And here they are, ready to go into the fridge overnight to let the spices meld and the cure to start its magic. Yes, the cure does change the flavor as well as keeping the bad bugs away.
Next day. Here is my homemade pellet smoker made out of a steel perforated return air ceiling tile.
It works pretty well. Thatís an old Smoke Hollow that I tore the guts out of to make a smoker. I could never get this thing under 300 degrees before.
Note* There are no streaks in the lawn.
Here we are about 4 hours later. Pulled from the smoker and about to get cooked/pasteurized in the Souse Vide pot to the right.
About 45 minutes later, it is almost done. Thatís right. Not 10 hours later. This is a fast process when done this way. The links are in a ziplock, but they are also filled with water to weigh the bag down. The other bag has the temp probe (not seen). The links go into the cold bath at 155F, just a couple minutes after this picture.
I bought this Souse Vide because of my challenges keeping temps in a smoker. No doubt if I built a bigger one it would be easier, but I tried this first and it worked out so well Iím not looking back.
Blooming out for 2 hours. They look pasty and pale, but that will change in a few.
And now the finished product. Notice how the color came back. And another benefit, there isnít any shrinkage either. The smell is incredible, I wish I could describe it well enough to give it justice.
Wow Ė the taste is outstanding. Slightly smoky, perfectly gelled as a sausage should be, case has the right ďsnapĒ, and well, you decide if it meets the eye appeal.
Hereís some notes kind of condensed if you want to give this a try. First off, this is something you can do and do it safely. You donít have to go buy a LEM #12 grinder either. I would recommend getting a geared stuffer, and a 5 pounder will do fine. These notes also give more of the story that the pictures didnít. I also put the detail of the Souse Vide process that I use too.Prep Ė
Sterilize everything that touches meat. Fill your sink with a cup or so of bleach and fill with cold water. Everything, including grinder attachments, stuffer, etc goes in here for at least 5 minutes prior to use. Dip your hands in there just before the start of every new step in the process.
The slow methods and cold smoke will always require Sodium Nitrite cure #1 for proper food safety and the hot methods do not. The rule of meat is no more than 4 hours between the temperatures of 40 - 140 F. unless you use a cure to prevent botulism from growing. However, you can use cure #1 for any if desired.Creating the links.
1. Cut meat into 1Ē cubes. For the pork, go buy a Boston butt (shoulder), they are typically 80/20 meat/fat once ground. Keep that in mind, you might want to add in more fat especially if you are making a venison type sausage.
2. Measure out all the spices and put them into a container. Also add in the other additives except for potato starch if used. This comes later.
3. Measure out the water and pour into a jar. Add in the nitrite and refrigerate.
4. Mix the spices and additives to the meat cubes, then put meat into freezer for about 45 minutes or until the sides start to freeze and the meat cubes start to stick to the container.
5. Grind using the smallest plate (or other plate if desired).
6. Give an initial mix to ensure spices are evenly distributed.
7. Add in the water/nitrite liquid.
8. Mix. Mix again. Mix until the fats emulsify. You will know when it becomes sticky and the fats want to adhere to the sides of the container.
9. If you are using potato starch, add this in now and mix until fully distributed.
10. Prepare stuffer.
11. Grab a heaping handful of product and mold into a big softball size ball and load into the hopper. Keep doing this until all the product is loaded
12. Create the links as desired. Be careful not to overstuff but donít under stuff either. Experience will be the best teacher here.
13. Place product in refrigerator for at least overnight to allow the spices and cure to meld and do their work.Souse vide poach
Provides cooked and cured product with pasteurization. This is the easiest method to cure and process. Sodium Nitrite cure #1 must be used for proper food safety if you are cold smoking.
1. Prepare as shown in Creating the links, steps 1-13.
2. Remove sausage from refrigerator and allow sausage to come up to room temperature plus two hours by hanging in the kitchen somewhere out of the reach of dogs.
3. Cold smoke the sausage for at least 4 hours.
4. Remove sausage from smoker and allow to bloom for 1 to 2 hours if desired.
5. Preheat water with Souse vide to 157 F
6. Put sausage into ziplock bags and immerse into water after the temperature has stabilized.
7. Remove sausage from heat when internal temp reach 155F.
8. Immediately immerse into ice bath and then remove when temperature lowers to 90F.
9. Allow to bloom again until sausage lowers to room temperature or 2 hours approximately.
10. Vacuum package and freeze.Tips and tricks I learned the hard way.
In random order.
Grind it cold. I mean just near freezing. With the salt already added it should be supercooled (under 32 F). The edges of the meat should just start freezing. Failure here will render the fat at 135 to 140 F and produces a dry hamburger product not fit for dog food. This is also the cause of greasy casings provided you didnít get the cook temperature too hot.
Supercooled product is hard to push through a stuffer. Normal refrigerator temperature (34 to 38 F) is ideal and flows well.
If you cannot accurately control the smokehouse temperature in the cooking/pasteurizing stage, go buy a Souse Vide appliance.
Itís just as hard to do 2 lbs as it is to do 20 lbs
Pork jowls typically have a TON of salt already added
Hang sausages to dry and or bloom out of the reach of dogs.
Give memo to wife that there are sausages overhead and please do not close the pantry doors. In 20 minutes, send the memo again.Souse Vide notes
Cold smoke first if you want your product smoked. If you donít want to cold smoke, add in paprika in the spice mix
Pre-heat the water to 157F before immersing the product. They will be juicier.
It is easier to fill the zip lock bags with the hot water so they sink. After you bloom, they will turn dark again.