First Hour – Set temp in smoker to 140 with damper wide open until product is dry/tacky to touch
Second Hour – Close damper and raise temp to 220 and smoke for 1 hr 30 min
Third Hour – Reduce temp to 170 – Maintain until internal temperature of the sausage product reaches 155 degrees internally at which time the sausage is fully cooked.
Remove sausages from smoker and shower with cold water or place in ice bath to stop cooking process.
Blooming – Suspend sausage at room temperature for 2-3 hours. This allows sausage to dry and ‘age’ before storage
Refrigerate or vacuum seal and freeze for later use
Nick or Brad,
When you talk about drying I assume you are talking about drying the sausage roll in the smoker, correct? Brad's comment about drying til it is tacky has me a little confused, but I assume he means the feel of the casing not the meat itself?
Since you need to soak the casing in water for 30-45 mins before stuffing them, they are pretty soggy.
Once stuffed, put them in the smoker to tack up the casings
Thats a MasterBuilt 30" smoker