Home » Charcuterie » Smoked Sausage and Meat Recipes » How to Make Summer Sausage

How to Make Summer Sausage

by Victor @ Taste of Artisan

Learn how to make summer sausage at home with these easy to follow illustrated instructions. The best summer sausage recipe.| Taste of Artisan

Making summer sausage at home is something that I have been doing for many years. This sausage is very flavorful and not too fatty. Smoked summer sausage, the way it has been done traditionally, is to die for. Smoke greatly enhances flavor and increases shelf life of sausage due to it’s antibacterial properties. In this article I will talk about how to make summer sausage at home and share my experience.

What is summer sausage?

Summer sausage is an American semi-dry fermented sausage typically made of pork and beef. Summer sausage made of beef alone is also common. In the past this sausage was made during winter time to be eaten during summer when working in the field. This is how the name ‘summer sausage’ came to be. Properly made summer sausage can be stored without refrigeration for a very long time. Hence, it is often used as a component of food gift baskets along with cheeses and jams.

Learn how to make summer sausage at home with these easy to follow illustrated instructions. The best summer sausage recipe.| Taste of Artisan

The meat

Summer sausage is typically made of beef and pork, or beef alone. Some recipes make use of beef hearts as well. The ratios of beef to pork vary from 75% beef and 25% pork to 25% beef and 75% pork. It really depends on personal preference. I like more beefy flavor and prefer a 2/3 beef to 1/3 pork ratio.

Summer sausage recipe. Beef to pork ratio.| Taste of Artisan

The taste of summer sausage is very much dependent on freshness and quality of meat. Beef chuck is a very flavorful cut and is commonly used for making summer sausage. Butt is a very good choice for the pork cut. To get the best results, buy your meat fresh and grind it yourself. Alternatively, ask your butcher to grind it for you. You want to grind the meat fairly fine, through a 3/16″ (4.5mm) plate.

Summer sausage recipe. Grinding beef and pork on a 3/16"size grinder plate.| Taste of Artisan

Summer sausage spices

You will find mustard seed, black pepper and garlic among the most commonly used spices in summer sausage. Many recipes also use coriander, allspice, ginger and other spices. The best summer sausage is the sausage made to your taste, so feel free to experiment with you favorite spices. If possible, grind your spices just before adding them to the ground meat. This will help you get the most flavor out of them.

Summer sausage recipe. Grinding spices in a mortar.| Taste of Artisan

Curing salt and cultures

As summer sausage is a fermented sausage, a meat culture such as FL-C is used. Bactoferm F-LC meat culture with bio protective properties is used for production of fermented sausages with short or traditional production times. F-LC is recommended for the production of all types of fermented sausages and is known for suppressing growth of Listeria. During fermentation pH of the meat drops to 5.3 which helps inhibit growth of pathogenic bacteria and gives the sausage its tangy taste. FL-C culture can be purchased from the sausagemaker.com or  butcher-packer.com.

Summer sausage is fermented and then smoked for hours at temperatures that promote growth of unwanted bacteria. To prevent that, Cure #1 (also known as pink salt) is used. Pink salt also improves flavor, prevents food poisoning, tenderizes meat, and develops the pink color widely known and associated with smoked meats. You can purchase Cure #1 from the online stores mentioned above as well as Amazon: DQ Curing Salt #1 / Pink Salt.

Mixing meat and spices

You want to make sure that the salt and the spices are mixed well with the meat and distributed evenly. One way to ensure even distribution is to mix the seasonings with the pieces of meat before they are ground. I use this method very frequently with great results. Mix the meat until it becomes sticky and keeps together. At this point it is ready for stuffing.

Summer sausage recipe. Mixing meat and spices.| Taste of Artisan

Sausage casings

First you will need the casings. The most common casing size used for summer sausage is 60mm in diameter, although 40mm to 120mm casings are also used. You can use beef middles, fibrous or collagen casings. I like to use collagen or fibrous casings for summer sausage and use them most of the time. Beef middles can be purchased from your local butcher, just ask someone who works there. They don’t put them on display but will be happy to sell them to you if you ask. Collagen and fibrous sausage casings can be purchased from a variety of places, e.g. your local sausage making supply store, Amazon (Non-Edible Fibrous Casings)thesausagemaker.com, or butcher-packer.com.

