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.
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