Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Summer Sausage – Winter Isn’t Coming

Traditionally, summer sausage is made, and cured in the winter, so that it’s ready to enjoy during the summer, but unless you have some sort of time machine, we’re going to have to settle on this easy, and much faster, shortcut method. Despite only taking a few days, this really is very close in taste and texture to everybody’s favorite gift-basket sausage.

The method is very simple, but just be sure to test for doneness with a thermometer, ideally a probe thermometer, which will alert you when the center of your sausage has reached your target temperature of 150 F. This will ensure we achieve a smooth, salami-like texture.

As far as the taste goes, feel free to spice this anyway you want. With just a little bit of research you could use this simple technique to make many similarly styled sausages, like your own personalized pepperoni, or signature salami. No matter how you flavor this, it will help if you do include a pinch of pink curing salt (aka Insta Cure #1), which you hopefully have leftover from our homemade ham recipe.  

If not, it’s easy to find online, but for the record, the recipe will work without it, just not maybe quite as spectacularly. By the way, if you’re not sure about using nitrites, check out this great article by Michael Ruhlman. Curing salts aside, I really do hope you give this great summer sausage recipe a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for One 2-pound Summer Sausage:
1/4 cup diced celery, minced or smashed into juicy bits
2 pounds freshly ground beef (85/15 lean to fat ratio)
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 rounded tablespoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons whole mustard seeds
20 grams kosher salt (2 tablespoons if you use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt. This is best done by weight.)
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
pinch of cayenne
1/4 teaspoon pink curing salt (Insta Cure #1)
1 tablespoon white sugar

For the “smoking” wash:
1 tablespoon liquid smoke mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water

- Cook at 275 F. for 1 hour and 30 minutes, or to an internal temp of 150 F.


Unknown said...

Just curious, how long will this keep given the lack of preservatives.

Azi said...

Great idea!
After trying this your way, i’m Going to do a sous-vide version (@150Fx3hrs), and, figure out a way to hot smoke it outside.

Unknown said...

Does this have to be kept in the fridge so it will keep?

Bud said...

Thanks for the video Chef John. I have Tenderquick instead of pink curing salt. Any ideas for substituting it?

Duane said...

80/20 meat?

BWJ21 said...

If using pork with this method, would you want to cook to the same internal temperature?

Mark said...

Chef John, could you be more specific about what kind of freshly ground beef we're looking for? Something on the lean end, or something with more fat?

Thanks! This looks fantastic, and I can't wait to try it out.

Ricky P said...

What type of ground beef should be used? Medium? Lean? Extra lean? Would I get a better flavour if I used ground veal?

Unknown said...

Please do some moussaka, chef John! Grant my food wish.

JBN said...

Is the meat fully cooked? I am immunosuppressed due to a transplant so have to be a little careful of what I eat. Thanks!

cleverpiggy said...

So what would be the seasonings for a pepperoni? Asking for a friend.

nachumj said...

how is this stored?

Andrew said...

What type of ground beef is best? I would guess something lean like 93/7 based on the technique but wanted to ask to be sure.

Unknown said...

How long will it last?

Unknown said...

can you let them dry for a couble of day or weeks instead of putting it in the ofen?

Unknown said...

Hi Chef John

Long time viewer, first time caller.

Watching this video was giving me ideas. Ideas that lead to questions. Questions you answered at the end of the video by suggesting that I play around with meats and flavours.

I'm still left with three questions.

1) If I were to follow the tecnique as shown in the video until the sausage is wrapped in foil and pierced to let excess moisture escape, would putting that in a vacuum bag and sous vide-ing for an hour or two at 170F be a viable alternative? Not having a probe thermometer, and an oven that tends to be very inconsistent, I feel like this would be a safer alternative for me.

2) Are there any issues with using fresh/wet ingredients for flavour? Like fresh garlic, chilli, etc? I noticed that outside of the celery and meat, all your ingredients were dry.

3) Should I be using different temperatures for different meats, or would 170F be a suitable temp for everything? I'm mainly thinking beef, chicken, and pork. I assume those three would have reached a safe temp by 170F.

Thanks for all your great videos. You've been a great inspiration to me in the kitchen over the last few years, and I always love seeing a new upload by you. The Thai Basil Chicken was one of the first I saw, and I make that almost monthly now.


Unknown said...

How would I go ahead with this recipe if I wanted to smoke it for real instead of using liquid smoke? Thanks!

Jaydoggy said...

This is a pretty hefty portion. How long will this keep in the fridge? I don't think we'd be able to finish this in a week.