Stuffing meat into casings

The most efficient and economical way to stuff the meat into casings is to use a vertical sausage stuffer, such as the LEM Products 5 Pound Sausage Stuffer that I use. These stuffers are not too expensive and do an excellent job. You may also use a sausage stuffer attachment for your meat grinder, but you may be disappointed with the results. Meat grinders are not designed for stuffing sausages and do a very mediocre job at it.  I used one once and never wanted to use it again.

A cheaper alternative to a vertical sausage stuffer that would yield better results than a meat grinder attachment would be a manual sausage stuffer like the LEM Manual Sausage Stuffer. These stuffers are great for occasional use. They are hard to use and require good physical strength to operate, but can produce good results after some practice.

Stuff the meat firmly, ensuring that no air pockets remain inside. Getting all the air out is practically impossible and you will see some tiny cavities after your sausage is done. This is not a problem for semi-dry sausages. Just do your best but don’t worry if some tiny air pockets remain.

Summer sausage recipe. Stuffing meat into casings. | Taste of Artisan

The cooking equipment

Electric smokers

Summer sausage is smoked, so you will need a smoker or a grill that is capable of maintaining low temperatures. A dedicated electric sausage smoker would be ideal, like the very popular Masterbuilt 30-Inch Black Electric Digital Smoker. Many people consider this smoker to be the best value for home sausage making needs.

Should you need a looking window to enjoy your food while it’s being smoked, you can get an equally popular Masterbuilt 30-Inch Electric Smoker with Window and RF Controller. If you want one of the best looking and performing electric smokers on the market, Cabela’s sells the Stainless Steel Pro 100 smoker that gets excellent reviews. It costs about 10 times as much as the basic Masterbuilt though.

Using a propane smoker

I do a lot of low heat and high heat smoking, so I try to compromise and use the Masterbuilt XL propane smoker. It’s not that easy to maintain low temperatures with, but if I time my sausage smoking properly and do it on days with lower ambient temperatures it works fine.

Many people have had great results achieving low temperatures after modifying their propane smokers with needle valves, like the Bayou Classic Brass Control Valve. If you don’t feel comfortable installing a needle valve into the gas line yourself, you can buy a pre-made gas assembly, like the Bayou Classic M5HPR-1 10 PSI Hose, Regulator, Valve Assembly. You need to make sure that the regulator on the assembly you are buying matches the specs of your burner. Needle Valves for Gassers is a good resource for more information on this.

Other cooking equipment

Not too long ago I became a proud owner of the Big Green Egg and have successfully used it for smoking sausages at low heat. It’s not too hard to start this grill at about 110F and maintain that temperature for about 1-2 hours. Eventually, the temperature will be begin to creep up but that’s exactly what you want anyway. You just have to control the air flow such that the temperature does not rise too quickly.

Summer sausage recipe. Smoking sausages. | Taste of Artisan

If you are a DIY type, you can look into building a low temperature sausage smoker. Stanley Marianski has an excellent book called Meat Smoking And Smokehouse Design that talks about different smoker designs that you can build at home.

If none of the above works for you, don’t give up. You can cook your summer sausage in the kitchen oven. You won’t get the same mind-blowing smoky flavor and the color, but it’s still better than nothing. Just make sure to cook the sausage at low temperatures. This is very important.

Summer sausage recipe. Finished smoked sausage. | Taste of Artisan

Cooking temperature

Stanley Marianski in his Home Production of Quality Meats and Sausages book mentions that once the temperature of the meat reaches about 100F all fat tissues become liquid. This is true regardless of the kind of meat.  Once melted, the fat can move around the connective tissues, but still is not able to get out. There is very little fat loss between 150 – 190F or even up to the boiling point of water of 212F.

At temperatures over that mark, the fat starts to leak out quite rapidly. There is a significant fat loss at temperatures over 248F. Sausages cooked at temperatures higher than 190F will exhibit dry, crumbly texture. The higher the cooking temperature, the poorer the results will be.

When cooking your summer sausage in a smoker or on the grill, smoke at 110F – 130F until the desired color is achieved, then gradually increase the temperature to 150-175F and then all the way to 190F. When cooking in the oven, start cooking the sausage at the lowest setting (usually around 170F) and slowly increase to 190F, until the internal temperature of the sausage reaches the target temperature.

