3 – FERMENTED-SAUSAGE … naturally-fermented (like Summer Sausage) plus the Air-Dried variety

3 – FERMENTED-SAUSAGE … naturally-fermented (like Summer Sausage) plus the Air-Dried variety


…techniques often require a temperature-controlled, humidity-controlled environment for months on end, but lately something called a Umai semi-permeable membrane bag is coming into use. Fermented sausage comments are welcomed- – read all about it, here.  …please! This exciting new development in an exciting old-developed field promises to enable more of us to enjoy such things.
As for me, I’m dying to try to duplicate some of the incredible chorizos that we recently enjoyed on a trip to Spain and Portugal. I’ll (sigh) never be able to obtain, let alone afford, an Iberian ham, but a guy can dream…

There are lots of traditional Central European items that need to be written about. …looking forward to reading about (and trying!) them.
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143 thoughts on “3 – FERMENTED-SAUSAGE … naturally-fermented (like Summer Sausage) plus the Air-Dried variety

  1. Tested temp control the other day’ now for humidity – will let you know. Funny thing happened while breaking down the side. I put a portion in the chamber and turned it on without the temp controller and discovered it was a freezer not a fridge!

    1. “Science marches on,” eh?
      You DO have a heater part of your temperature controller, I hope. …or else, Marilyn is more understanding than my wife, and lets you keep your chamber in the house instead of the garage.

  2. Finally putting the curing chamber to use with a batch of CW’s cervalet. Controlling hiumidy takes some getting used to. Teaching this old dog new tricks is challenging!

  3. A few surprises when I took the cervelat out of the chamber after 3 days per CW’s instructions. First, the meat did not bind. Second, when I removed the smokehouse casing the meat was surrounded by fat. Now, unless my smoker pid is out of whack, I started at about 110F and raised the temp every 20 minutes over 4 hours to 170F and removed the chubs with an IT of 150F and plunged into cold water until IT down to 90F. As for taste, it is like a sandwhich meat but not sure it tastes like vervelat.

    1. I had a look at Chuckwagon’s Cervalat recipe to see if maybe the ol’ coot slipped a decimal point somewhere. Nope.
      —how well do you believe your smoker temperature reading? 170 is pushing it! I find a large temperature gradient in my smoker. It could easily have been hotter down by the sausage by as much as 20 or 30 degrees! Move the thermocouple from the stack to down by the sausage and see. Most people measure stack temperature, but finishing sausages so close to the rendering temperature is risky, especially if your smoker’s temperature controller cycles over a wide range. (Before I bought my PID controller, mine used to swing 12 degrees! Your PID controller should do much better, but others reading this post should beware.)

      I used to finish smoked sausages in the indoor oven in one of our houses. I’ve checked its temperature, and it controls well, cycling over about a ten degree range, never quite hitting 170. But beware! If the oven runs hot or swings widely, like our other one did, you’ll have to compensate if you can. Sometimes the cycling covers too wide a range for it to be useful.

      — you should have gotten a primary bind when you mixed but, reading your wording. I’m not sure.

      —looks like there is a discrepancy in the amount of beef called for in the recipe, but that wouldn’t matter as far as binding goes.

  4. CW wants an IT of 150F but fat starts rendering at 130-140F. I think that is why there was so much fat between the casing and the meat after plunging in cold water to reduce the IT to 90F. Clearly I need to recalibrate my pid but that doesn’t help resolve getting to 150F without fat rendering.

  5. Marianskis’ book, page 623, lists the length of time required at various temperatures in order to kill trichinae. That should give you an idea of what the recipes are trying to achieve.

    What you may find interesting is to take several meat thermometers (thermocouple preferred) positioned at various locations inside your smoker to see how the temperature varies with position. I was amazed at the gradient within my cheap ol’ Masterbuilt. Not only was there a huge gradient, but the temperature sensor was 20 degrees low. You should get better results with your PID for control purposes, but I bet the gradient is still there.
    I hope your smoker performs better than mine, but bet that its gradient is just as bad.