Māris said...

This looks awesome, but if i do want to smoke it, how would i go about doing it?

James Valvis said...

Chef, why can you not use packaged meat? Is it just because of freshness-- or is there another reason?

Juan Perro said...

Excellent. This is the type of fun kitchen project that defines delayed gratification. I think my only problem would be resisting eating all of the sausage knowing it was waiting there, calling from the fridge.
Perhaps vacuum sealing and freezing half for later?

As always, thank you for the recipes, Chef John!

Fan of Chef John's Brand said...

Looks like fun... What about cooking the meat log on a pellet smoker instead of using liquid smoke? Would I leave it unwrapped on the grill and cook to 150 degrees?

Chef Jerome McElroy said...

Chef John no longer answers questions :(

brickbats said...

Great youtube channel! I've made a lot of your stuff and it's always good. BTW I never worried about nitrates or nitrites until I read this article. Now I want to avoid them. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/newsroom/news-releases/beef-jerky-and-other-processed-meats-associated-with-manic-episodes

Unknown said...

You are a genius!! I look forward to you answering the questions so that I can get the ingredients. Main question is can I smoke the sausage in a Bradley smoker. Is so - I will be making a lot of summer sausage. Thank you

The Logophile said...

Chef John, I wasn't sure where to leave a Food Wish, even though I've been a loyal viewer for lo these many years. But since your summer sausage recipe looks so amazing, I can't help but think that some mostarda di cremona would go perfect with it. Too bad I don't know how to make it. I wish someone of Italian descent could bless us with a new condiment for our charcuterie. America needs to break the stranglehold of the ketchup/mayo/mustard oligopoly. Please help us, Chef John, you're our only hope.

Daniel Contreras said...

Chef John,
What allows us to use barehand and overmix this ground meat? If I have learned anything about handling about minced/ground beef and pork its that fat is key to a good texture and that using our hands risks melting that.

Azi said...

For those asking about the meat:
1. You want a relatively fatty cut — chuck roast, brisket, plate ribs, etc. Or, you can accumulate fat trimmings from roast & briskets and add to any cut you grind.
2. 150F is medium-well for beef. So this is fully cooked. Typically beef sausages are smoked to 140-145, which is high medium. They stay pink because if the pink salt.
3. These must be kept in the cooler. Even if you sous-vide them instead of baking. You need more curing salt, real smoking and time to make it room temp stable.

Hope this helps.

Food fan said...

Looks like lots of fun making this summer sausage! The video and receipe clearly explain how to create it. All you have to do is watch the video and read the recipe. Can't wait to try using exact instructions and in the future modifying it if I choose to do so.

AUChef said...

Fantastic technique Chef John, I lots of sausage, but this is probably the simplest and quickest technique I have seen. Loved the result and wish I had thought to do something like this years ago!

@Duane, I made two with the technique, one beef at 82-18 which was really good, and an even better one half 90-10 beef, half 85-15 pork. The second wasn’t better because it was leaner, it was just better because everything is improved by pork!

Commercial sausage like this is generally 15-23% fat content, so I usually shoot for that or a tad less, which means 80-20 will be fine.

hockeypuck said...

This was excellent. Used 80/20 ground chuck. Had somewhat uneven heating as part of the log heated near 160F and the other end at 148F. Position in oven, I guess. More fat was rendered, but we kept in fridge for 2 days, unwrapped and another day to "air it out" This rivals some of the best summer sausage we have purchased. Going for another try soon. Thank's Chef John!

Jan Brasil said...

Jan Brasil
So where is the cold "Danish Remulade Sauce" that I grew up eating with salami
in Denmark.
You really should get around to show how to make it.
it is fantastic with grilled meat as well.
I make it here in Brasil and everybody loves it!

Unknown said...

Wow this was amazing!great texture and flavor, very impressive for a relatively short amount of time. Excited to use this bag of curing salt more now

Unknown said...

Dear Chef John! I followed your technique on the preparation of summer sausage and it turned out great and tasty. Thanks a lot. Though you said, it's not a recipe but a method, I am wondering if you think this could be done with lean pork too, ie ground pork fillet perhaps. Regular minced pork, I could imagine, would be too fatty. Appreciate your thoughts. Cheers Peter M / Singapore

Kim Quinn said...

Respect your skills, Chef John. Am wonderin where any of the replies to these questions may be found.
The questions seem considerate and honest. Do you ever answer?

RHansen said...

It took longer for my summer sausage to reach the desired temperature, like over 2 hours. Is this normal?