Learn how to make summer sausage at home with these easy to follow illustrated instructions. The best summer sausage recipe.| Taste of Artisan

Learn how to make summer sausage at home with these easy to follow illustrated instructions. The best summer sausage recipe.| Taste of Artisan

How To Make Summer Sausage

Adapted from S. Marianski.
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Author: Victor


  • 700 g beef chuck (about 1.54 lbs)
  • 300 g pork butt (about 0.66 lbs)
  • 23 g salt (about 4 tsp)
  • 2.5 g Cure #1 (about 1/2 tsp)
  • 10 g dextrose (or glucose; about 2 tsp)
  • 5 g sugar - 5.0 g (about 1 tsp)
  • 3 g black pepper (ground, about 1½ tsp)
  • 2 g coriander (ground, about 1 tsp)
  • 4 g whole mustard seeds (about 1 1/2 tsp)
  • 2 g allspice (about 1 tsp)
  • 3.5 g garlic (about 1 clove)
  • 0.24 g F-LC culture (use scale)


  • Grind pork and beef through 3/16” plate (5 mm).
  • Mix all ingredients with ground meat.
  • Stuff into beef middles or fibrous casings about 60 mm in diameter.
  • Ferment at 86F (30C) and 85-90% humidity for 24 hours.
  • Place the sausage in the smoker and smoke at 110F and 70% humidity for 6 hours. Gradually increase smoke temperature until internal meat temperature reaches 140F.
  • For a drier sausage, dry for 3 days at 60-70F and 65-75% humidity or until desired weight loss is achieved.
  • Store sausages at 50-59F and 75-80% humidity.

An alternative way to make summer sausage

The recipe above is for traditional Summer Sausage. It calls for a 24-hour fermentation that requires a temperature/humidity controller, as well as a heating pad or something similar. I typically ferment sausages by putting them in a large cooler partially covered with Saran wrap. Water released from the sausage will ensure RH of about 90-95%, which is perfect for fermentation. A heating pad will help keep the temperature at 86F. Both the temperature of 86F and the high humidity are critical for proper fermentation.

If creating those conditions is a challenge, here is another recipe that I have been using to make summer sausage. It makes a great tasting product. This recipe has been adapted from Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing by Rytek Kutas. To give the sausage that coveted tang typically produced by the process of fermentation, the recipe uses a product called Fermento, available online from the Sausage Maker or Amazon.

Semi-Dry Cured Ukrainian Summer Sausage (without fermentation)

Ingredients for 10 lbs
  • 7 1/2 lbs lean beef
  • 2 1/2 lbs pork butts
  • 5 Tbsp salt
  • 2 tsp Cure #1
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp whole pepper
  • 2 small garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 4 Tbsp corn syrup solids (I normally skip this ingredient)
  • 6 Tbsp powdered dextrose
  • 3/4 cup Fermento
  1. Grind pork through a 1/4″ grinder plate and beef through a 3/8″ grinder plate.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until all ingredients are evenly distributed.
  3. Stuff the meat into 38-40 mm or 40-43 mm pork or beef casings. The casings should be filled 15-18″ long, leaving at least 3-4″ on each end for tying.
  4. Hang the sausages on a stick at room temperature of 65-70F for 3 hours.The sausages will have the surface dry and ready for smoking by that time. If still wet, let them dry for another hour or so.
  5. Put the sausages in the smoker preheated to 165F and apply heavy smoke for 2 hours.
  6. Continue cooking until the the internal sausage temperature reaches 152F. You may need to gradually raise the smoker temperature above 165F to achieve that.
  7. Remove the sausages from the smoker and hang at room temperature (60F – 70F) overnight to cool.
  8. Apply dense cold smoke for another 12 hours until reddish-brown color is achieved.
  9. Air dry the sausages at 50-60F and RH of 70-75% until about 15% weight loss is achieved. The sausage is ready to eat at this point.
I don’t normally do the cold smoking phase. Instead, I apply smoke throughout the entire cooking process, which is about 5-6 hours.

This post was updated on January 26, 2019

Related Articles

Leave a Comment



Matthew December 31, 2019 - 6:49 am

Hi Victor,

Two questions about this recipe…. If I wanted to replace the beef with moose meat (very lean) what ratio would you use to ensure enough fat? Also, instead of the Bactoferm I was thinking I could use Fermento? (no curing chamber). Ratio I’m thinking of 2.5 ounces per 5 pounds of meat? Do you think that would work?

