Project “A” 2016 (4) – Summer Sausage “Live” Test

Fermented Sausages: Summer Sausage “Live” Test

Includes the following:

  • Storage: Keeping Your Fermented Sausages
  • Summer Sausage Recipe and notes
  • “Observations on Sausage” by Stan Marianski
  • Ordering Supplies
  • More Wisdom from Chuckwagon

Don’t neglect to read the Introductory Chapter !
Skip the BS (go directly to the comments)

Back to Previous Chapter

You can review the posts from the original Project “A” (135+ pages, divided into thirds ) by clicking one of the following:
Wisdom Gleaned from the Original Project “A” (part 1)     (part 2)     (part 3)

——————-before we begin, Shuswap has asked us to discuss “STORAGE” briefly—————————————
Our ol’ buddy Shuswap reminds me to include some words on storage. At issue, the requirement “Store at 55˚ F +/- 4 degrees. (13˚ C.) in 75% humidity. “ Here’s an excerpt from a “three-way” exchange between him, me, and Chuckwagon, heavily redacted by the CIA or the DVD or the Sausage Police or somebody:

Hey, hey, Phil! How are you sir? I’ve got El DuckO at my house for a week and we’re having a ball…

  • A cool basement is the place to store the pepperoni…
  • If we vacuum pack the stuff when it is at 75%, then the humidity is a “moot point”…
  • … in Cuba, they push the sausages down into a can of lard to keep it moist.
  • … a tray of salt will produce about 75% humidity. Do you have a cold, damp, cellar there in B.C.?

Best Wishes,

P.S. Hi, Phil. Duck here.
The idea on vacuum packing is that the sausage, which is already at close to water equilibrium conditions, gets packed in a container (vacuumed bag) where the water has little room to expand, so it stabilizes pretty close to the same humidity that it had. As to temperature, it’s probably not sensitive.

Traditionally,,,[sausages] were stored in cellars at moderate temperatures, but you can stash them [vacuum packed] in the refrigerator with no adverse effect.  …except that they’re visible, and therefore subject to being eaten by …“others.”
——————————–end of “STORAGE” discussion————————————————————————————


 Background on Raw Sausage Fermentation:

The US and Canadian governments, various academic institutions, and others put out excellent information on sausage making. A particularly clear discussion of raw sausage fermentation, complete with pictures, is contained in a publication titled “Meat Processing Technology for Small- to Medium-Scale Producers” by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Raw fermented sausages are thoroughly covered in a chapter starting at page 115 of that document, which you can read at . The “raw fermented” chapter is clearly presented, thorough, and pretty good reading. We’ll refer to that section in the upcoming Project “A”-2016 session. Have a look. …great background material.

Before You Start:

Keep a logbook! Record everything you do. Write down dates, times, measurements, etc. (Ed. Note: Don’t forget to include items that you’ve learned so far during the construction and testing phases.) Believe me, you’ll refer back to it several times during the process. Save your notes for the next batch. They will be invaluable. Don’t ignore this step. It only takes a few seconds to write down the information you may really need later on.

Chuckwagon Reminds Us What We Are Trying to Do:

Let’s look at what we are attempting to do with our “fermentation chambers”: we are going to purposely spoil meat… but it will be controlled spoilage called fermentation.

Many foods are prepared in such a manner. And what causes this “spoiling”? Bacteria. In meat, we use lactobacillus and pediococcus, feeding on sugar (carbohydrates) to produce lactic acid. This bacteria competes for nutrition with the undesirable spoilage bacteria (brochotrix thermosphacta and pseudomonas spp.) et. al., as well as pathogenic bacteria of several varieties. Of greatest concern are staphylococcus aureus, clostridium botulinum, listeria monocytogenes, escherichia coli, salmonella, clostridium perfringens, campylobacter jejuni, shigella, and bacillus cereus.

What makes these bacteria safe when consumed in meat, cheese, or any fermented food? Acidity! Bacteria do not do well in an acidic environment. In meat, lactobacilli produces acidity and when it increases, dropping to a point between 3.8 and 5.5 on the pH scale, it becomes safe to consume. The acidity of a sausage is determined by the amount and the type of sugar placed into the recipe.

