HOMEMADE SAUSAGE Challenge
Smoked Sausage 101 What You Need to Know to Get Started with Sausage
Whenmy grandfather came over to the U.S. from Ireland, he brought his sausage-making skills and his recipes with him. Those are skills that were passed on tomy father, and then on tome. And, thankfully, I was able to save a lot of his old recipes. For newbies, smoked sausage is a pretty easy and flavorful sausage to make. It’s a good“starter”sausage. You can get used tomaking it with a meat grinder and stuffing the sausage before moving onto the other kinds of sausage.
When you buy casings (which you can get frommany butcher supply companies, as well as the companies I listed above), such as hog or beef casings, they’ll usually come dried out. What you want to do is separate the strands. They often come in 5-foot
lengths. Find one end and run it under the sink first — just the end for now. This ensures you don’t lose the end when you soak the rest of the casing. When the end is nice andmoist, you can soak the rest of each strand in warmwater for about 30 minutes. Just be sure to hang the pre-soaked end over the edge of the cup, dish, or tub you are using to soak the rest of the casing. After about 30 minutes, you’re ready to start stuffing. Grab the end of the casing with your thumb and forefinger, give it a little rub, and you should be able to find the opening to put over the stuffer nozzle. If you can get an extra hand or two to help out, I certainly recommended it! If you’ve never made sausage before, for the first fewminutes, you’re going to want to get a feel for it as you keep one hand on the casing and nozzle and another hand on the crank. As you fill the casing, you can twist it (three times clockwise on one end, three times counterclockwise on the next end, repeating with each link) or tie it every 9 inches. That’s a good length to work with when you get to the smoking part of this adventure. You’ll eventually find a rhythm, but you do want to be patient with the machine, the casing, and yourself. Alright, with your sausages stuffed, it’s time tomove on to smoking! The goal with smoking sausage is to bring the sausage up to an internal temperature of about 150 F. If they get any warmer than 165 F, they turn to sawdust and they’re no fun to eat.
The best place to start is with the grinding process. This part can be pretty involved between grinding your meat to the right consistency and finding the right casings. When it comes to the meat itself, my go-to is pork (pork shoulder or butt). It has a good 70/30 meat-to-fat ratio, making it perfect for smoking.
If you don’t currently own your own grinder, thankfully there are many grinders on the market that can be purchased for under $100. You can get them at Bass Pro Shops, Gander Outdoors, Cabela’s, or online. They come in different sizes and styles, so you can find one that fits your needs. A lot of my grinders came from LEM, a company well-known for its meat processing equipment. I started out with a hand-crank sausage grinder back in the day. It was something that was passed down frommy grandmother. She also had a cast-iron sausage stuffer, which doubles as a fruit press. I actually still have both and use them every once in a while. They’re great tools to have whether you want some homemade bologna or apple juice! Now, for someone who has never made sausage before, it’s the casing that can be a little intimidating. Getting the end of the casing over the spout of the stuffer isn’t always the easiest task, but I have a few tips to get you started.
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with a possible subheader right underneath As for the temperature of the smoker itself, you want to bring it up to 175 F to 185 F before you start smoking. One good rule of thumb is to have the smoker about 20 degrees warmer than the finishing temperature of the meat (in this case, about 150 F to 155 F). From there, you’ll be smoking for a good 2–2 1/2 hours. You don’t want to leave your sausages unattended because if they get too warm, they might burst, and that’s the worst. Remember, you want to be in control of the heat, not the cook time. I try to end withmy sausages a nice reddish-brown color that lets me know they have that ideal smoky flavor.
When it comes to hanging your sausage in the smoker, you’ll get the best results if you leave at least a half inch between each link. Some people like to cram their smoker full of sausage, but you won’t get a good smoke if you do that.
The moment the sausage hits the 150 F mark, I take themout of the smoker and submerge them in cold water for five minutes. This will stop the cooking. From there, you can do a couple different things. You can get them ready to freeze, or you can store them in the fridge if you plan on grilling themor cooking with them in the next few days. And that is Smoked Sausage 101! As you practice, you can try different types of sausage and work your way up. Before you know it, you’ll have a freezer full of sausage! It’s hard to beat a good smoked sausage— that classic, jack-of-all-trades kind of sausage. –Danny McTurnan
Dan’s Hard Salami Get Ready for the Best Cheese and Cracker Spread of the Season!
