Summer Sausage

With well over 50 pounds of competition trimmings still in the freezer I decided to try to make some summer sausage. I used 8 pounds of ground venison and 7 pounds of pork trimmings for this batch.  The first step was to grind the pork:

Grinding the pork; note the condensation on the grinder

Grinding the pork; note the condensation on the grinder

It’s important to keep the meat and equipment as cold as possible during this process as it helps the grinder make a clean cut and keeps the fat from melting. If the fat melts it will leave you with a greasy mouth feel when consumed.

Once the pork was ground I mixed in the ground venison and seasonings;

Venison and pork, mixed and seasoned

Venison and pork, mixed and seasoned

and fried a small test patty. Kristi and I both thought it was a little bland so we added some ground pepper, cayenne pepper and a little BBQ seasoning, then placed it in the refrigerator for 24 hours to “bloom”.  The next evening we stuffed 2 logs, then added some Colby Jack cheese I had cut into small cubes;

Added some cheese to half the mix

Added some cheese to half the mix

and stuffed 2 more plus a shorty;

Stuffed and left to bloom another night

Stuffed and left to bloom another night

Back into the refrigerator they went overnight, then the next morning into the Cookshack FEC 100 to cook;

Hung in the FEC100 for some smoke

Hung in the FEC100 for some smoke

My FEC 100 has the new IQ5 controller which will go as low as 130°, perfect for smoking sausage. It also has the capability of being able to extract information about your cooking temperatures and making it into a graph;

Graph of the sausage cook

Graph of the sausage cook

I set the IQ5 to ‘smoke’ at 130° for 2 hours, then ‘cook’ at 150° for 2 hours, then ‘hold’ at 180°. I had 2 thermometers in the sausages to monitor the internal temperature so that I could pull them when they reached 155°. It took about 6 hours and at that time they had taken on a pretty mahogany color:

At an internal temperature of 155°

At an internal temperature of 155°

At this point they came out of the smoker and went into an ice bath to set the fat;

Into the ice bath

Into the ice bath

After they had cooled to under 90° I dried them off, let them hand at room temp for a couple hours and back into the fridge. Of course we had to cut into the shorty as soon as it cooled;

the finished product

the finished product

The fat content and texture we where I wanted them but I thought it was still a little bland so I’ll try to kick it up a little for next time. I think I’ll also pick up some high temp cheese for future batches. My testers all thought it was good enough to eat, so my family and some friends can expect some summer sausage in their Christmas stocking.

Today’s tip is don’t be afraid to try new things. There are several mixes and enough instructions online for anyone with the right equipment to make their own summer sausage. Although a quality grinder and stuffer make the work easier, it can be done with basic equipment. If you don’t have a smoker it can be done in an oven.