The speed of the fermentation period is increased as the temperature is increased inside the chamber. It ceases when no more lactic acid is produced. This happens when there is no more sugar available to the lactobacilli. It will also stop when the temperature is lowered below 53˚ F., or heated beyond 120˚ F.

Fermentation will also discontinue when there is no longer free water available to the lactobacilli. In other words, if the sausage dries too quickly due to either (a.) low humidity, or (b.) too fast an air speed, while in our fermentation chambers, fermentation will cease.

We must also remember to use a specific amount of nitrate/nitrite to combat any possible clostridium botulinum. The toxins of the spores are deadly. Measure carefully.

OK wranglers, while the increase in acidity is taking place, we must contain the growth of the pathogenic and spoilage bacteria somehow (while the lactobacilli go to work). The most convenient method is to simply lock up or “bind” their water supply. This is accomplished by the use of salt, and a prescribed amount will bind their reserve. As the “water activity” drops to a point below Aw 0.86, a meat product has dried enough to consume safely.

You may be wondering why the salt doesn’t affect the lactic acid-producing bacteria also. Well, it does… but not to the same degree. Lactobacilli and pediococci are somewhat resistant to salt. Not only that, but they perform rather well having a limited water supply.

Summing it all up, we allow the sausage to ferment as lactic acid microorganisms go to work producing acid. This is where we get the “tang”. When it reaches proper acidity, it become safe to consume. While this is happening, we also start drying the sausage to achieve a point below .86 Aw. All this takes time… time in which pathogenic and spoilage bacteria may also grow in number by competing with the food supply. As we “bind” their supply of water, they start to die and the beneficial bacteria eventually take over. So… in essence, there are TWO things going for us. Acidity and dehydration. Both work! They’ve worked for thousands of years. But they MUST be controlled.

OK guys, […] Please obey all the rules of cleanliness, cover your hair, and don’t cough! Wash and scrub your hands!

Best Wishes,


Let’s “Rattle Some Iron:”

…the slang for starting up a chemical plant, also known as “Let’s ‘run it in anger’.” A good low-risk way to start using the equipment is to make Chuckwagon’s “Sunrise Summer Sausage. This recipe, which uses naturally-occurring bacteria for fermentation, can be found at on our website. It requires tying up our equipment for only a few days.

Managing the recipe, and in particular, scaling it to a different size, is one area where people are prone to making mistakes. May I suggest that you use a spreadsheet? If you don’t routinely use one, no problem- –  write your recipe down in rows and columns, then work through it by hand as follows. All we’re doing is recording the amounts of ingredients that the recipe calls for, then multiplying them all by a constant called the “scale factor,” to get the recipe that we’ll actually use. At the risk of sounding too simple, I recommend that you make a hand-operated spreadsheet. It really helps.

First, copy down the recipe name and whatever introductory information you want, in two columns. In a third column, convert to weight units if you want (I recommend grams). The weight conversion gives you a chance to work in consistent units, plus it offers a simple way to check you calculations. The fourth column, the percentages, “fall out of it” naturally. However, these two columns are entirely optional.

Here’s the partially-filled-in summer sausage recipe. You’ll need to do some converting of pounds and ounces and what-not to grams. …no problem for things like 6 pounds of pork, which you can multiply by 454 grams/pound, but those pesky tablespoons and teaspoons present a problem. You can solve them in one of two ways- –  if you know what’s called the “bulk density” of an item, you can multiply through, or you can actually weigh a teaspoon of Instacure or tablespoon of salt or whatever. Notice that the bottom row gives you a chance to sum up the columns, giving you a check. This is especially easy if you use a spreadsheet. However, there’s no need to even fill the row in, much less automate it. (…but I sure is handy.)


  A B C D E
1 amount units ingredient Weight, gm percent
2 6. Lbs pork butt =A2 * 454. =D2 / $D$13
3 4. Lbs beef chuck =A3 * 454. =D3 / $D$13
4 2 level tsp Instacure No. 1 =A4 * 6.0 =D4 / $D$13
5 5 Tblsp un-iodized salt =A5 * 18.0 =D5 / $D$13
6 4 Tblsp corn syrup solids =A6 * 12.0 =D6 / $D$13
7 4 Tblsp powdered dextrose =A7 * 12.0 =D7 / $D$13
8 6 oz Fermento =A8 * 28.3 =D8 / $D$13
9 1-1/2 tsp garlic powder =A9 * 2.80 =D9 / $D$13
10 2 Tbsp mustard powder =A10 * 6.60 =D10 / $D$13
11 1 Tbsp ground coriander (see note) =A11 * 6.00 =D11 / $D$13
12 1 tsp allspice =A12 * 1.90 =D12 / $D$13
13 =sum(D1:D12) =sum(E1:E12)

