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Homemade Dry Cured Sujuk

by Victor @ Taste of Artisan

Homemade sujuk (sudzhuk, sojuk) - dry cured beef sausage made from scratch - absolutely delicious. | Taste of ArtisanThere are hundreds of various types of dry cured sausages out there but there is one kind that I am especially fond of. It’s called sujuk. Some other common spelling forms of this sausage are sudzhuk, sucuk or soujouk, depending on the country it originates from.

What is sujuk?

I was fortunate to taste the authentic Gornooryahovski and many other varieties of sujuk while traveling Eastern Europe a few years ago.  Sujuk has a clean, noticeably tangy, beefy taste not overpowered by spices. Fairly hard and dry, sujuk reminded me of good beef jerky but it was less chewy and more fatty compared to jerky. Spices vary depending on the variety and location. In general, I’d say of all cured sausages it became one of my favorite.

Over here good sujuk is almost impossible to find. What I could find was a remote resemblance of the real thing that did not excite me at all. This forced me to venture into the unfamiliar territory of sujuk making. Luckily, I was able to find this official publication online that gives a very good idea about how to make dry cured sujuk. I used it as the base for making my own.

Homemade sujuk (sudzhuk, sojuk) - dry cured beef sausage made from scratch - absolutely delicious. | Taste of Artisan

Characteristics of Sujuk

According to the publication, Gornooryahovski Sudzhuk is a compacted, non-perishable, raw, dried sausage manufactured from natural gut filled with machine-minced beef. The surface is evenly coated with a dry, white, powdery sausage mold. The sausage is cylindrical, flattened and bent into a horseshoe shape. Its ends are tied off and bound together with string. It is 35-40 cm in length and up to 40 mm in diameter. It is solid, elastic and has the same consistency at the periphery as it does at the core. The cross-section is elliptical with an even, fine-grained texture on its surface.

The meat filling is free of cavities, sinews or fasciae. The filling is marbled, its color varying from red to dark brown as is typical for beef. The fat is white in color. There is no dark-colored peripheral ring or grey discoloration in the interior of the cross-section. The flavor is distinctive, pleasant, spicy, moderately salty and free from any extraneous taste. The aroma is distinctive, with vivid tones reflecting its specific mixture of herbal seasoning (black pepper, cumin and savory).

Physical and chemical characteristics: water content does not exceed 45 % of the overall mass; fat content in dry matter does not exceed 65 %; kitchen salt does not exceed 4.5 % of the overall mass; nitrites do not exceed 50 mg per kg; pH ≤ 6 and ≥ 5.1; and aW ≤ 0.88.

Homemade sujuk (sudzhuk, sojuk) - dry cured beef sausage made from scratch - absolutely delicious. | Taste of Artisan

Making sujuk

I am not big on using cumin unless I am making chili or pilaf. Savory? Maybe. I do like a little bit of garlic and onion powder in my beef sausages though. I made the substitution and loved the results. Either way is great, it’s just a matter of preference.

If you have the opportunity to cold smoke sujuk for about 12-24 hours, it’s definitely worth it. It can be done either during fermentation or drying as long as the temperature and humidity conditions are met. While this is definitely against the official guidelines, the smoky flavor takes sujuk to the next level. Additionally, smoking provides some antimicrobial (phenols and acids) and antioxidant (phenols) properties to the product. That said, keep in mind that these must be considered as an additional safety hurdle and not the main one.

Using a starter culture

Traditionally sujuk is made without the use of starter cultures as the microbiological safety is achieved by drying and not by increasing acidity. This is fine when meat is handled properly, without the risk of cross-contamination, and the maker can ensure that the sausage has dried properly. As an enthusiast sausage maker, I feel that it’s better to be safe than sorry. FLC or B-LC-007 cultures will work well for this recipe.

I add 0.3% of sugar to the mix to achieve a pH of slightly higher then 5.0. This is within the spec of Gornooryahovski Sudzhuk. You can increase the amount of sugar to 0.5% for slightly more tang.

Interestingly, here is the study that demonstrated a positive effect on color, texture and taste in the production of Turkish sucuk – all are good reasons to use a starter culture.

 

My curing chamber – Advanced Meat Curing Chamber.