Thanks a ton!


Victor @ Taste of Artisan January 1, 2020 - 10:29 pm

Hi Matt, welcome to my blog. You can use lean moose meat with pork fat or pork trimmings using 70/30 and 60/40 ratios respectively. This is what is typically recommended. The grind for lean game meat can be as big as 10mm or as low as 3 – 4.5mm. I would go finer rather than coarser as wild game meat is tougher than beef or pork. The smoking process is the same except wild game sausages are typically required to be cooked to 160F internal.
About the amount of fermento, most of the Kutas’s recipes recommend 3/4 cup or 3 oz per 5 lbs of meat. The general recommendation is 2.5 oz per 5 lbs of meat so I think you are on the right track.

matthew January 3, 2020 - 2:59 am

I wanted to do some pork in it as well so with the 60/40 ratio could the 40 be pork shoulder? Would that add enough fat or should I stick to pork backfat or maybe even pork belly? Thanks for the clarity… never did a summer sausage with game meat before and I want the ratio correct. I do enjoy a bit of pork in it as well though.

Victor @ Taste of Artisan January 3, 2020 - 2:09 pm

You know, those are only recommendations and there is no hard rule here. Some like their sausage fattier, some leaner. I make beef sujuk with 20% beef fat and dry it to 55% weight loss. It’s delicious. The extra lean sausages like Lisiecka or Krakow that have even less fat taste great too, just as good as my favorite Polish kielbasa Swojska or Garlic kielbasa that are quite a bit fattier. More fat or less fat is more of a style rather than right or wrong. With moose meat, you don’t want to go too lean but the same idea still applies.
So, to answer your question, the 60/40 moose/pork shoulder ratio may work for your taste, but mind you, this ratio will give you about 12% overall fat content, making the sausage very lean. To compare, the fat ratio in my recipe is about 25%. If you want to achieve the same fat content with moose meat, you need to go at least 75% moose and 25% pork fat. If you are making a large batch, I would be cautious. Perhaps you can experiment with a tiny batch first. If you want to use pork shoulder, it contains about 30% fat. To get to 25% overall fat content you’ll need to use 20% moose and 80% pork shoulder.

Matthew January 6, 2020 - 5:39 am

You are way too helpful. Thank you for all the advice. I’m going to use pork fat and stick to the 25% ratio with the straight fat. I’ll leave the shoulder for my fresh hot Italians. I do want to taste the moose in my summer sausage. He was a beautiful animal and I want the moose to stand centre stage. Be about a month but I’ll update on how it turns out.

Thanks again.

Victor @ Taste of Artisan January 6, 2020 - 1:35 pm

No problem, glad I could help. I’d love to hear how it turns out and see some pictures too.

Matthew Gander January 18, 2020 - 3:04 am

Hey Victor,

One last question. I’m having a hard time with the math on the ratio for Fermento. I’m going to do the same amount of meat and fat in your first recipe 700 G moose to 300 G pork fat. First you think that’s enough fat? Second, how much Fermento in Grams would you use for this quantity of meat? Going to be doing it this weekend. Thanks again for all the help!

Victor @ Taste of Artisan January 18, 2020 - 3:56 am

Hi Matthew,

70/30 moose to pork fat will work very well. I don’t think you will be disappointed. After you try that, you will decide if you want to go up or down but like said, it is a good start.
As far as Fermento goes, this one is tricky. Typically they recommend using 1-6%. Going over 6% will make the meat mushy. If you like beef sticks, you may have come across those that taste very sour. I would venture a guess that those sit at about 6%. I dislike them, but my wife loves them. It depends on one’s taste. My preference is for a very mild tang. I just calculated the amount of Fermento I use in my favorite beef stick recipe, it’s 1.2%. If you have no idea where to start, I’d start at maybe 2% (20 grams per 1000 g of meat) and adjust from there. Hope this helps. Good luck with your smoking. I was going to do some too but with a big snowfall coming our way, I am putting that on hold.

Lindsay December 15, 2019 - 4:12 pm

Hi Victor.
Great website! Want to try your S.S. recipe. Could I use F-RM-52 culture instead of F-LC?
Thank you

Victor @ Taste of Artisan December 16, 2019 - 11:53 pm

Hi Lindsay, you should be fine, though you might get more acidity if fermenting at 86F. FLC acidifies at higher temps, about 109F, while F-RM-52 acidifies at 86F, so keep that in mind. Here is a quick reference for you on that. As well, you won’t be getting the bioprotective qualities you would get with F-LC culture.