Which is more accurate, weight basis or volume basis? It depends, but it may not matter. There’s enough “give” in most recipes to accommodate the variability. It is usual practice in the US to use these volume measurements, but in the rest of the world, weight units are preferred because they’re more precise. To be consistent from recipe to recipe, I personally prefer the weight units, but use what you want.

…think it’s a waste of time? Then, do yourself a favor and weigh out a tablespoon of kosher salt and a tablespoon of iodized table salt. They are quite different, aren’t they? That’s because particle size is different. You get the same amount of salt, be it kosher or table, when you weigh. Use a volumetric measurement and you’re subject to introducing variability in your recipe.

So, I’ll climb down off my soap box and fill in the table for you. Being somewhat lazy, I will use spreadsheet notation and compute the weights, totals, and fractions. The formulae are given here (the $ signs allow you to copy cells and NOT change the address. If you don’t use the spreadsheet, or if you are measuring actual weights  of teaspoons, tablespoons, etc., plug ‘em into column D directly. If you DO use a spreadsheet, please note that you could keep a table of conversion factors from teaspoons and tablespoons to milliliters, and from pounds and ounces to grams, and use the metric standard to convert milliliters of water to grams. You could keep a table listing various ingredients and their bulk densities. That way, you could make a generalized spreadsheet that, given a list of ingredients and amounts in various units, could look all this stuff up in tables and fill in the spreadsheet properly.

That’s one of those annoying “the exercise is left up to the reader” notes that you probably encountered in academic textbooks. (Yeah, I hated it too.)

Here’s what the numbers look like:


  A B C D E
1 amount units ingredient Weight, gm percent
2 6. Lbs pork butt 2,724.0 55.22
3 4. Lbs beef chuck 1,816.0 36.81
4 2 level tsp Instacure No. 1 12.0 0.24
5 5 Tblsp un-iodized salt 90.0 1.82
6 4 Tblsp corn syrup solids 48.0 0.97
7 4 Tblsp powdered dextrose 48.0 0.97
8 6 oz Fermento 170.0 3.45
9 1-1/2 tsp garlic powder 4.2 0.09
10 2 Tbsp mustard powder 13.2 0.27
11 1 Tbsp ground coriander (see note) 6.0 0.12
12 1 tsp allspice 1.9 0.04
13 4,933.0 100.00

Given the small size of my equipment, I made a half-recipe using three pounds of pork butt and two pounds of beef chuck. It’s easy to scale the recipe if you designate one spreadsheet cell to hold a scale factor (default: 1.00) and use it to multiply all the weights. For example, instead of keying in

=A2 * 454.   In cell D2, I would use     =$A$15 * A2

Where rows 14 and 15 look like:

15 1.0 Scale factor

Interested in downloading the spreadsheet and using it, or picking it apart to see what makes it tick? Use this link to download a copy of both the Summer Sausage and the Salami d’Allessandra recipes.

You can extend them. For example, make a table of conversion factors, use “Data Validation” to restrict the choices to what’s in the table, then use the MATCH() function to get an offset into your conversion data table and the OFFSET() function to retrieve the conversion factor. Unfortunately, this approach is not for the casual spreadsheet user.

These notes show some of the specifics of my batch- –

  • I used kosher salt, and weighed it. You can’t trust a volumetric measurement, especially for salt.
  • The corn syrup solids are hygroscopic, meaning they take up water from the air. This makes them stick together. My bag was one solid piece. I used the old tried-and-true western method- – smacked it with a cast iron skillet. I then took what looked like the right volume of pieces, ground ‘em up in a blender, then weighed out the called-for amount of tablespoons of powder.
  • The cure #1, salt, corn syrup solids, and dextrose present a dispersion problem unless you dissolve them in water. I used the equivalent of 100 ml of warm water, “nuked” it in the microwave, then added it to the solids and stirred them in. The Fermento and spices went into the bowl, too. I whisked it all until nearly everything was dissolved. Then I added the cold ground meats in, mixed it all with gloved hands, and stuffed. (More about stuffing later.)