Homemade sujuk (sudzhuk, sojuk) - dry cured beef sausage made from scratch - absolutely delicious. | Taste of Artisan

Homemade Sujuk

Recipe for homemade dry-cured sujuk.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, lunch, Snack
Cuisine: Eastern European
Keyword: soujouk, sucuk, sudzhuk, sujuk
Prep Time: 2 hours
Fermentation and drying time: 22 days
Servings: 5 sausages
Calories: 822kcal
Author: Victor

Ingredients

  • 2270 g beef chuck (about 5 lbs)
  • 51 g kosher salt
  • 5.7 g Cure #2
  • 5 g freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 g freshly ground coriander
  • 3 g garlic powder
  • 5 g onion powder
  • 1.5 g B-LC-007 starter culture ( activated in 60 ml distilled water)
  • 6.81 g dextrose

Instructions

  • Partially freeze the beef before processing to make sure it stays cold.
  • Cut the meat into 100-150 g pieces, remove sinew. Grind through a medium size plate (3/16" or 4.5 mm).
  • Mix the ground meat, spices, dextrose, and the starter culture. Stuff into 28-32mm hog casings, making 18" (45 cm) links, and tie with twine.
  • Ferment at 71-77F (22-25C), 85-100% RH for about 48 hours in an area with good ventilation, until the meat firms up and turns dark red.
  • Dry at 59-64F (15-18C), 75-85% RH for 10-20 days with good ventilation, until target weight loss of about 55% is achieved.
  • Starting on day two of the drying stage, flatten sujuk by gently rolling it with a roller. Do not press too hard otherwise the casings may burst. Continue doing this once a day for about 5-6 days.
  • Optionally, you may smoke sujuk for 12-24 hours during fermentation or drying, ensuring temperature and humidity conditions above are met, to obtain smoky flavor.

Nutrition

Serving: 0g | Calories: 822kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 87g | Fat: 52g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Cholesterol: 313mg | Sodium: 4322mg | Potassium: 1524mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 0g | Vitamin A: 60IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 83mg | Iron: 9.5mg

This post was updated on February 4, 2019

 

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21 comments

ET April 10, 2019 - 11:49 pm

This really looks delicious. I have finocchiona that is drying now once that’s all done this will be next baby.

Reply
Victor @ Taste of Artisan April 11, 2019 - 3:52 am

Thanks. My kids have been asking for it for months but I have a similar problem – not enough space in the curing fridge;) By the way, I a huge fan of finocchiona. Made it last fall and cold smoked for 24 hours. Dried for 3 1/2 months before cutting for Christmas. My guests couldn’t have enough of it. Superb flavors and it cured really well. Will be making again this year for sure.

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Rhancha Trick February 3, 2019 - 11:58 pm

Hi there! I want to make this but where would I purchase Cure #2 and the starter culture? We just visited Bulgaria and ate a lot of this 😊 we want to make our own. Thanks for your help!

Reply
Victor February 4, 2019 - 12:20 am

I know, that’s what happened to me. And I couldn’t bring any with me.

There a few good places to buy from: e.g. http://www.sausagemaker.com, http://www.butcher-packer.com. I like them both.

Reply
Chris August 17, 2018 - 2:40 am

Amazing …. THANKS FOR SHARING

Reply
victor March 13, 2018 - 7:09 pm

Steve, the 12-24 hour smoking recommendation comes right from the publication. They don’t specify how exactly they do it. I’d say, if you are blowing thick, white smoke and feel like 2-3 hours gives you plenty of smoky flavor, then that’s what you should do. I think when they say 12-24 hours they mean light think smoke that you’d see circulating in big industrial smoke rooms.

Reply
paul March 2, 2018 - 8:55 pm

I made this no fermentation i just dried cured…. Oh my god it was and is FANTASTIC

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victor March 2, 2018 - 9:09 pm

😉 I know what you mean, Paul. My kids are crazy about this sujuk. I make a few pounds every two-three months.

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Todor January 25, 2018 - 9:18 am

Hey Victor,
I am going to try the recipe.
Great blog! Amazing results!
Keep it up!

Reply
victor January 25, 2018 - 11:49 am

Thanks for the kind words, Todor. Good luck making your Sujuk.