Vance Hirschler December 14, 2019 - 10:27 pm

Get over your metric scale. Takes the fun out of it.

Victor @ Taste of Artisan December 15, 2019 - 12:09 am

Way more precise than cups and spoons down to minuscule amounts and easy to measure using a cheap $10 scale. You are aright, boring. But seriously, scaling recipes written in cups and spoons up and down is a nightmare.

Brian October 20, 2019 - 9:09 pm

How many casing does this recipe fill?

Victor @ Taste of Artisan October 21, 2019 - 12:38 am

Brian, a 12″ long 60 mm fibrous casing normally fills about 1.5 lbs, or 2 lbs at 18″ long. The recipe being 2.2 lbs (1 kg) is only a guideline, which you will need to scale to your needs. Say you start with 3,000 grams of beef. Then you pork will have to be 1,286 g and your total meat will be 4,286 g. Your salt will be 23 g * 4.286 = 98.6 g. and so on. If you just want to make the 1 kg recipe, you will fill one 18″ 60 mm casing and will have some left over. Just make a couple of patties from leftovers and fry on a pan. I do it all the time as my kids love those.

Brian Schon October 24, 2019 - 10:10 am

Victor can you add the fermento to the first recipe ,to eliminate the humidity/fermentation step ?

Victor @ Taste of Artisan October 24, 2019 - 11:55 am

Brian, you sure can. Fermento is a shortcut used in place of actual fermentation to drop pH and give the sausage its characteristic tang. You can use it in any recipe. I will be posting a beef stick recipe that is really good which also uses fermento.

George H October 17, 2019 - 6:12 am

What is fermento and how is it applied

Victor @ Taste of Artisan October 17, 2019 - 12:01 pm

George, take a look at the description above the recipe, it explains what Fermento and links to the sausagemaker.com where you can buy it. It’s an alternative to fermentation to give summer sausage its tangy taste. Pretty cool stuff and makes things a bit easier.

Andy January 8, 2019 - 12:02 am

I just made a batch of your recipe and I have to say, it’s some of the best summer sausage I’ve ever tasted. I can’t wait to make my next batch.
But now I’m wondering how to store the finished sausages. How long is it on the shelf. The garage stays around 60-65 degrees pretty constantly.

victor January 8, 2019 - 6:12 am

Good to hear it, Andy. It’s recommended to store this type of sausage, fully cooked, at 55-60F and 76% Rh. At this temp and RH the sausage will be losing moisture and drying. The more it dries, the longer the shelf life will be. Technically, at this temp and Rh it should store indefinitely.

Eli November 20, 2018 - 9:16 am

This is one of the best summer sausage recipies I’ve come across. I ended up drying for about 48 hours to sharpen the flavors. Thanks for sharing!

victor November 20, 2018 - 1:51 pm

Thank you. Drying is always a good thing as it removes excess moisture, increases shelf life, keeps the sausage fresher tasting for longer, and intensifies flavor.

Steve Denvir August 6, 2018 - 9:15 pm

Wow. I just finished my second batch. My first one was challenged by trying to keep the heat down and generate smoke at the same time. Tasted great, but the texture wasn’t where I wanted it to be. I think much of the fat dissolved into the meat because the temperature got too high.

This time, I used the A-Maze-N smoker (actually, two of them), and cold smoked the sausage with cherry for 3 hours before putting any heat on.

I just pulled it out of the fridge and tried a slice.

About 15 years ago, I was the writer/creative director on the Schneider’s Meats advertising account. In the course of that, I interviewed 30 or 40 current and former employees. I always asked them what their favourite Schneider’s product was.

4 out of 5 said summer sausage.

Well, the summer sausage I made today leaves the Schneider’s stuff in the dust. Tangy. Smoky. And absolutely delicious.

Thanks Victor. I’d never have gotten here without your help.


victor August 8, 2018 - 11:18 am

WOW, Steve!!! Awesome job! We rarely buy sausage/salami/smoked meats as anything homemade beats anything commercial. I recall how Marianski once said in his book how now one kg of meat yields well over a kg of finished ham, instead of less than a kilo, and there is an ocean between how good ham tastes vs commercial ham. Same applies to sausages. It’s sad, really. The good news is that anyone with a little bit of time and determination can experience that unforgettable taste of homemade sausage.