summer sausage 20151220_172224

  • The half recipe filled four half-tubes of 61 mm by 24” casing. (That made each about a foot long.) The left over mince filled a fifth tube of about 18 inches length, which turned out to fit the fermenting/curing chamber fine. However, it DIDN’T fit the smoker well. (See below.)
  • Don’t forget to number or otherwise mark each sausage, then weigh it. This “green weight” is important to know- – the starting point for the water loss estimate.
  • When the sausages were hung, they fit fine, once slid along the hanger bar and adjusted to clear the partitions built into the door. Don’t let them touch each other, as in the picture at left. Space them out on the hanger bar so as to clear each other as well as any door partition obstructions.

summer sausage 20151220_175309

  • The hanging stick support brackets which I had epoxied into place didn’t hold. I drilled them out to accept screws, then carefully drilled four holes and screwed them onto the plastic side walls of the chamber, being careful to penetrate the plastic wall thickness but little further.
  • Be sure to keep a log book. You should record green weight for each sausage, then the temperature and percent humidity just before opening the chamber to hang the sausages. Then record the time. It will take time for the chamber and its sausage contents to come back to a steady level.
  • One indication of whether or not air flow is uniform is to watch the water loss weight percentages as they decline. (My rig has a slight tendency to lose water more rapidly toward the left side.)

Preparation – Stuffing and pH Testing:

One way of stuffing the casings is to use a wide-mouth canning jar funnel and stuff by hand. This works, but results in large bubbles of trapped air which have to be removed by massaging the casing. A better way is to use a regular sausage casing stuffer with a big nozzle to squirt the mince into the casing. Air bubbles and inclusions can be minimized this way. My hand packing method caused large bubbles, which I had to squeeze repeatedly to force up the casing and out. For that reason, I cannot recommend the canning jar funnel method. Use your stuffer.

Another item which never occurred to me was to hold back some of the mince for checking pH progress during the fermentation. It would be a shame to do “destructive testing, pulling a sample off an intact sausage, especially sausages like salami which grow a healthy coat of mold. How do you do it, then?

I’ll quote Jeffrey Weiss, “Charcutería, The Soul of Spain,” p.95, Surrey Books (Agate Publishing), 2014. Weiss wrote a wonderful book about Spanish charcuterie while spending time in restaurants, bars, and on hog farms in Spain:

“For the home charcutier, I really like the method Paul Bertolli discusses in his book “Cooking by Hand.” Bertolli suggests wrapping a sample of the prepared masa [mince] in plastic wrap and holding it in the fermentation chamber alongside your other embutidos [sausages]. You’ll then use this test sausage to periodically check the pH level of all the sausages.”

Measurement of pH can be done with what used to be called “litmus strips,” which change color based on the acidity of the sample, or with more sophisticated electronic instruments. (We’ll take the inexpensive route. ) Sample preparation is simple- –   In a handy little publication called “The ODB Guide to pH Measurement in Food,” which can be found at the author notes that

FDA Dilution Amount: The FDA suggests that a sample for pH testing not be diluted with more than 16.67% deionized/distilled water; that is, a 50g sample into 10g of water, representing a 5:1 sample-to-deionized water ratio…”
“Practical Dilution Amount: Despite the FDA directive of no more than 5:1 dilution, samples can be diluted further without negative effect on the accuracy of the pH reading. We have tested dilutions up to 1:10 sample-to-deionized water ratio; that is, a 50g sample into 500g of water…”
“Recommended Slurry Ratio: That said, a 1:2 ratio of sample-to-deionized water (e.g. a 50g sample to 100g deionized water) should, in most cases, provide sufficient dilution to achieve a sample solution capable of testing with a spherical-bulb electrode.”

This produces quite a bit more sample than we need. A pH test strip need only be wet with the sample to give a reading. Holding back 25 grams total of mince should do nicely for five tests.

In Retrospect, a Warning:

A word of warning, here- –  buy your pH test strips ahead of time, from one of our sausage supply houses. Running around at the last minute, looking for test strips, is almost guaranteed to fail. I write this after the fact. Plan ahead! Buy your pH test strips early, when you buy your casing and other supplies.