2 1/2 pounds ground beef
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2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
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2 1/2 pounds venison
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1/2 teaspoon onion powder 1 teaspoon mustard seed
3/4 cup red wine
3% kosher salt relative to the weight of meat (about 5 tablespoons)
Prague powder #2 (optional*)
Directions First, mix seasonings in small bowl, then add your meats and the wine. Venison should be rough cut into 1/2-inch cubes. After your meats have been seasoned, let them rest in the fridge overnight. The next day, it’s time to grind! Grind your meats once with a coarse blade and then a second time with a fine blade. This will ensure a good mix and a good texture later on. Then, begin filling your cases. This is where you’re going to have a lot of options regarding what kind of width you want. Use a brat casing for a narrow salami or go a bit bigger with a summer sausage casing. Or, if you want to make salami that’s perfect to put on a sandwich, you can go with a beef casing. Once you have your sausage casings stuffed, the salami needs to hang overnight at room temperature (about 68 F). This will start the fermentation process.
After resting overnight, take the salami and hang it in a fridge for 10 weeks. You may have to make room in your fridge—or, if you have second fridge, great! Just make sure the salami does not touch any of the surfaces in the fridge. This may take a little work and some string to get just right. After about three weeks, you should begin to see a white mold growing on the salami. This tells you the meat is curing correctly. If you see any black mold, the salami has spoiled and needs to be thrown out.
After 10 weeks, the salami is ready to eat. But first, slice off a small piece, remove the rind, and give it a taste.
*If you have any doubt about this process, you can add Prague powder #2 to the mix. Just go by the directions on the container on howmuch to use per pound of meat. This curing product helps eliminate bacteria that may get into the meat.
Dan ' s Smoked Sausage A Classic Recipe for a Classic Sausage
5 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into large cubes
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1 tablespoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds, lightly crushed
1 teaspoon pink salt for curing (Prague powder #1)
2 tablespoons granulated garlic or 3 tablespoons minced garlic 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
1 cup of ice water
Hog casings, soaked and cleaned in cold water
Mix spices in small bowl, then add to the cubed pork. Once it’s mixed, let the meat rest overnight in the fridge. This helps the flavors really bloom. After the overnight rest, get ready to grind. Now, one thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want your meat becoming too warm. It’s best to grind and stuff in smaller batches while some of the meat stays in the fridge until you’re ready for it. Ideally, you want to keep your meat between 34 F and 46 F. With that in mind, you can start grinding and stuffing your casings. As you work, twist or tie every 9 inches. Then, once you’re done stuffing, have a cool place where they can hang, such as a fridge, garage, or even outdoors (again, just make sure it’s cold). Now, it’s time to smoke your sausage! Fire up your smoker and bring it up to 185 F. When it hits that temp, place your sausage in the smoker. Ideally, you want them hanging.
During the smoke, be sure the smoker temp doesn’t go over 225 F. You want to bring up the internal temp of the sausage slowly. This will prevent the sausage casings from bursting. You’ll know they’re done when the internal temp of the sausage reaches 155 F to 160 F. When they hit that temp, take them out of the smoker and submerge them in cold water for about 5 minutes. This will stop the cooking process. Then, take them out of the water, pat them dry, and seal them in freezer bags. Freeze them until you’re ready to cook them.
Warm them up on the grill or add them to any of your favorite dishes. It’s hard to beat red beans and rice with smoked sausage!
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Smoked Sausage 101
Dan’s Hard Salami
Dan’s Smoked Sausage
Grill Givaway and Live Session Dates
HOMEMADE SAUSAGE Challenge
“Ask a PRO” LIVE Sessions • LIVE“Ask a PRO”Session #1 TOPIC: Homemade Smoked Sausage Sunday 12/9/18, 5 p.m. Central • LIVE“Ask a PRO”Session #2 TOPIC: Dan’s Homemade Hard Salami Sunday 12/16/ 18, 5 p.m. Central Go to gsa.life/2018december for instructions on how to access these LIVE sessions.
Are you ready to put your grilling and smoking skills to the test? Take the Sausage Challenge and you could WIN up to $500 in grilling and meat-smoking prizes! Wanna knowmore? Head over to gsa.life/2018 december for all the details on how to enter. Good luck, and we look forward to seeing what you cook up!
Win a FREE Masterbuilt 40” Digital Electric Smoker. Details at gsa.life/2018december .
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