Smoked Sausage Recipes (Links)
Our smoked sausage recipes help educate the novice sausage maker about how to make fresh homemade sausage, dozens of proven sausage making recipes to choose from.
Smoked and cooked sausage is made from a variety of ground meats, including pork, beef, poultry and sometimes venison, then stuffed into natural or synthetic casings. Smoke cooked sausage varieties are fully cooked and ready to eat, hot or cold. This sausage type is commonly referred to as smoke cooked sausage, is a diverse group of products, each one identifiable because of its distinctive taste and cylindrical shape, which ranges from curved, short, long, thin, or chubby. Each one is made from seasoned ground, meat, especially pork, although venison, beef, turkey, chicken, or a combination of the above is often used. It’s stuffed into a prepared sausage casing, animal or synthetic, cured with a small amount of nitrate and processed with a combination of heat and smoke until the internal temperature of the product reaches 152°F (67°C). USDA recommends that it reach 160°F (70°C). Smoked and cooked sausage varieties are fully cooked and ready to eat, hot or cold.
Before the landmark E. coli outbreak in 1993, when hundreds of people were sickened and four children died after eating at Jack in the Box restaurants, 152°F (67°C) was the acceptable internal temperature for cooked meats. However, in an attempt to prevent further problems and deal with emerging food safety issues, the USDA changed their longstanding guidelines which recommended cooking meat to 152°F (67°C). They launched their new brainchild of cooking pork and beef products to an internal temperature of 160°F (70°C). Lets hope there isn’t another major E. coli outbreak, or we’ll be looking at a recommended internal temperature of 170°F (77°C). The 160°F (70°C) applies to ready to eat sausage products as well, including cooked and smoke/cooked products. While you at home may or may not agree with the governments suggestion of 160°F (70°C), it is the new law of the land for commercial sausage products.
I am willing to make a wager that if you aren’t using a computerized smokehouse in which you can absolutely control the relative humidity, smoke cooking your sausage to 160°F (70°C) may prove disastrous. If you make a mistake and go over the 160°F (70°C), you could end up with a dry, crumbly, inferior product that tastes more like cheap dog food than smoked sausage.
Smoke cooking sausage to this internal temperature takes me back to my youth when my mother would take a quality piece of venison and cremate it right before our tiny little eyes. Her idea of cooking a steak was to pan-fry it in water for as long as it took to make sure there wasn’t a smidgen of blood left, well-done according to her, massacred by my way of thinking. You can get the same kind of lousy sausage by smoke cooking the product to an internal temperature of 160°F (70°C). But why make the effort if you are going to overcook it in the smokehouse.
Although smoke cooked sausages are considered fully cooked at 152°F (67°C) any that aren’t eaten right away should be stored at 134-140°F (57-60°C). Under normal refrigeration, you can expect to keep smoked sausage seven days, and up to two weeks in tightly sealed vacuum pouches. Double wrap and freeze remainder for longer storage. Defrost frozen sausage slowly in a refrigerator as needed.
Do I Really Need Curing Salt?
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked––and the answer is yes! The following paragraph, extracted from Sausage and Smoked Meat Formulation and Processing, 1982. Bulletin 865, Cooperative Extension Service, The University of Georgia, Athens, explains the importance of using curing salt in all cured and smoked meat products.
“These curing ingredients are required to achieve the characteristic flavor, color and stability of cured meat. Nitrate and nitrite are converted to nitric oxide by micro-organisms and combine with the meat pigment myoglobin to give the cured meat color. However, more importantly, nitrite provides protection against the growth of botulism-producing organisms, acts to retard rancidity and stabilizes the flavor of the cured meat.”