At the last minute, I tried to use a pH probe that I found in the garden section at Home Depot, made by Vigoro. I checked it on water (7.0), then on lemon juice (6.1, which seems high), then stuck it into a sausage. It didn’t change. …strike one.

I sliced off about 16 grams, chopped it up, and mixed it with about 30 ml of bottled water (reverse osmosis, with 100 or so ppm of minerals added back in). I then slurried some as described above, and tried the probe again. …got a 6.7 reading, which seems way high. …strike two.

I tried to buy pH test strips at Home Depot, Lowe’s, and a local pool supply store. …wrong range. “If you swam in a pool with a pH of five, you’d be dead,” the sales guy said helpfully. I smiled, and left. Next, I tried the medical supply company who stocks my size of latex gloves. (Most pharmacies and grocery stores carry “One size fits all but me.”) They recommended a dispensing pharmacy (which is defined these days as “no toys or cosmetics”). They had some indicator strips, range 5.0 to 8.0, not highly accurate but adequate for the job. These finally worked. …but be sure to mail order yours. You’ll get something which works well. My test strips are merely adequate.

Loading the Chamber:

As I mentioned, hang the sausages so that they do not touch each other or the sides and door of the chamber (see picture above). I started at 20 degC, 68 degF. Humidity registered low, low 80’s, for 12 hours, but after that, climbed to around 87%, which indicated that (1) the sausage had come up to temperature and (2) fermentation water production was taking place. It continued high for three days. During this time, a rainy warm front came through the area and the ambient conditions rose to 62 degF and 65% relative humidity. The sausages remained at 68 degF, 88% humidity inside the chamber.

Some mold grew on the sausage casings during the three day fermentation (see below for a later note). It was wiped off easily with a paper towel soaked in vinegar. The sausages were hung at room temperature while I readied the outdoor electric smoker. This did not yet free up the equipment for use in our salami project. The curing test comes next.

Each sausage was weighed and the “green” weight noted, for later use in calculating weight loss during drying. An hour later, when the smoker temperature had stabilized just above 130 degF and the wood pellets in the Amazin’ smoke generator had had time to dry, I loaded the sausages.

Even with the shortened casings, there was not enough vertical height available to accommodate them, and I had to slide a section of the smoke distributor out of the way to hang them. This resulted in the temperature thermocouple being partially shielded from the heat, making the indication more inaccurate than it normally is, and causing the longest of the sausages to receive excess heat on the bottom quarter of its length. This may have rendered the fat in that section.

All was not lost, however. As the stack temperature went up (as measured by a food thermometer hung in the vent), I adjusted the smoker’s temperature setpoint downward- –  what’s called “hand-o-matic” control in the chemical business. Manually controlling this smoker is not good. I will need to take some corrective actions:

  • mount two to four steel rod “smoke sticks” higher in the smoker, being careful to leave enough clearance that the sausages don’t touch the walls. A few days after the summer sausage was smoked, I mounted mine one inch down from the top panel, spaced so as to allow 15 millimeters between 61-mm sausage casings. Be sure to check yours, draw it in pencil, then draw it on the smoker before drilling.
  • Lower the smoke distributor a few inches, but make sure that the smoke generator will still fit below it. I will probably install some angle iron supports. Lowering the existing meat racks seems like wasted effort. The angle iron solution allows me to use the lowest rack position again, a good capacity gain.

After  four hours of mixed hardwood smoke, I raised stack temperature to 170 degF and monitored internal meat temperature until it reached 140 degF, the temperature at which all trichinella spiralis has been destroyed. The clear sausage casings developed a mahogany color from the smoke. I showered the sausages with cold water, then allowed them to dry in the kitchen for a day at room temperature.

Wife complained that the smoke odor was offensive. I wiped out the curing chamber with vinegar, then moved the sausages back to it and set the temperature to 18 degC and removed the humidity control tray to drop the humidity to 70% or so. I used the small aquarium air pump to blow ambient air slowly into the chamber when the humidity exceeded 75%.

The humidity fluctuated in the 70% range for several days, until a warm front came through and humid weather caused it to climb into the 85% range. This turned out to be due to the water condensing on the cooling coils, as was mentioned earlier. I removed the water, then placed a plastic tray with water and rock salt in it, into the chamber to stabilize humidity at 75% or so. I installed a paper towel to guide possible condensate into the “salt marsh” tray.

