Venison Summer Sausage - Cajun Blend

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SMOKED VENISON SUMMER SAUSAGE - CAJUN BLEND

INGREDIENTS FOR 30 LBS.

3 tablespoons Black Pepper, table fine
3/4 cup Salt, Morton's non-iodized
3/4 cup Dextrose, powdered
3 level tablespoons  Insta Cure # 1
3 tablespoons Coriander, ground
1 tablespoon Ginger, ground
3 tablespoons Mustard, ground
1 tablespoon Garlic powder
1/4 cup Corn syrup
1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke (prefer Colgin brand)
2 cups whole buttermilk or use Fermento or Citric Acid  (use both buttermilk and Fermento if desired)
4 tablespoons Cayenne pepper (90K units hot)
3 tablespoons Black Pepper, coarse ground
2 cups cold water
25 lbs. ground venison
5 lbs. Boston butt or pork fat trimmings
2/3 cup whole Mustard Seed
1 tablespoon White Vinegar
3 tablespoons whole black peppercorns (Tellicherry) optional,  more for eye appeal and texture

NOTE:  Before attempting to make any type of sausage, jerky or pemmican which requires the meat to be subject to: 1)  High humidity, 2)  Low temperature and 3)  Presence of oxygen, there is the danger of food poisoning unless you know and fully understand that some type of food preservative; e.g., Insta Cure # 1 or  Morton Tender Quick is necessary.  Therefore these pages are solely for entertainment purposes only from a personal liability standpoint.  Please read the Legal Stuff  page for additional information concerning liability issues before going any further.  Please read this article on smoking meats, paragraph heading Preservation.

Below 30 lb. plus batch prepared on 07-17-14 and served up on 07-19-14:

Beautimous taste and texture.  A few pixs taken below:

Below venison sausage summer smoked on 03-23-13.  Served on 03-25-13 and 04-01-13 with Cheddar Cheese, Mustard and Ritz crackers.  Only thing missing was a good cold custom brewed beer or ale!

GRINDING

Be sure all meat has been chilled.  Grind all meat through a 3/16 grinder plate.  The pork fat or trimmings should be ground through a 1 plate or cut up in 1 cubes. 

MIXING

Use two cups of water and two cups of whole buttermilk with spices and hand mix all the ingredients.  Mix well to distribute all the spices evenly.  After mixing, pack into curing tubs and hold in the refrigerator for 3 days.  Then, regrind meat through a 3/16 grinder plate.   Visit my Sausage Making and Pemmican page for additional information and pixs.

STUFFING

Pack meat tightly into stuffer to omit air pockets.  Summer sausage should be stuffed into 2.5 to 2.75 inch beef middles.  If not available you may use fibrous casings 3 by 27.  NOTE:  Excellent results with 2 casings also.  Close one end of fibrous casing using 1/2 hog ring for 3 diameter casing with a hanging loop attached.  Soak fibrous casings in tap water for 30 minutes prior to stuffing.  Close other end of the casing using 1/2 hog ring after stuffing.

SMOKING & COOKING

Preheat smoker temperature to 100 110 degrees F.  Damper adjusted to wide open.  Place sausage into smoker and leave an hour or so.  After one hour or so, increase smoker temperature to 130 degrees F. and close damper to 1/2 open and leave until sausage internal temperature reaches 100 degrees F.  Increase smoker temperature to 140 degrees F.  After an hour, increase smoker temperature to 150 degrees F. and adjust damper to 1/4 open and maintain smoker temperature until sausage takes on a brown color on the top and bottom.  Increase smoker temperature to 160 degrees F. and at this time place damp sawdust pan onto burner and adjust burner to mid range setting or higher until sawdust ignites and smoke is produced.  Note:  Preheat sawdust outside smoker cabinet on gas burner.  Two to three pans of sawdust will normally produce a very satisfactory brown color.  After brown color is obtained, remove sawdust pan from smoker.  If the internal temperature of the sausage has not reached 125 degrees F. by now, adjust smoker temperature between 160 165 degrees F. and maintain this temperature until the sausage internal temperature reaches 125 deg. F.

At this time, allow steam from external source ( pressure cooker) into the smoker cabinet and steam the sausage until the sausage internal temperature is 152 degrees F. and remove sausage from the smoker and immediately shower with regular tap water until the internal sausage temperature lowers to 125 degrees F.  You can usually tell the approximate temperature by feeling. This usually takes a couple of minutes. Let the sausage dry (bloom) and place into refrigerator overnight.  

