OFG Trail Bologna

Trail Bologna is an all beef sausage that originated in Trail, Ohio. You can still buy Troyer’s a brand from one of the original purveyors. However, I don’t like the texture of 100% beef sausage so I tried to maintain a tasty version with some pork in it.

I have had to do work arounds for making sausage. To get a good texture in cured sausage, you need 2 things. First, you must keep the meat cold at all times.

Second, you need to start it at a low temperature that you slowly increase to prevent the fat breaking from the meat giving a poor texture. Smokers refer to this as a fat out.

My trustee old Bradley would go to low temperatures but my newer pellet smokers don’t. I have got by by using my WSM Mini Charcoal Smoker but I am getting lazy and wanted an more automated system.

I have started cold smoking my sausage with a A-Maze-N tube smoker and then using my oven to do the slow cooking at the lowest temperatures. I then put it in my pellet smoker when the desired temperatures are in that range.

If you have a smoker that can cook at 140 F (60 C) you don’t have to do the cold smoke.

I do point out that I have made this in the oven without smoking and it is very good but I do miss the smoke.

Also, Trail Bologna is a cured sausage which means you will be using curing salts. These are called Prague powder #1, Instacure #1, Pink Salt #1 or other names. Whatever it is called, you are looking for a product that is 93.75% salt and 6.25% sodium nitrite. If it has these ingredients in that proportion, you can use it. Curing salts are needed to give the nice pink colour and to preserve the meat during the long slow smoke. You must use the exact proportions in the recipe as too little will not do this and too much is bad for you.

You will also need a fibrous casing and some method to stuff it. A fibrous casing is a membrane that allows smoke to pass through while the sausage is cooking. They come in different sizes and colours. The vendor will usually tell you how much meat the casing will hold. Personally, I like 2 1/2 inch (64 mm) chubs that are 10 inches (254 mm) long. They hold about 1 kg (2 pounds) each but you can use any size you like.

Fibrous casings are not edible and need to be peeled off before serving.

The casing needs to be soaked in warm water. I put it in water when I start.

I started with a mixture of 70% lean beef and 30 % fatty pork shoulder. You can use ground beef from the store and game like venison, elk and moose work well instead of the beef. Make sure the meat is very cold before grinding. Grind it and weigh it. Then, put it in the fridge to stay cold.

You will be mixing the remaining ingredients together to make a slurry. For each kilogram of meat, you will need:

  • 100 ml dry skim milk powder
  • 13 ml Kosher salt
  • 7 ml dry mustard
  • 7 ml paprika
  • 5 ml white pepper
  • 5 ml garlic powder
  • 4 ml onion powder
  • 2 ml celery seed
  • 1.5 ml dried chili flakes
  • 1 ml ground cardamom
  • 1 ml ground mace
  • 0.5 ml ground nutmeg
  • 0.5 ml ground coriander
  • 2.6 grams (2 ml) Prague powder #1
  • 90 ml ice water
  • 10 ml light corn syrup

If you are uncivilized and use US measures, for each pound of meat you will need:

  • 3 tablespoons skim milk powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon¬† paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/3 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried chili flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/16 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/16 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/5 teaspoon Prague powder #1
  • 3 tablespoons ice water
  • 1 teaspoon light corn syrup

Spread the meat on a large sheet tray and poke holes in it with your fingers. Pour the slurry over the meat. Mix the meat by folding half of it towards you and pressing the meat flat. Turn the tray 1/4 turn, fold towards you and press. Continue turning and pressing for 3 minutes.

Put the meat in the fridge for an hour to chill.

Put 1 kg (2 pounds) of the meat in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Mix at medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes.

You are looking for the meat to be pasty and sticky. Repeat until all the meat has been beaten. Refrigerate the meat for 1 hour.

Stuff the meat into the casings and tie off the open end.

Refrigerate the chubs overnight to allow the ingredients to blend.

If you are going to be doing the chubs in your oven, cold smoke for 2 hours and refrigerate the chubs overnight.

If your smoker will go as low as 140  F (60 C) or you will be cooking them without smoke, put them in a smoker or oven preheated and cook to the following schedule

  • 1 hour at 140 F (60 C)
  • 1 hour at 150 F (65 C)
  • 1 hour at 160 F (70 C)
  • 1 hour at 170 F (75 C)

Then increase the temperature to 180 F (80 C) and cook until the internal temperature of the sausage is 155 F (68 C).

Plunge the chubs into ice water for 10 minutes to stop the cooking. Then let them sit at room temperature for 4 hours.

Store the sausage refrigerated or freeze if not eating in the next week.

The Verdict

I love this recipe. It has a nice firm texture, hints of bologna spices but with a great garlic hit and just a touch of spice.

The Old Fat Guy

OFG Trail Bologna

OFG Trail Bologna

Ingredients

  • 70% lean beef
  • 30% fatty pork shoulder
  • Metric:
  • For each kilogram of meat:
  • 100 ml dry skim milk powder
  • 13 ml Kosher salt
  • 7 ml dry mustard
  • 7 ml paprika
  • 5 ml white pepper
  • 5 ml garlic powder
  • 4 ml onion powder
  • 2 ml celery seed
  • 1.5 ml dried chili flakes
  • 1 ml ground cardamom
  • 1 ml ground mace
  • 0.5 ml ground nutmeg
  • 0.5 ml ground coriander
  • 2.6 grams (2 ml) Prague powder #1
  • 90 ml ice water
  • 10 ml light corn syrup
  • US Measures
  • 3 tablespoons skim milk powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon¬† paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/3 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried chili flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/16 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/16 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/5 teaspoon Prague powder #1
  • 3 tablespoons ice water
  • 1 teaspoon light corn syrup

Instructions

  1. Presoak fibrous casings.
  2. Grind the beef and pork. Put in the fridge to keep cold.
  3. Mix the remaining ingredients into a slurry.
  4. Mix the slurry thoroughly with the meat.
  5. Refrigerate the meat until cold.
  6. Put the meat in a stand mixer and beat on medium 3 to 4 minutes to get a pasty texture.
  7. Refrigerate the meat until cold.
  8. Stuff the casings with the meat mixture.
  9. Refrigerate overnight.
  10. If making the sausage in the oven, you may choose to cold smoke the sausage for 2 to 4 hours and refrigerate overnight.
  11. Put the sausage in a 140 F (60 C) oven or smoker and smoke for 1 hour.
  12. Increase the heat by 10 F (5 C) every hour until it gets to 180 F (80 C).
  13. Cook the sausage to an internal temperature of 155 F (68 C).
  14. Plunge the sausage into ice water for 10 minutes.
  15. Let sit at room temperature for 4 hours.
  16. Store in the refrigerator or freeze if it will not be eaten within a week.
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