Jenn October 24, 2019 - 3:35 pm

What about using encapsulated citric acid? How much would you recommend?

Victor @ Taste of Artisan October 24, 2019 - 4:49 pm

Jenn, I’ve never used citric acid so I can’t recommend how much to use but here is a good resource that talks about it. They recommend 3 oz per 25 lbs of meat. If you do try this, let me know how it turns like and how you like the taste of the final product.

Larry Sands June 11, 2018 - 3:59 pm

June 11 18 I found that bringing the temp. up on the low side below 110 you will get a rind on it and it is imposable to get to temp . i see no reason to go above 156 158 to finish summer sausage.

Steve Denvir May 21, 2018 - 4:18 pm

The info that came with the F-LC suggests that no matter how much you’re making, you should use at least a quarter of the 25g packet. Would you agree, or do you just scale up from the .24g you use in your base recipe?

As always, thanks in advance.


victor May 22, 2018 - 9:24 am

Steve, I’ve always thought that a quarter was a bit too much and I scale down, but I normally use no less than a gram or two, depending on the size of a batch. I do check pH though to make sure the culture properly activated and pH dropped to the target level.

Steve Denvir May 17, 2018 - 5:43 pm

Victor, what kind of heating pad do you use? Have you got a source?

Thanks in advance


victor May 18, 2018 - 7:49 am

Sure. I use a Auxo Horticulture 48″ pad. You can go with a smaller one, half the size. I only got the 48″ as I also use it for beer fermentation.

Scott March 4, 2018 - 4:15 pm

Leaving the oven light on with a Pyrex dish of salted water gives me the heat and humidity I need for fermenting

Doug January 14, 2018 - 7:39 pm

During the fermentation period I use an old wine fridge. It holds at about 90% humidity and around 65-70 degrees. Would this be ok and allow it to fermentation longer, or just try and raise the temp?

victor January 14, 2018 - 11:56 pm

65F may be a bit too low for this culture, 70F-75F for about 48-72 hours would be better. You want PH to drop to 5.3 at the end of fermentation, that’s the goal.

Mark Griffin November 27, 2017 - 12:54 am

Extremely amazing. I just love Garlic Summer Sausage ever since I have tasted it when i went to see a football match in Colorado. It was delicious. Blackforestbison make really good stuff as far as bison meat products are concern. It has less fat and cholesterol than other jerky. So benefits are there for sure and this is why bison meat is showing up on more and more American dinner tables. And now finally I got this recipe. I think I should try my hand in cooking, my wife gonna love me if I am able to make summer sausage for family gathering on Sunday. Great stuff 🙂

Ted June 1, 2017 - 7:59 am

Best sausage I have ever tried 😀

dave September 19, 2016 - 3:42 pm

Please forgive me, but I have a few questions about this great sounding recipe.

First, Why the F-LC culture. Is this just for flavoring or is there some other purpose?

Second, Do you recommend using a cooler and heating pad to achieve the “Ferment at 86F (30C) and 85-90% humidity for 24 hours.” step? And, is it an either this method or the “For a drier sausage, dry for 3 days at 60-70F and 65-75% humidity or until desired weight loss is achieved.” method, both not both?

Third, I’ll be using an Extra Large Big Green Egg, so insofar as your instructions go to “Place the sausage in the smoker and smoke at 110F and 70% humidity for 6 hours. Gradually increase smoke temperature until internal meat temperature reaches 140F.”, how am I able to know/measure the humidity levels?

Fourth, Assuming I refrigerate these sausages afterward, how long should they be expected to last?

Thank you very much. I appreciate your time and knowledge. I look forward to trying this recipe…it’s very exciting. I’ve already made several UMAiDry sausages that have turned out very well, but this recipe is a bit more challenging. Thank, Dave

victor September 20, 2016 - 8:39 am

Dave, just to be clear, this is Stan Marianski’s famous summer sausage recipe, not mine. Now, to your questions.

1. FL-C culture. Many purposes. Think of FL-C culture as the beneficial bacteria first and foremost. During fermentation the goal is build an army of these little guys who will dominate and won’t let harmful bacteria develop. FL-C culture also specifically protects against Listeria development. Starter cultures, such as FL-C also improve taste, increase acidity (give the sausage that nice tangy taste), and promote beneficial (white) mold growth on the surface.