Reply
Scott January 8, 2018 - 1:22 am

First I want to say thanks for your site. As a tinkerer and foodie myself I found the information here about your curing chamber invaluable in designing and building mine. Yesterday I made your recipe and have it fermenting currently as I type this. I do however want to know if you know the amounts of savory and cumin from the original recipe.
Thanks

Reply
victor January 8, 2018 - 8:16 am

You are very welcome. The official publication does not specify the amounts (I posted the link in the post above), however you can try this recipe:

Meats Metric US
Beef 70/30 lean/fat) 1000 g 2.2 lb
Ingredients per 1000g (1 kg) of meat
Salt 30 g 5 tsp
Cure #2 3.0 g 1/2 tsp
Sugar 5.0 g 1 tsp
Pepper 3.0 g 1-1/2 tsp
Cumin 2.0 g 1 tsp
Savory, rubbed 1 Tbsp
Starter culture, T-SPX 0.12 g use scale

Instructions
Grind meat through 1/4” (6 mm) plate.
30 minutes before mixing dissolve starter culture in 1 tablespoon de-chlorinated water.
Mix ground meat with salt, sugar, cure #2, culture and spices.
Stuff into 40 mm beef casings. Make links about 18” (45 cm) long, tie off the ends together making a loop.
Ferment at 20º C (68º F) for 72 hours, 90 → 85% humidity.
Dry at 18-15º C (64-59º F), 85→75% decreasing humidity for 20 days. The sausages are compacted once or twice with metal presses arranged on wooden boards. During the drying process, the surface of the sausages acquires an even coating of white mold which grows naturally in the room.
Store sausages at 10-15º C (50-59º F), <75% humidity.

Notes
Savory is a strong pepper flavored herb which can be found almost everywhere. It plays an important role in Bulgarian cuisine where it is known as chubritsa. You can substitute with thyme which is stronger. Or, combine thyme with a pinch of sage or mint.

Reply
Bill Tobias March 11, 2017 - 1:03 am

I made this recipe to the T and cured in a contrilled chamber. Product turned out great except a smell of “old dirty socks”. Could this be due to the use of the starter culture. I plan on cold smoking tomorrow for about 6 hours to bump upmflavors

Reply
victor March 11, 2017 - 1:12 am

LOL… you know I heard someone say that good aged French cheese should smell like old dirty socks. That’s a sign of quality. Now, what you are describing is the smell coming from indigenous molds that developed on the surface of your sasusage. This is totally normal as long as those molds are white. If you want to have control over what type of mold develops on the outside of the sausage, you need to use something like Bactoferm 600 (commercially cultured white mold), or make a starter culture from white mold collected from store-bought sausage. You need a small piece of the moldy casing, about 1×1 inch or a little bigger.

Reply
Jessica Dobias Aries February 12, 2017 - 7:32 pm

This is a staple sausage in Central Texas, where we have a large Eastern European and German influences. Your sausage looks amazing and very true to the stuff I grew up on as a proud Czech.

Reply
Bob kline December 31, 2016 - 8:47 am

HI Victor,

I had a question about the amount of Bactoferm in a recipe which I thought was this recipe, however, I was mistaken.

Sorry for the confusion, but as a novice, I’ll chalk it up to my inexperience.

Thank you Sir for a GREAT site!

Bob

Reply
victor January 2, 2017 - 1:58 pm

No problem. Good luck with your new hobby. It’s extremely rewarding.

Reply
paul bernard November 22, 2016 - 10:42 am

Can you use elk meat instead of beef?

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victor November 22, 2016 - 11:02 am

Technically yes, but I would be very, very reluctant to use game meat for dry curing because of a much higher risk of meat being contaminated. Then again,m I have no experience with dry curing game meat.

Reply
Angela March 24, 2016 - 4:57 pm

Hi Victor,
I’ve never tried fermenting… can you describe the process in more detail, please? Also, where can I purchase the flc starter?
Thank you

Reply
victor March 24, 2016 - 7:33 pm

Hi Angela, fermentation allows beneficial bacteria grow at a fast pace to prevent pathogenic bacteria from growing and taking over. During fermentation pH drops to about 5.3, creating acidic environment that inhibits growth of some pathogenic bacteria. It’s biggest benefit is a health safety, but there are other benefits as well. Acidity provides that nice tang that we all like in fermented sausages. Some cultures promote development of great flavor and color. I would suggest reading Marianski’s Home Production of Quality Meats and Sausages book to understand all the basics of making fermented sausage and do it safely. The Art of Making Fermented Sausages is another very good book of his that is a must read for anyone trying to make dry cured products at home.

As to where to buy FLC, and many other cultures, the best place for most people is online. The Sausage Maker is where I buy since I live close by. Butcher & Packer is another popular online store.

Reply