08 August, 2007


Summer Sausage

Hot 'nuff? when the going gets hot, the hot get smokin. As ritual for inhabitants of every great metropolis at the heights of summer, it is incumbent upon us to escape the grit for the country airs. What you don't have a summer home? Yeah, me neither. So one must ply great friends with sausage and mustard so that his family can share a woodsy hole for a quiet weekend in the country. Actually there wasn't much plying involved, just planning, and we were off for the wilds of Wisconsin.

The prep started the Monday before for summer sausage. I don't have any in-depth research to present on the origins of this particular sausage (during the summer the library only stocks romance novels and historical fiction, I finally broke down and checked out Heat, it was actually very good) but suffice to say, as any Midwesterner would, being the oft the recipient of the Hickory Hills gift boxes thus being very familiar with the cased meat, summer sausage strives (and succeeds) to be a heavily smoked fermented semi dry salami type sausage. Except instead of drying and curing for three weeks or three months, you can make it (at home!) in three days.

The recipe uses a few exotic ingredients: Fermento, dextrose and pink salt. Fermento is a dairy derived powder that provides a tang that takes fermentation months to achieve. I got mine from Sausage Maker. Dextrose is corn sugar. Pink salt is 6.25 percent sodium nitrite and is an ingredient used to keep botulism at bay when curing meat. I got mine at the Spice House. I adapted the recipe from Charcuterie:

Summer Sausage

631 g Pork shoulder, cubed
204 g Pork Fat (in this case from the shoulder), diced
835 g Chuck, trimmed and cubed.
30 g Salt
22 g dextrose
5 g pink salt
60 g Fermento
12 g whole black mustard seed
3 g coriander
1 g garlic powder

I combined the cubed meats (not the fat) with the salts and ran it through the large plate of the meat grinder.

Next I mixed the Fermento with about 100 ml of cold water making a thin paste. Then I ran the whole spices through the grinder and added them along with the garlic to the Fermento paste. Using the paddle attachment I mixed the paste with the meat mixture and continued to to mix until it started to come together, about one minute. Finally, using a really big spoon I folded in the diced fat. I put the mixture in a Ziploc, squeezed all the air out, then into the fridge for three days.

On Wednesday, I ran the mixture through the small plate of the meat grinder, and stuffed it into hog casings, then then let the links rest overnight on hooks. Sorry I didn't take any photos here, but you can look at last years summer sausage post to see what's going on.

On Thursday, ( wait I thought you said three days? Well yeah, if you are in a hurry, but things taste better when you don't rush) I set up the smoker. I wanted to smoke the sausage for as long as possible so cold smoke was the order. In the Spring when the neighbor and I did Sausage Mania, I bought and some hickory sawdust, a steel bowl and a hot plate, in an attempt to simplify the cold smoking process. I figured I could put the hot plate in the bottom of my bullet smoker and smolder the hickory dust for a fine cold smoke. Except it got too hot. Cold smoking (so I have read) is supposed to be done at temperatures below 100F. This time I wasn't as fussy, I was going to let the smoke take its own course. Besides it was already above 90F outside anyway.

The hood temp settled around 125F. My plan was to smoke them as low as possible for five hours then crank my K-Mart hot plate to white hot and finish the sausages to an internal temperature of 150F.

While that's cooking why not relax and make some sausage?

The boys cranked out four pounds of Bratwurst with marjoram and caraway.

Back to the summer sausage. After seven hours of smoking I couldn't get the internal temp past 135F, so I finished them in the oven(final internal temp 160F), then put them in and ice bath, then let them rest unwrapped in the fridge.

On Friday we drove to Wisconsin.

photo credit harryspiderman

photo credit harryspiderman
When weren't pursuing important activities such as sleeping in a hammock or hiking, we ate our summer sausage with cheese, specifically Pleasant Hill Reserve from the Uplands Cheese Company.

Sausage and Mustard?

Amerikanische Rostbratwurst in natural habitat (Wisconsin).

I hope you are making good food and enjoying beautiful Summer weekends.


1 comment:

Keeks said...

Well I sure am EATING good food and enjoying summer weekends, thanks to y'all!