2. Fermentation and drying are very different things. Fermentation is done to help the FL-C or other starter culture kick off and grow beneficial bacteria. It’s done at higher temperatures and very high humidity. Drying’s objective is to remove moisture from the meat to make it more spoilage prone, develop and intensify flavor, etc.

Yes, for fermentation I use a cooler with a heating pad. I wrote about it in my response to someone’s question just above yours. Drying can be done in a basement during cold weather as the conditions are close to those recommended in the recipe. Otherwise, you will need a curing chamber. Read my post Advanced Meat Curing Chamber post where I go into a lot of detail on how to build a curing chamber with precise control of temperature and humidity.

3. The recipe calls for that level of humidity. You have to decide how to implement that. I fuss a lot less about humidity during smoking semi-dry sausages such as Summer sausage. When I smoke semi-dry sausage on my BGE I only monitor the temperature and don’t bother with humidity.

4. The combination of FL-C culture and pink salt will allow to keep this sausage refrigerated for weeks. Don’t know exactly how long. In our home the sausages don’t last in the fridge that long 😉 If you dry them for a few days at 60F-70F and 65-75%, maybe even a week, I like mine drier as they develop more intense flavors, those sausages can stay in the fridge for months.

You can also vacuum seal your sausages and freeze them for months, then defrost in a fridge over a period of a few days. They will taste very fresh and you can preserve all the moisture if you don’t like drier sausage.

Hope this helps.

Heath September 5, 2016 - 7:24 pm

1)How do you create the temp and humidity conditions for fermentation?
2)I can smoke with a water pan, but would it really even work at that low temp to create humidity in my Cookshack Amerique?

victor September 5, 2016 - 9:46 pm

For fermentation I typically use a large cooler partially covered with Saran wrap. The sausage will be releasing water and RH will be around the target 90%. To maintain the temperature I use a heat pad with a temperature controller.

By the way, if you don’t have the necessary equipment for fermentation I learned of a cool trick from Rytek Kutas’s book. He uses Fermento to give the sausage a little tang, without fermentation. I sometimes do it that way too, and it’s tastes great.

As to the humidity in the smoker, I personally don’t measure it and don’t concern myself too much about it. You are right, at that low temperature humidity should not be an issue. I would only worry about if the ambient humidity is very low.

Kenny Drake July 18, 2016 - 12:02 pm

I want to know how to keep the outside from becoming hard. I have a Cajun Injector electric smoker and have tried several different ideas from starting at 200 and leaving until internal temp reaches 160 and I have done it slow starting at 120 for a hour and going up to 175 slowly. It took almost 30 hours to get my IT. what am I doing wrong. The outside edge is always hard and brittle

victor July 18, 2016 - 12:43 pm

I think the fact that you smoke/cook the sausage for 30 hours is the answer. This prolonged thermal treatment process will dry out and harden the casing/outer layer of sausage a lot unless you keep the humidity way up. I’ve had similar problems in the past, my solution is to smoke for a few hours at a low temperature, about 110F – 125F, depending on how my smoker behaves. I then ramp up the temperature to 165F, 175F and all the way to 190F-ish to quickly get the internal to the desired level, 140F for Summer sausage. I do it over the course of about 30 minutes. This helped with finishing the whole process a lot sooner and prevented the outside from hardening and drying out. If that doesn’t help, see if putting a tray with hot water underneath the sausage fixes that. It should help with keeping the humidity up and preventing case hardening.

Don’t get discouraged, sometimes recipes are sensitive to the equipment you use and you need to experiment a little. Some book recipes I tried were just out of touch with reality. I’ve tried a number of kielbasa recipes that recommend smoking at 110F then slowly raising the temperature to 165F-175F to get to internal temp or 152F. That never, ever worked for me, and I tried three smokers. Now I always go straight to 190F and get the internal temp to 152F in 20 minutes or so. Many guys on Polish forums do that. They call it the baking stage. If you cut the sausage immediately you will see a lot of juice/fat running out, makes you think you messed up, that the baking temp was too high. But let it cool on its own overnight, then refrigerate for a few hours, then cut – you will see it looks perfect. Check out my post on Swojska kielbasa, I mentioned that there and posted a few pictures.