Yield: 5 pounds uncooked, 4 pounds cooked
- 3 pounds coarsely ground, very cold beef chuck
- 2 pounds coarsely ground, very cold, well-marbled pork shoulder
- 1/2 cup ice cold water
- 4 teaspoons sugar-based curing mixture such as Morton Tender Quick Home Meat Cure
- 3 to 4 teaspoons salt, or to taste
- 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon whole mustard seed, or to taste
- 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper or whole black peppercorns, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon sugar or to taste
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon leaf marjoram
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon hickory-flavored liquid smoke (optional)
- In a very large, cold, stainless-steel bowl or enamel pan, mix beef, pork, water, curing mixture, salt, mustard seed, pepper, sugar, garlic, marjoram, and optional cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, and liquid smoke.
- To make sure the seasonings are to your liking, fry a small patty and taste. Adjust if necessary. Cover bowl with plastic, and refrigerate for three days, mixing well once a day.
- After the meat has cured for three days, on the fourth day, heat the oven to 200 degrees F. Using slightly dampened hands, shape the mixture into five (1-pound) logs.
- Place the logs on a wire cooling rack over a large rimmed sheet pan to catch any drips. Bake slowly for 8 hours. Remove from oven and drain sausages on paper towels.
- When completely cool, wrap the logs individually in plastic. Refrigerate until completely cold before slicing. Alternatively, freeze the well-wrapped baked sausage for later use.
- Serve slices of summer sausage with grainy mustard, horseradish, and pickles or on whole-grain bread with tomatoes and lettuce. And a cold beer never hurt anything!
Summer Sausage Is a Year-Round Recipe
Don't let the name of this sausage fool you. Summer sausage is made year-round with meat scraps left from when animals are butchered.
Beef and pork, as in this recipe, aren't the only types of meat one can use. Veal, venison, duck, chicken, turkey or a combination of meats are popular. No adjustment in time or temperature is necessary. As the meat cooks at low temperatures out of the temperature danger zone for such a long time, it desicates or dries out any meat, regardless of type, safely, and the fat in the meat keeps the sausage moist.
Seasonings can include garlic, marjoram, mustard seeds, whole black peppercorns, salt, chiles and sugar, but this varies regionally. Try the original recipe and adjust to your taste preferences.
Grinding and Casing Trick
If you intend to grind your sausage meat instead of purchasing it ground, and if you stuff it into casings, the trick to sausage-making is having all the ingredients at very cold temperatures (it is easier to grind and stuff into casings) and to use enough fat so the sausage will be moist (70 to 30 percent ratio of meat to fat).