  6. Aside from the pid sensor which is mounted low in the cabinet, I use an independant thermo as well but I’ve been keeping the sensor high in the cabinet. I ought to place it lower in the box. I can see this challenge will keep me occupied well into the new year. Merry Christmas all!

    1. …best location is close to where you want to control the temperature, which usually means locating it close to the sausages but away from the smoker walls. If you have a fully-loaded smoker, this obviously is hard to do. What’s needed is a location with a “representative” temperature, whatever THAT is.

      If you are worried about not exceeding a certain temperature, try to locate the sensor where the hottest sausage will be, which as you say is lower in the box. With your independent thermocouple, check a location near the coolest sausage, and make sure that the sausages near there stay long enough at that temperature to get an IMT that meets or exceeds the time interval in the Marianski table, to be safe.

      What a great (though occasionally confusing) hobby!


  7. Here’s a shot of two Bulgarian sausages (“Uncle Krazi’s Recipe”, pork + chicken gizzards) and two Serbian sausages (hard to tell, but there actually are two of ’em). These will hang at 20 degC for three days, to ferment, then go into the curing phase at 14 degC and 85% humidity for however long it takes to dry. The Serb sausages will receive several days of periodic cold smoking with alder. My last batch of Serb sausages was delicious, and didn’t last long. Hopefully Uncle Krazi’s recipe will turn out great. (He’s the uncle of our Bulgarian tour guide on a recent Grand Circle Cruise Lines trip down the lower Danube.) Interested? Both are listed in our recipe archive.


  8. Lesson Learned: It always hurts to throw out a batch of sausage, but sometimes it has to be done. I was fermenting some Serb sausage and “Uncle Krazi’s Bulgarian sausage,” but unfortunately neither batch met the FSIS guidelines for pH reduction. This is because (I believe) I didn’t add any dextrose for the T-SPX bacteria to feed on, and the little buggers starved to death. Both reached about pH 6.0 or so, not nearly enough pH reduction. (It should have been 5.3 or lower in just a few days.)

    According to Stan & Adam Marianski’s book, “The Art of Making Fermented Sausages,” beginning about page 108, there’s a section called “USA Standards for Making Fermented Sausages,” plus follow-on sections on Canadian standards. Nearby are sections on the awful things that will grow in your sausage if standards are not met.

    • Corrective action: add a recommended dose of dextrose to these recipes, and try again.
    • Additional actions: use a small air pump to ensure venting of the chamber, reducing the odor from the chicken fat. Change water in the humidification portion of the equipment every two weeks or so, to reduce condensed oils. Chicken fat renders at room temperature, and its odor can become objectionable.

    Moral of the story, be sure to follow a proper set of guidelines for making your sausages. If you don’t, you’ll wind up with spoiled meat at best, and at worst… let’s hope you never go there.


  9. A close friend wants some landjaeger, so… Here’s one which you can make from one of Chuckwagon’s recipes in our treasure trove: http://sausageswest.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Swiss-Landjager.pdf The photo shows two kilos of the resulting sausages, hung in the smoker and ready to cold-smoke with 5 hours of mixed-hardwood pellets. (See elsewhere on this site for the cold-smoking apparatus.) At this stage, it has been fermenting at about 68 degF for four days at fairly high humidity. We didn’t have boards rigged up, so it’s not the traditional square shape, but that’s okay.

    Now that smoking is done, it’s all hanging at 58 degF in my curing cabinet at 75% humidity. That’s a little low, but then, it’s sharing the compartment with a kilo of summer sausage (see our recent “Project A” write-up). Landjaeger is a fermented, dried sausage so it needs to dry well. The recipe says to wait for 30% shrink, but we found (via an earlier batch that failed) that it should dry until hard to the touch, like the authentic stuff of my friend’s experience, probably in the 45% to 55% range.

    …so, we won’t rush this one. Most likely we’ll move the sausages to his refrigerator in a month or so. Humidity there is around 40%, but most of the drying should have been accomplished by then.

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