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Last year I got really interested in making my own Charcuterie. Who hasn't. So I got the book, I got the grinder, I got the stuffer, I got the pink salt and started making some fresh sausage, bacon, and Canadian Bacon. Not as much as I'd like, but my inner voices compete - one says eat healthier, the other says make BBQ, sausage and meat. Right now the carnivore is winning so I'm trying to take sausage to the next level and make cured, fully cooked summer sausage. Never done it before and it is a 3-4 day ongoing process so I thought I would share how it is going and how it turns out - good or bad.
I followed a recipe I found on smoking meat forums that sounded intriguing. It didn't call for starter culture (good because I didn't have it) but called for buttermilk, dextrose, and milk powder followed by a 1-3 day wait while some lactic acid bacteria can hopefully get going and bring the pH down (acid up) for some tang to the sausage. I used 60/40 lean beef to lean pork.
On Tuesday night, I decided to cheat and bought fresh ground (so no pictures of nice sized sub primals getting trimmed and chopped into grinder sized bits. The ground meat was weighed and the spice mix was measured accordingly. 10 lbs to jump in with both feet.
With a gloved hand and determination I mixed that cold block of meat until it was nice and tacky and evenly mixed. The debate was do I let it cure like this overnight and stuff tomorrow, or finish the mess in one night and stuff now. I went ahead and stuffed it at the same time.
So into the fridge it went for 3 days. I kept a small bag of mix and checked it after the first day to find it nice and firm, so the cure was working, and after 3 days the taste when fried up seemed nice and peppery with notes of garlic and marjoram. I am hopeful that a good smoke will bring the flavours up to the next level.
Tonight after work I got the egg set with small pieces of lump and my Cyber Q to attempt my first sub 200 fire. In fact I'm shooting for 150 degrees for a few hours. I lit a tiny fire on top of the small lump and immediately put in my indirect piece and connected the cyber q. I set the initial temp for 145 degrees and watched as I closed the lid to see the temp hold and then drop I presume when the igniter piece burned out. After 45 minutes the temp was holding around 145-150 so I put the chubs on.
The temp dropped from the mass of cool meat that went in but after 30-45 minutes the temp was back up to 150 inside the egg. It overshot a bit when I went out to add my pellet smoker. This was the first fumble of the process. The smoker was going good when I put it in, but without lots of air entering the system it snuffed out so after 2 hours the only smoke on the meat was from the burning lump. I fixed that with a few good hunks of hickory right on the burning lump about 50 minutes ago when I mounted thermometers into chubbs on the top and bottom racks to monitor internals. At 11:00 o'clock tonight they are at 120 internal and I've bumped up the cyber q to 155'F to slowly approach done. I'll post updates as the cook goes on.