It may be possible to collect the condensate with a paper towel without using salt. This should be tried later, as part of proving out a mechanical humidity control scheme which doesn’t use salt.

After several days of testing, I removed the summer sausage, weighed them again, and hung them in my “drink-o-rator” for further drying and weight loss. This freed up the equipment for use in our salami project.

Onward to Next Chapter

14 thoughts on “Project “A” 2016 (4) – Summer Sausage “Live” Test

  1. Duk said: “Traditionally,,,[sausages] were stored in cellars at moderate temperatures, but you can stash them [vacuum packed] in the refrigerator with no adverse effect. …except that they’re visible, and therefore subject to being eaten by …“others.”
    You have no idea – our daughter boards four hockey players – when I give some of our goodies she has to put them in a lockable cooler, the fridge is out of the question as the unrulies gobble anything that is in there.

    1. Sausage supplies at her house are doomed. DOOMED, I TELL YOU!

      …unless you tell her to mention that many sausages contain nitrites, and then “leak” an only slightly-edited portion of the following from Wikipedia. [“Accidentally,” of course, omit the stuff in square brackets.] Boys aged 8 to 80 who spent any time at summer camp or in the military probably remember this.

      Folklore and Popular Culture
      Potassium nitrate (saltpeter) was once thought to induce impotence, and is still [falsely] rumored to be in institutional food (such as military fare) as an anaphrodisiac[; however, there is no scientific evidence for such properties].

      Problem solved? 😀

  2. Fermented Sausage (Project “A”) Folks: Let’s move on to a live test- – making Summer Sausage. Hopefully you have finished drilling holes in the wrong places, hooking up fans so they run backward, spilling salt water into the electronics, and …(let me think: have I overlooked anything which can possibly be done wrong that I haven’t done yet?) …got those supplies on order yet?

    Great. The next exciting episode has now been posted. Let’s move on.

    Oh, yeah- – how about some feedback on your progress? (Don’t let Shuswap and me have all the fun.)

    Duk 😀

    1. Yes, it’s me again.
      Sometimes life throws you a curve ball or a lemon and in the last couple of months it threw everything at me.
      My land lord has unexpectedly decided to rescind the lease contract that I had with them and I am now desperately looking for land to relocate my lodge/restaurant/bar and private house.
      Things are not solved, but at least I managed to make some firm decissions. Fingers crossed!

      Anyway, I may or may not disappear suddenly again and then come back as suddenly. At least now you know why.

      Back to sausages:
      I have another fridge, so I can use my display fridge and I can control the temperature of the thing.
      I have a humidity controller as well, but I haven’t tried that one out yet. For the time being, I will go with water/salt or any other cheapish solution.

      Getting to the summer sausage recipe:
      There are a couple of ingredients I don’t have:
      Corn syrup solids?
      Dexrose -> I suppose I can find some grape sugar
      Fermento -> I have some F-LC and T-SPX from Chr Hansen
      pH strips -> I need to check what I can get, I suppose I can urine test strips and they should be in the right range
      Casings -> I can only get sheep and hog casing.
      And to make the list complete, I can’t get cure 2 either (not necessary for summer sausage, but maybe later on)

      Are there some good alternatives, or should I find a recipe that will fit the ingredients I have?

      I would be tempted to go for sheep casing as they should dry quicker and less chances on mould etc?

      I can cold smoke fairly OK with my CSG. It brings the temperature up by about a oC, so cold smoking is at night (we are getting into winter, with day temperatures of around 30 oC and night around 18-20 oC)
      Warm/hot smoking would be either a combination of the CSG with a hot plate, or totally manual with a little wood fire inside the smoker (no easy adjustments, so I suppose the hot plate construction will have to be the one)

  3. Dear friend Badjak,
    It sounds like you are being tested to the limit. Our sincere best wishes and hopes are with you during this trial period. We’ve known you long enough to realize you are a tough, independent, and resilient person who can bear this out and come out ahead! That proverbial “silver lining” is easy to talk about for those offering encouragement, but uncertain for those living through the situation like you’ve described. Somehow, I just know that things will turn out for the best. You’ll have to grit your teeth and bear the hardship for now, but in the long run, you’ll be better off. Best of luck pal. Our thoughts and best wishes are with you.

