Venison Summer Sausage

I’ve been tweaking this recipe for years, and finally have it where I want it. More than one person has told me it’s the best they’ve ever had.

A big part of the great flavor is the satisfying “tang” that comes from adding ECA (Encapsulated Citric Acid). The encapsulation (made from hydrogenated vegetable oil) melts at the proper temperature to expose the meat to the citric acid at the right time in the process.

I’m starting to shift from imperial to metric. Sorry if that’s a hassle – but digital kitchen scales are inexpensive, accurate, rugged, and widely available. You need one. Sausage recipes benefit from accuracy and repeatability, particularly with things like salt and cure.

Several of the ingredients may not be available at your grocer. Try a butcher or online at sites like SausageMaker.com or Waltonsinc.com/seasonings. Even Amazon.

Part of the secret is the timing and temperatures. They are important but can be a hassle to attain. Babysitting a smoker gets old fast.

I use an external smoke generator (google “Mailbox mod”) with the temperature in my electric smoker precisely managed by a programmable “Auber WSD-1500H-W” PID controller that connects to wi-fi, and has a mobile app, so I can monitor or control the cook from anywhere I can get internet access.

It costs a bit but makes a complex temperature schedule easy to handle. Warning – PID’s don’t work on digitally controlled devices unless they are first modified to allow the PID to directly control the heating element. Most digitally controlled electric smokers can be brute modified to put their heating element under PID control (that’s what I did with my Masterbuilt MES 340G). It’s a simple job for anyone comfortable working with wiring, but get help if it looks confusing to you.

Be aware that, depending on the smoker, the modification may disable all digital functions like readouts, wifi, or blue-tooth. Unless restored to original condition they must NEVER be plugged into direct power, but always powered through a PID. The PID can also control other analog heated cooking tools like most slow cookers, portable electric roaster ovens, etc. I use it to make stock in my roaster oven.
Print Recipe
Venison Summer Sausage Yum
About a 70/30 ratio of meat/fat is desirable. Fatback is best.
Course Side dish
Cuisine American
Servings
lbs meat&fat
Ingredients
Meat/Fat
  • 16 lbs venison — trim well and slice into grinder strips or chunks
  • 4 lbs pork butt — trim out large fat chunks, no need to get crazy with it
  • 5 lbs Fatback — try your local butcher. Read more in "notes" below.
Slurry
Final Mix
  • 1 cup whole peppercorns — Sample amount.... 1/2 cup per 25lb seemed a bit light
  • 3/4 cup whole mustard seed — brown, yellow, or a mix of both
  • 3 oz Encapsulated Citric Acid (ECA) — This is added last.
  • casings — Enough to hold your batch. I recommend "fibrous". Check "notes" below for more info. Be sure you have hog rings and hog-ring pliers too.
  • 2.5 lbs OPTIONAL High-Temp cheese — I never use it, but many folks like it. If you opt in, use ony high-temp cheese specifically intended for use in sausage. Add last, with the ECA.
Course Side dish
Cuisine American
Servings
lbs meat&fat
Ingredients
Meat/Fat
  • 16 lbs venison — trim well and slice into grinder strips or chunks
  • 4 lbs pork butt — trim out large fat chunks, no need to get crazy with it
  • 5 lbs Fatback — try your local butcher. Read more in "notes" below.
Slurry
Final Mix
  • 1 cup whole peppercorns — Sample amount.... 1/2 cup per 25lb seemed a bit light
  • 3/4 cup whole mustard seed — brown, yellow, or a mix of both
  • 3 oz Encapsulated Citric Acid (ECA) — This is added last.
  • casings — Enough to hold your batch. I recommend "fibrous". Check "notes" below for more info. Be sure you have hog rings and hog-ring pliers too.
  • 2.5 lbs OPTIONAL High-Temp cheese — I never use it, but many folks like it. If you opt in, use ony high-temp cheese specifically intended for use in sausage. Add last, with the ECA.
Instructions
Step 1
  1. Make a plan for your time. Most important is to avoid significant delay between the time you add the ECA, and when you load the smoker.
  2. Stage grinder parts, fat and chunked meat and in freezer until meat is well firmed but not frozen hard (≈ half an hour)
  3. Coarse grind the fat and return to freezer.
  4. Grind meat through 3/8" plate, return to freezer a few minutes then mix in the coarse-ground fat and re-grind it all through a 3/16" plate (≈ half an hour)
  5. make the slurry and pour over meat. Mix a bit.
  6. Add peppercorns and mustard seed and thoroughly mix until tacky. Add more liquid if it seems too stiff.
  7. If needed you can schedule a break here, up to a day or two, storing the meat in the fridge. Or just carry on, which will eliminate the need to clean your mixer twice.
Step 2 - Add ECA and optional cheese and stuff (VERY IMPORTANT to perform all steps in this group and get the sausage in the smoker without extra delay)
  1. If using fibrous casings, soak in warm water 1/2 hour before stuffing
  2. Add the ECA and optional cheese and mix only until well distributed. No longer than 60 seconds or the encapsulation can be damaged, which exposes the citric acid to the meat too early.
  3. Stuff casings (≈ half an hour)
  4. Hang sausages at room temp 2 to 4 hours.
Step 3 - Smoking
  1. Preheat smoker to 110°F then dry the casings by hanging sausages with full open damper for 2 hours with no water.
  2. Add smoke & water pan, close damper to about 1/3rd open, and raise temp to 120°F for 4 hours. For the rest of the cook when you check things keep an eye on the water. Add boiling water as needed.
  3. Raise temp to 140°F for 2 hours, continuing smoke.
  4. Raise temp to 165°F for 2 hours. Some folks prefer to stop the smoke now. I let it roll.
  5. stop smoke, and raise temp to 170°F until internal sausage temp reaches 152°F
  6. Immediately remove and shower or ice bath to drop internal sausage temp < 120°F
  7. Hang to "bloom" at room temp 2 to 4 hours.
  8. Refrigerate at least a couple of days before use. Freeze for long-term storage, leaving what you'll use within a couple of weeks in the refrigerator.
Recipe Notes

FAT: Use pork fatback. Check with your butcher. Often fatback is sold with some skin still attached. Ask that the skin be removed first, or plan to remove it yourself.

The meat must be also be chilled to a stiff consistency before coarse grind. Then mix the fat and meat and fine grind together.

You could also grind the meat "night before" and refrigerate it covered until mixing in the morning. 

If using Encapsulated Citric Acid, don't mix it in the slurry. You add it last for a final, gentle mix - just enough to get it evenly distributed but not enough to damage the encapsulation. Not more than 60 seconds. Really

Purchase enough casings to comfortably hold the batch. Somewhere around 2.5" diameter is traditional for summer sausage. If you plan to hang them to smoke, buy a size that will hang without leaving the bottom of the sausage too near the heat source - which might cause the bottom to overcook. Of course, you could cut them to fit before stuffing. Or you can lay them on grates rather than hanging.

Casings are widely available but my favorites are the beautiful casings from a Ukraine company called Seym. They sell through Ebay here:
ebay.com/sch/fashionseim/m.html and Amazon here:
amazon.com/s?k=SEYM&i=kitchen.

They liked the picture I took of my sausages so much they made it their profile pic on their Facebook page! Shipping takes a few weeks so plan ahead.

View online at KillerNoms.com/summersausage

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