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

Due to steam effecting the electronic controls on my home made refrigerator smoker,  I no longer use the steam method and simply continue to smoke the sausage until the internal temperature reads 152 degrees F. which takes about 18 to 24 hours total time from start to finish.   Instead of using the buttermilk and allowing to cure for 3 days, there are products available to by-pass the curing time such as Bactoferm LHP Dry.   See detailed smoking chart below of a 41 pound batch that I did on 07-11-09:

TIME CABINET TEMP. SAUSAGE TEMP. NOTES
8:36 AM 110 F. 64/64/55 F. Placed sausage in smoker with Damper wide open
10:32 130 97/95/91 Damper = 1/2 open
11:11 140 107/105/102 Damper = 1/2 open
12:45 PM 150 122/120/118 Damper = 1/4 open
1:39 150 127/125/123 Damper = 1/4 open
3:20 160 131/131/129 Damper = 1/4 open, added pan of smoldering sawdust producing smoke
3:44 160 131/131/129 Damper = 1/4 open, restarted sawdust went out
5:38 160 134/134/131 Damper = 1/4 open, sawdust still producing smoke
5:56 160 134/134/131 Damper = 1/4 open, added 2nd pan of smoldering sawdust producing smoke
7:30 160 138/138/134 Damper = 1/4 open, added additional sawdust to pan
8:44 160 140/140/138 Damper = 1/4 open, removed spent sawdust pan
3:30 AM 160 148/145/145 Damper = 1/4 open 
6:31 160 152/152/149 Removed sausage from smoker; showered with tap water.  Allowed to bloom
9:30   90 Placed in refrigerator until next day to vacuum seal and freeze

NOTES:  Used three different digital thermometers monitoring sausage temperature.  Did not use product Fermento but used 2 1/4 cups of whole buttermilk, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar, 2 cups of regular tap water, 1 teaspoon of Liquid Smoke and increased regular spices by about 25 percent from the 30 pound quantity recipe.  Sausage had excellent taste and texture.  Did not see any excessive melting of the pork fat since smoker cabinet temperature maximum temperature was held to 160 degrees, plus or minus 5 degrees per thermostat control.  Also, used 2/3 cup of whole mustard seed.  Smoker thermostat working  very well.

Pyrex brand thermometer reading the lowest of the three and is not adjustable.  Will replace in the near future.  Also, heating elements on the current double hot plate burners will barely reach 160 degrees F. and takes a while to climb 10 degrees when increasing the cabinet temperature.  Will look for a replacement with higher wattage or go to two individual hot plates with higher wattages.

Smoked Venison Summer Sausage is a labor of love and you will need grinding, stuffing and smoking equipment and a thorough understanding of the detailed procedures and importance of using a cure in your sausage to prevent Botulism, visit this link.

I plan to do a few batches of smoked venison summer sausage this Spring for personal consumption since I am out of the product at this time and my taste buds are getting all worked up.  The commercial summer sausage you purchase at retail outlets, especially during the Christmas holidays can't hold a candle to my product.  For the many that have asked for my recipe over the years, here it is just as I do it.  I did not leave anything out.  You can experiment with this recipe and add additional spices and seasonings to make it Italian, Mexican, Turkish, Greek or any Ethnic cuisine you desire.

Web published by Bill aka Mickey Porter 03-10-13.

VENISON SUMMER SAUSAGE - CAJUN BLEND 03-23-13

With plenty of ground venison in my game freezer, I started a batch of summer sausage on 03-19-13 and cut the pork trimmings into one inch or less cubes.  I mixed the venison and pork trimmings with the spices by hand with it and placed the spiced mixture into a couple plastic "lugs" to cure out in the refrigerator for at least three days before regrinding and stuffing into 3 inch diameter x 27 inch length fibrous synthetic casing on 03-23-13.  I used regular whole buttermilk as the fermenting agent instead of store bought products such as Fermento and Bactoferm LHP Dry of which there are several of those products available for different applications: e.g., dry-cure and semi-dry cure of which this summer sausage is of the semi-dry cure type which means you have to refrigerate the summer sausage after it is smoked to keep from spoiling.   I used 11 pounds of pork trimmings which had a good amount of lean meat in although a much fatter type of pork trimmings would be better for sausage making since fat content is one of the binders and flavor producers in smoked sausages.  I "guestimated" there was about 43 pounds of venison mixed with the pork trimmings and after the spices,  buttermilk and water was added the total weight after curing and grinding was a little over 55 pounds.  That is certainly the maximum amount that my home made refrigerator smoker can handle and takes a good while to get the smoker cabinet temperature increased at each 10 degree interval progression needed.  I increased the spices x 50 percent which was a little light, should have been more.  I pan fried out a few pieces of the summer sausage that was left in the stuffer tube and it tasted pretty good...not as Cajun hot as regular.