    Your friend,

  4. Thanks Chuck,
    Life goes on, so time to get my head around making sausages again.
    I am currently defrosting some pork shoulder, and they need to be turned into mince and sausages later this week.
    Any advice for a good recipe within this project, fitting my limitations in getting some of the ingredients?

    1. Hey Badjak, you wrote, “I am now desperately looking for land to relocate my lodge/restaurant/bar and private house”. Wow! How can you “relocate” these items? How about going to “Talk About Anything” and telling us about your lodge and restaurant. It sounds fascinating. What is your landlord trying to do? Perhaps we should “persuade” him to reconsider. I can feed my horse “Patch” several bowls of Mama Maria’s Chile, a few pickled eggs, a box of Ex-Lax, a gallon of green beer, and a few dozen prunes… just in time to visit your landlord in his living room!

  5. I waited a while to reply so that Chuckwagon could jump in. …sure is good to hear from you again. We were afraid that a wild beast got you, although come to think of it, your landlord may qualify.

    Regarding your comments:
    “I have another fridge…I have a humidity controller as well, but I haven’t tried that one out yet. For the time being, I will go with water/salt or any other cheapish solution.”
    This is good. I still use a “salt marsh” tray to control mine.

    ” Getting to the summer sausage recipe:
    There are a couple of ingredients I don’t have:
    Corn syrup solids?
    Dexrose -> I suppose I can find some grape sugar
    Fermento -> I have some F-LC and T-SPX from Chr Hansen.” Fermento is a dairy-based souring agent which contains lactic acid. It is used as a short cut, rather than using bacteria to generate it. If you use corn syrup solids or dextrose as the food for the F-LC or T-SPX, the little critters will produce lactic acid. The problem is, there’s not a one-for-one substitution. It’s best to do what Chuckwagon says- – don’t substitute..

    “pH strips -> I need to check what I can get, I suppose I can (use) urine test strips and they should be in the right range.” If they’ll detect a pH of 4.8 to 5.5 or so, they should be fine. That’s what I use.

    “Casings -> I can only get sheep and hog casing.” The recipes traditionally call for larger-diameter casing, but what’s tradition, anyway? Go ahead. They’ll dry faster than the larger diameter ones, so be sure to keep the humidity high to slow the drying process somewhat. Otherwise, you may get case hardening. …or not, if it’s slow enough. I did my Spanish-style chorizo in hog casing, 25 mm or so, and it did fine. Monitor the weight loss every few days, in case you need to pull the sausages out early. I would yank ‘em out somewhere between 35% and 40% weight loss.

    “And to make the list complete, I can’t get cure 2 either (not necessary for summer sausage, but maybe later on)”…hmmm. You kinda need this for the salami. For summer sausage or smoked sausages, though, where the fermentation lasts only a few days and drying period is short and you smoke the sausage, then refrigerate afterwards, you can get away without cure #2. …but get some when you can, so you can do the original recipes. (You’ll like ‘em.)

    “Are there some good alternatives, or should I find a recipe that will fit the ingredients I have?” Best to find a recipe that will fit your ingredients. There are a lot of them, though, once you get your hands on some cure #2.

    “I would be tempted to go for sheep casing as they should dry quicker and less chances on mould etc? “Makes sense, but you don’t want to dry out too fast, or the sausage will “case harden.” Keep the humidity high, so it won’t. Notice that we call for Mold-600 in the salami recipe. Black or green mold is bad, but the white kind brought on by mold-600 is good. Wipe the bad stuff off with a vinegar-soaked cloth if it forms. It is better to start the white penicillin variety and have it out-compete the bad stuff.

    “I can cold smoke fairly OK with my CSG. It brings the temperature up by about a oC, so cold smoking is at night (we are getting into winter, with day temperatures of around 30 oC and night around 18-20 oC)
    Warm/hot smoking would be either a combination of the CSG with a hot plate, or totally manual with a little wood fire inside the smoker (no easy adjustments, so I suppose the hot plate construction will have to be the one).” 20 degC would be an upper temperature for cold smoking. If you can cold smoke at night, you just might get away with it. I have used a 6-foot length of aluminum gutter downspout to cool the smoke, but it still rises to about 5 degC above ambient, so… good luck!

