I really like making my own sausage. So, I had to give it a try in my new Louisiana Grills Pellet Smoker. I made Trail Bologna and Summer Sausage. I will show the Summer Sausage in this post and the Trail Bologna in the next.
I used a commercial package of seasoning from Smokehouse Products. The spices are measured to be used with 5 pounds of meat.
I had some moose in the freezer so I used 2 pounds of moose and 3 pounds of pork shoulder. You want to use at least 1/3 fatty pork or the sausage would be too lean and dry.
I made sure the meat was cold. It is important to keep the meat cold throughout the process. It grinds better and gives a superior texture to your sausage. I cut the moose and pork up and ran it through my KitchenAid grinder attachment with a medium plate. I put it in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
The seasoning mix does not include a curing agent. I don’t like to do a long smoke without a curing agent. It helps prevent bacterial growth and gives that nice red colour to the sausage. I used Prague Powder #1 (also known as Instacure or several other names). The important thing to check is that it has 6.25 % sodium nitrite and the 93.75 % salt.
For 5 pounds of meat, you will need to add 1/4 ounce by weight curing agent. Do not use more or less. If you use less, you will not have enough to inhibit bacteria growth. If you use too much, it can make you ill.
I measured 1/4 ounce of curing agent on a small scale. If you don’t have a small scale, 1 teaspoon is an approximation. I mixed that into the seasonings from Smokehouse.
I spread the ground meat out on a baking tray and forced my finger tips into it to make a lot of indentation. I sprinkled the seasoning mixture over it and folded an edge of the meat into the centre and pressed it flat again. I did this until all the seasoning was moistened.
Then I pressed my fingertips into the meat and poured 1 cup of water over the meat. I mixed the meat for 4 minutes by folding it over, pressing it flat and rotating the pan. The meat should be a little sticky when you are done.
Put the meat in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
I put the meat in my LEM sausage stuffer with the largest filling tube. I used non edible fibrous casings that had been soaking in warm water. These come in various widths and lengths. They also allow smoke to permeate the sausage while cooking. I use two 3 inch casings that each hold about 2 1/2 pounds of processed meat.
I put the casings on the horn and filled them with sausage.
I tied off the open end. and put them in the fridge overnight.
In the morning, I took them out of the fridge and dried any condensation off them with a paper towel. Then, I put them on a rack for an hour to make sure they were dry. Smoke takes better if they are dry.
I put the sausages in my pellet smoker but did not turn it on. I put an A-MAZE-N pellet cold smoker in the pellet smoker and propped the door open a bit. This allowed me to cold smoke the sausage for 2 hours. This is totally optional but gives a stronger smoke flavour if you like that.
I took the sausage out and turned the pellet grill on to 180 F and put the sausage back in. It took about 4 hours for the internal temperature to reach 157 F. There is some controversy here. The instructions in the package say to get it to 165 F. Some expert sausage makers say 150 F. By experimentation, I have found 157 to give the texture I like while still being food safe.
When the sausage is up to the desired internal temperature, Plunge it in ice water for 10 minutes to stop the cooking. Then put it on a rack to dry and get a better colour for an hour. Put it in the fridge for at least overnight before cutting. I like to let it sit for at least 24 hours.
After it has rested in the fridge, Cut it into pieces that would be convenient to use in a day or two. Of course, I cut a few slices to taste.
I wrap the pieces in plastic wrap and put the pieces in a resealable freezer bag. I freeze the bag of sausage and take out a piece at a time as I need it.
This spice blend makes a very nice summer sausage. There is just a hint of heat offset by a nice sweetness. It is not too salty. I can recommend this seasoning whole heartedly.
The Old Fat Guy