NOTES:  Doing this batch of smoked venison summer sausage has been a real test of my own patience, perseverance and improvising and I will try and explain.  Before starting this batch, I tested out the refrigerator smoker thermostat controls and they were working fine, however I did not run a test at the maximum temperature needed at 165 degrees F or check to see how long it would take to reach that temperature.  Also, I could not locate my food scales at the time I was removing frozen ground venison from our basement freezer and had to do a good "guestimate" using bathroom scales of which one set didn't work....that tells you how often I weigh myself...grin if you must!.   I did what I thought was a thorough search for the food scales in the usual places which they are in the original manufacturers box and easy to spot but Murphy's Law was in full force.  After the three day curing time in the game refrigerator, I literally stumbled onto the food scales which was located in one end of our basement that I call my Hobby Corner.  After grinding the cured venison/pork/spice mixture, I weighted the venison and I was about 10 pounds over what I had estimated using the bath room scales which means my spices will be a little on the light side for that amount of meat.

On the day of actually placing the meat in the refrigerator smoker, the heating elements was very slow to come up to temperature and never did reach the maximum 160 degrees that I needed.  To finish off the summer sausage, I had to "jury rig" a steam box up that I had improvised years before which is a pressure cooker with the petcock value removed and a hose adapter to a piece of 3/8 inch outside diameter copper tubing to pipe steam into the cabinet of the smoker of which I still had the copper tubing beside the smoker adjacent the carport wall.  As Murphy's Law would have it, it was stopped up and had to take it to my basement workshop and the end that was clogged up by dirt dobbers red clay mixture requiring a stiff wire and finally high pressure air to remove the restriction.  After getting the jury rig going and steam into the cabinet,  it took about 30 minutes for the internal sausage temperature to increase from 129 to 154 degrees F.  Hopefully after it fully dries and allowed to age at least one day in my game refrigerator, the sausage taste and texture test will be up to standards.  This is one batch of venison summer sausage that I will not forget!

I definitely have to replace the double burners in the smoker and double check the thermostat controls to be sure they are working properly along with purchasing a couple new digital thermometers; hopefully better quality than "Wally Worlds aka Wal-Mart."

Cleaning and sterilizing the sausage making equipment is the not fun part of sausage making but an essential element of the process.  Food grade silicon spray and food grade lubricant is required to keep the stuffer and grinder at top efficiency and to prevent abnormal wear.

Summer sausage is normally served here with Ritz brand crackers, cheese, mustard and/or Horseradish Sauce; just slice and serve.  I call this one of my Fruits Of The Harvest and do enjoy sitting around with some of my hunting buddies talking about past hunts, sharing memories and snacking away on this fine home produced cuisine.

Click on the thumbnail sequence pixs below for a larger screen view:

See detailed smoking chart below of the 55 pound batch that I finished up on 03-24-13:

TIME CABINET TEMP. SAUSAGE TEMP. NOTES
 9:50 AM 99 44 Damper = open            Cabinet temperature not reaching set temp. fast enough
11:14 116 73 Damper = open
12:36 PM 126 97 Damper = 1/2 open
1:23 130 107 Damper = 1/2 open
2:45 140 117 Damper = 1/2 open
4:50 145 124 Damper = 1/4 open     Cabinet temperature will not climb to 150 degrees fast enough
5:37 144 125 Damper = 1/4 open     Added ignited hickory sawdust - producing smoke
7:17 150 127 Damper = 1/4 open     Added 2nd pan of ignited hickory sawdust - producing smoke
10:30 150 127 Damper = 1/4 open     Added 3rd pan of ignited hickory sawdust - producing smoke
9:19 AM 150 129 Damper = 1/4 open     Two digital thermometers false readings, cabinet & sausage
9:24 150 129 Damper = closed         Hooked up steam generator - started steam
9:34 155 131 Damper = closed         Steam in cabinet
9:44 175 141 Damper = closed         Steam in cabinet
9:47 180 145 Damper = closed         Steam in cabinet
9:51 185 150 Damper = closed         Steam in cabinet
9:54 185 154 Damper = closed         Removed sausage from cabinet and showered with cold water for 5 mins

Sausage will be allowed to dry out (bloom) for several hours and then placed in my basement game refrigerator to age out at least one day before I cut each full length casing in half and vacuum seal and freeze for later consumption.  I will leave the short casing out for my taste and texture test and enjoy with some sharp cheddar cheese, mustard and Ritz crackers.  Will  post the results with a few pixs added.

Above summer sausage has wonderful texture however due to the extra 10 pounds of meat that I didn't account for due to the inaccuracy of the scales, it was not my usual Cajun (spicy) blend but more of a normal blend.  It tasted very good especially on a Ritz cracker with some good ole French's yellow mustard.  I might up the mustard level to Dijon for a little more punch in the taste.  Not my best batch taste wise but still pretty good!  I was lucky to pull this one off with all the glitches encountered one after another and as an old Morton salt TV commercial and product package ad, "When It Rains, It Pours", very true in this case.

