Okay, Gang! Let’s bust out the beef and learn how to make Summer Sausage!
For this all beef sausage we are going to work with a Choice grade chuck roast.
There is enough fat in this cut to make a decent sausage.
We are going to start by cutting the chuck into 1 inch cubes, placing them in a bowl and then into the freezer for 30 minutes. We need the fat in the chuck to stay cold so it doesn’t smear while grinding.
You also want your meat grinder to be as cold as possible for the same reason. If you are using a grinding attachment for a stand mixer then go ahead and put that in the freezer at the same time the beef goes in. If your grinder is too big to go into the freezer than put some ice in it to chill the components.
You want a fine texture for this sausage so we are going to grind this twice using a medium sized plate. Here is our beef after the first grind.
And here it is after it goes through the grinder again.
Now we add the seasoning and mix for about a minute with our stand mixture.
All Beef Summer Sausage Recipe
- 3 lbs ground chuck
- 3 Tablespoons Morton Tender Quick
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon mustard seed
- 1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
- 2/3 cup ice cold water
If you are not familiar with Morton Tender Quick then you need to know that it is primarily salt but also has some sugar as well as low levels of nitrites and nitrates. The standard application rate for this product is one tablespoon per pound of meat. The nitrites in Morton Tender Quick are needed to cure the sausage giving it the traditional red color.
If you do not want nitrites in your food you can replace the Tender Quick with table salt. The end product will still taste great but will not look like what you buy at the store.
Mix the ingredients for about a minute until you get a smooth paste like the one shown below.
Now stick all of that beef and the mixing bowl in the freezer for an hour. You have put a lot of heat into the meat and it’s time to get it cold again.
While the meat is chilling you can use the time to soak your mahogany collagen casing in warm water. This will make it pliable and easy to work with when you are stuffing.
After the meat has chilled and the casing has soaked it is time to get stuffing!
I have found the easiest way to stuff these large casings is by using my CLEAN hands. Scoop the meat mixture into little meatballs and just drop them in the casing. Every now and then squeeze and compress the casing to pack everything together. It really is pretty easy.
Of course if you have a proper one inch stuffing horn that will work as well.
When the casing is full simply tie it off with a piece of twine.
(If you don’t have a big mahogany collagen casing lying around then don’t let that stop you from trying this recipe. You can place the meat paste in some plastic wrap to form it into a log. After you form the log transfer it to a sheet of aluminum foil and wrap tightly.)
Stick the sausage in the refrigerator to rest overnight so the Morton Tender Quick can cure the beef and give it that nice rosy color.
Cooking Your Sausage
I cook these sausages in my oven and NOT on my kettle. I simply don’t have enough control on my grill to smoke it as low and evenly as I need. If you have a highly accurate pellet grill or an electric smoker then you could use either of those at low temperature settings.
You want to gently heat your sausage to 155F and no further (well, okay..maybe 160F…but no further!). If you get this sausage too hot, too fast then you will ruin the fat dispersion in the sausage.
- Set the sausage on a rack over a cookie sheet.
- Put the sausage into a 200F oven until it reaches an internal temperature of 155F.
- This will take about three hours but use a digital thermometer to be sure
- Transfer the cookie sheet to the refrigerator and let the sausage cool completely before slicing.
This sausage should last at least a week in your refrigerator.
If you need a link to find casings, Morton Tender Quick or a grinder then you can find them on my Sausage Making Supplies page.
The recipe given above is for an all beef cooked sausage. You can use this basic technique and change up the seasoning blend to make all different types of beef sausage recipes. Some people include cubes of high temperature cheddar cheese and jalapenos while others like to add a little more kick by increasing the amount of mustard seed and black pepper.
The downside of an all beef sausage is that beef fat can have a waxy texture that feels like it is sticking inside your mouth. This is why many people like to replace a third of the beef with pork butt. They like the flavor of the pork and pork fat has an immensely better mouth feel than beef fat.
There are other recipes for this sausage that utilize a fermentation step to give the sausage a tangy flavor. The ground meat is inoculated with a starter culture of good bacteria and then held at temperatures of around 85F at high humidity to promote the rapid growth of the good bacteria. The rapid bacterial growth, fermentation, causes the pH of the meat to drop to about 5.5-5.7. The acidic pH, nitrites, nitrates and salt, combined with the dense population of good bacteria, inhibits the growth of dangerous bacteria.
After fermentation the sausages are air dried under carefully controlled temperature and humidity ranges until they decrease in weight by about 20-30% from water evaporation.
At this point the sausages are safe to eat even though they have never been cooked!
Most home cooks are not prepared to create fermented sausages. If this sounds like something you would like to learn to do then here is an article on fermented sausages to get you started. For more basic techniques and recipes check out my article on Making Sausage at Home.