    Duk 😀

  6. Any good suggestions for a type of sausage withing my limitations and fitting this project?

    I am pondering Kabanosy, or maybe making snacksticks (as on the forum) or some form of Chorizo (but most recipes I have seen there require cure #2 or are fresh sausages and require no cure)

    I do have Jeffrey Weiss book (love it!), also Marianski’s Home production (of course), Ruhlman’s Charcuteria (nice ideas, but not my go-to book). And Paul Bartelli’s book is also in my bookcase.

    I will try to get cure #2, but that will probably only happen in September when a friend of mine comes out from the UK (by the way, cure #2 is not available in the Netherlands for home sausage makers).

  7. Kabanosy is a good bet. It’s delicious. …doesn’t require your fermentation chamber, but it’ll keep you busy until we can organize a relief effort to drop some Fermento and some Cure #2 onto wherever spot you might wind up. (…sounds like you will have earned it.) Your mention of some chorizo is good- – a semi-dried version such as Chuckwagon recommended a while back would be good, not the ones that require Cure #2. You can use my , add nitrite to give 150 ppm nitrite, and back down the salt. (Let me know if we should review nitrite calculations.)

    …hope that helps. Best regards,
    Duk 😀

  8. A Note on Humidity Control: If you have gotten this far in your Project “A” tinkering, you have probably wondered why-the-devil you can’t control humidity very well, especially in a little “dorm-room-size” refrigerator. It sure puzzled me- – every time the refrigeration switched on, relative humidity went down, instead of up. Normally, you would expect relative humidity to go up as temperature goes down, much like fog forms when night falls and the temperature drops.

    The culprit, it seems, is rapid ice formation on the refrigeration coil during the cooling cycle. When refrigerant flow stops and the coil begins to heat back up, the water melts, drips into the “swamp marsh” tray below, and again begins to vaporize and restore the relative humidity to its former value.

    How do we handle this? Well, I’ve been trying some things. First, I rigged up a small aquarium air pump to inject air through an air-stone bubbler in the salt water tray, to re-introduce saturated air quickly. This helped resume the desired 85% relative humidity quickly (it wasn’t doing very well, before). However, there wasn’t enough flow to keep the humidity high in the rest of the compartment.

    My next modification (just as soon as my pastirma finishes drying) will be to add two extra air-stones and see if I can overpower the effect.

    Failing that, I am ready to install a small aquarium water circulation pump and attempt to spray liquid onto the bottom of the refrigerant coil or, if that fails, flow liquid over the top of the coils. It will fall directly back into the salt water pan. Hopefully the water flow will supply enough heat to keep ice from forming.

    Side note: don’t drop the circulation fan into the salt water. I’m headed to town tomorrow to buy my third fan. Perhaps they offer a discount on quantities of five or more. (sigh) Oh, the trials we must endure, out here on the frontiers of science.

    Duk 😀

  9. looks like that I will jump in and try again. I was part of the original project. So over time I was able to obtain a freezer to use as a fermenter. I am also going to be using a ultrasonic humidifier from a rummage .Humidity will be controlled by a green air controller. tempature controller made by control products. a 12 volt computer fan with a voltage supply for air speed control.I am using a charcoal starter for a heat source because of the freezer size. also found a used refrigerator . Rigged it with a external tempature control, computer fan with voltage supply, and will move green air and humidifier for moisture control. I have been testing both units for the last three days.


    1. Hey Partycook, you ol’ sausage-linkin’ sourdough! I remember when you joined us on the original project. At that time you were making snack sticks for your hunting pals. Are you still doing it? I also remember how clean your sausage-kitchen was. You had a couple of fridges back then and plenty of space to work. Remind me again, what kind of sausage you were making for your hunting pals. Was it kabanosy?
      I think you got hurt and was laid up for a while after that. How are you now? Sounds like you are going full steam ahead.
      John, our very best wishes to you my friend! Keep on grindin’, mixin’, stuffin’, and smiling!

    2. …me too- – delighted to have you back. Jump right in. At the moment, we’re busy building/debugging the fermenting/curing equipment, and hopefully will try it out on a quick sumer sausage batch before jumping in with the salami d’Allessandro. We’d all appreciate your advice.

      In particular, can you guide us on humidity control? I for one am discovering that, even with a salt water tray, relative humidity wanders quite a bit.

      Best regards.
      el Ducko 😀

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