Web published by Bill aka Mickey Porter 03-10-13 with pix updates on 03-25-13 and 07-19-14.

VENISON SUMMER SAUSAGE - CAJUN BLEND 11-26-15

I recently did a 30 pound batch of my Cajun Blend Venison Summer Sausage and it came out excellent in both taste and texture.  I replaced the dual heating element in my smoker cabinet and it worked like a charm.   Below a few pixs along the way; click on thumbnails for a larger screen view:

Robert Webster and myself taste tasted one of the 2 pound 1/2 stalks of summer sausage and it was outstanding and with the second slice, the ole taste buds were awakened to a little Cajun spice called cayenne pepper, not too hot but just right!  Below a couple pixs of the finished product:

The close-up reveals the whole mustard seeds and whole black peppercorns - Tellicherry that are sliced through and the ground Boston Butt fat content is still solidified which is an indicator the summer sausage was properly processed by yours truly!

Web published update by Bill aka Mickey Porter on 12-01-15.

VENISON SUMMER SAUSAGE - CAJUN BLEND 05-13-16

I completed a 30 pound batch of my Cajun blend venison summer sausage on 05-13-16 of which I used 6.5 pounds of Boston butt mixed with 23.2 pounds of ground venison and it came out excellent; taste, texture and eye appeal.  I added an extra tablespoon of 90K heat unit cayenne pepper to the spice mixture and the final product wakes ones taste buds up on the first bite; not too spicy but just right!  I did not use steam in the smoker cabinet but kept the cabinet temperature at 160 degrees after the hickory smoke process was completed.  It took a total of 27.5 hours cabinet smoker time to process this batch of summer sausage but well worth the time, expense and effort.  I also used an extra tablespoon on Insta Cure # 1 and used 2 cups of Fermento along with 2 cups of whole buttermilk, maybe 1/2 cup more since my spice mixture was on the thick side since I forgot to add 2 cups of cold water to the mixture which helps to blend and disperse the spice mixture.

I believe this is probably the best batch of venison summer sausage that I have made to date!  Venison summer sausage freezes very well but the spices do tend to diminish a little over time versus fresh sliced and served.  I updated my recipe to include the additional 90K heat unit cayenne pepper and the Insta Cure # 1. 

I completed a worksheet documenting the procedures for those that are interested in the step by step procedures used.  The worksheet is hyperlinked here in .PDF format.

Before my next batch of venison summer sausage, I plan to construct and install an external smoke generator to my homemade smoker cabinet which should make it easier on this sausage maker.  Might add a pix later.

Web published updated by Bill aka Mickey Porter on 05-13-16.

VENISON SUMMER SAUSAGE - CAJUN BLEND 06-26-16

Another 30 pound batch of my Venison Summer Sausage - Cajun Blend was completed at 0240 AM on the morning of 06-26-16.  I used 24.8 lbs. ground venison and 5.2 lbs. of cubed Boston Butt.  I used both whole buttermilk and 2.5 cups of Fermento with 2 cups of ice water to help mix and blend all the spices together.  I increased the cayenne pepper to 4.5 tablespoons versus 4 tablespoons. 

I completed a worksheet documenting the procedures for those that are interested in the step by step procedures used.  The worksheet is hyperlinked here in .PDF format.

I used my homemade smoke generator and it worked fantastic and reduced the total time in the smoker cabinet to approximately 19 hours and attribute that to the smoke and heat more efficiently distributed throughout the smoker cabinet.   See further details on my smoke generator page. 

The summer sausage is resting in my basement game refrigerator until tomorrow of which, I will cut the full length casing in halves and a few in quarters to vacuum seal and freeze for later usage.  The sausage maker aka yours truly will get a chance to do some serious field testing and sampling for quality control.....grin if you must!

This morning for breakfast, I fried some of the summer sausage that was left in the bottom of the stuffer and stuffing tube that I placed in a zip lock type bag in the refrigerator and it definitely had an excellent Cajun cayenne pepper taste bud wakeup call to it.  I will field test aka critique the smoked summer sausage when I cut the full length casings in half and quarters for freezing.

This afternoon, I cut the casings in half and a couple in quarters and vacuum sealed them for later usage.  While doing so, I sampled a few slices and it was "off the chain good" with a definite Cajun taste.  The texture, taste and eye appeal was awesome without any melt down of the fat content in the casings and that is as good as it gets!  In the below pix of my "Fruits of the Harvest", it appears there is frost forming on them due to the internal sausage temperature around 40 degrees F. and the basement woodworking shop around 80 degrees F. or less.

Web published update by Bill aka Mickey Porter on 06-26-16.

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