Summer sausage: is any sausage that can be kept without refrigeration. Summer sausage is usually a mixture of pork and other meat such as beef or venison. Summer sausage can be dried or smoked, and while curing ingredients vary significantly, curing salt is almost always used. Seasonings may include mustard seeds, black pepper, garlic salt, or sugar.
I think that maybe we made one of our most wise of purchases when we bought the meat grinder. It was half off at Academy Sports right after Thanksgiving, so it was well below budget.
Being sausage virgins, we opted for a kit that came with casings, seasonings, and cure. (Academy Sports and Bass Pro shops both carry the kit we used, Lem Backwoods summer sausage kit, the link is if you would rather shop online during flu season)
While the kit really eased our minds as far as first time sausage making went, I found out later while making breakfast sausage that it’s just as easy to gather spices and such from the pantry, and much more cost efficient. Nevertheless, breakfast sausage is a whole nother ball game and a post for another day.
- 5 – 6 pound bone in venison shoulder (or 4 pounds boned venison)
- 1 pound fatty pork (we had a pound of “city bacon” left over from Bubba)
- 1 packet seasoning from the 10# kit
- 5 casings
If using a bone in shoulder, remove fat and cut meat off bone, being sure to remove any gristle. (while fat is my friend, the “wild” game taste tends to come from the fat and meat that has not been well drained.)
Once you have the meat off the bone, cut into chunks, make sure they are not tiny, but also not too big for the grinder chute.
Grinding the sausage was faster than we figured. It would probably be a good idea that once you have your venison in chunks to go ahead and start soaking your casings. The soaking procedure varies with the type of casing you use, refer to your directions for optimal results.
Mix seasoning and cure packet with water per directions in kit and mix with ground meat. Because I am a control freak, it is at this time we re-ground the entire batch to make sure it was mixed well.
I must apologize in advance for the lack of stuffing pictures. Turns out that stuffing and tying the sausages takes at least four hands.
Once your sausages are cased and tied, put them in the fridge for 24 hours to cure. Because we didn’t want to wait and we had a bit of ground meat leftover, we rolled some up uncased and baked in the oven.
There are directions in the kit and on the Lem site for either baking or smoking. We decided to do both. We baked them for half the time and finished them in the smoker, making sure that the internal temperature was 165°.
Upon removing them from the smoker/oven immerse them in ice water to stop the cooking.
The summer sausage turned out really nice. It goes quickly in these parts, so next time I think we’ll do a whole ten pounds.