Before diving into how to cure sausage for smoking, there are few things that might give you more insight about the curing process.
I have discussed here about things to know before curing sausages,different casings, different salts , steps to cure etc. in detail.
I have tried to put as much as information to help you. Hope it helps..
Let’s dive in.
- #1 Things to Know before Curing Sausages
- 1.1 Sausage Casings
- 1.2 Types of Sausage Casings
- 1.3 Types of Cured Sausage
- 1.4) Curing Salts
- 1.5) Which curing salt is best/What is the best salt for curing meat?
- 1.6) Can you use table salt for curing?
- 1.7) Can you make sausage without nitrates?
- 1.8) What are curing salts?
- 1.9) How much salt should I use?
- #2 How to cure sausage for smoking?
Recommended Reading : How to smoke a turkey in an electric smoker ?
#1 Things to Know before Curing Sausages
1.1 Sausage Casings
Once you prepare the sausage mix , you will need to put the mix in a case . These cases are known as Sausage Casings.
Sausage cases are not all the same . It is very important to know which casing to be used for your purpose.
1.2 Types of Sausage Casings
a) Natural :
Natural casings are made from a layer of farm animal intestine. These types of sausages are very rich in flavours.
b) Man Made :
This type of casings are made from man made materials like synthetic collagen , plastic or cellulose.
Some of these casings are not edible . But they are pretty easy to handle and prepare.
Further Collagen casings can be of different types:
These are used for fresh sausages like bratwurst and breakfast sausage links.
However these are not preferred for hangin in the smoke house.
This is because the casing is tender and not suitable for handling.
– Smoked or processed
c) Other types:
Based on different regions and climate people have come up with multiple versions of their casings for Sausage .For Example they may use plastic wrappers, different foil types etc. Usually these casings are best suited for homes.
To know more about the types of sausage casings, I recommend reading this informative article by spruce eats .
1.3 Types of Cured Sausage
a) Fresh sausages :
By the name itself it tells that these sausages are prepared fresh .
Because of perishable nature these types of sausages required fast production and distribution .
Usually the meats used for these types of sausages are pork, beef , veal etc.
b) Cooked sausages :
These types of sausages are made by mincing the meats , cooking the minced meat . Then it is stuffed into casings.
The meats used for this type of sausages are beef, veal, ham, tongue, and pork .
Occasionally a binder is also used.
Binder agents here use items such as bread, rusk , flour , rice, potato flour etc.
c) Dry sausages :
Dry sausages mostly use pork . It is an important part of it. Dry curing is done only after pickling . It is then smoked.
d) Frankfurt sausage :
These sausages are thin parboiled, made of pure pork .
Parboiled here refers to the partial boiling.
Frankfurt Sausage gives a juicy bite and incredible texture.
The casing used for these sausages is the sheep’s intestine.
These are perfect for grilling and smoking.
e) Chipolata sausages :
This is a type of fresh sausages . Chipolata Sausages are believed to have originated from france.
Salami sausages are smoked and served as slices in medium sizes .
It is cured and consists of fermented and air-dried meat.
Most of the time pork is being used to make this type of sausage.
This is a U shaped smoked sausage. The meat used are of all kinds.
It closely resembles the Wiejska sausage .
Most of the time pork is used for Kielbasa sausages.
Unlike the normal sausages , Andouille sausages are more chunky. This is due to the chopped pork being used.
This originates from france.
Bratwurst sausages are salty and mild. This has more of a gingery flavour.
These sausages are mainly seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, fennel seed, and anise seed.
We can have two varieties of it , Hot and Sweet.
Mostly Pork is used to prepare these sausages.
These types of sausages are highly seasoned and chopped .
Pork and beef are mostly used for these sausages.
The taste is smokey , spicy and has a deep aroma.
1.4) Curing Salts
a) Sodium Nitrate
Basically this is a chemical used to protect the sausage from bacteria.
Using this can increase the life of the sausage.
Also it has its own deep taste that adds up to the taste and color of the smoked sausage.
Nitrates are used only in the preparation of the cured dry style of sausages.
Over a period of time the nitrates are converted into nitrites by endogenous or added bacteria.
b) Sodium Nitrites
It retards the growth of botulism spores. This is a special kind of bacteria which are responsible for food poisoning.
Previously sodium nitrate uses were more . However after the entry of nitrites , it has taken over the nitrates.
Since nitrates take a turn after sometime to become nitrites. However with nitrites you can easily skip the stage and prevent the bacteria from harming.
However the choice between using nitrates vs nitrites are still controversial.
c) Pink Curing Salt
Pink curing salt is a special type of salt which is used for giving a pinkish color to the sausage. This substance also prolongs the life of the sausage.
This salt is a mixture of sodium chloride (table salt) and sodium nitrite.
1.5) Which curing salt is best/What is the best salt for curing meat?
Nitrate is best for curing sausages for smoking and are widely used . Know more about the difference between sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate. They are not SAME.
1.6) Can you use table salt for curing?
No . Table salt does not contain sodium nitrate . Which is why it can be harmful and can cause food poisoning . Since sodium nitrate helps to preserve the sausage from bacteria while smoking.
1.7) Can you make sausage without nitrates?
Yes you can use Sodium Nitrite , Pink curing salts to prepare the sausages.
1.8) What are curing salts?
These are simply salts with the power of table salts and sodium nitrite. Sodium nitrite has the ability to retard the growth of a special; bacteria called botulism.
This bacteria can cause food poisoning.
1.9) How much salt should I use?
You should be using around 1.5 to 2 % of salt in your sausages. Anything beyond this will be more. .
#2 How to cure sausage for smoking?
2.1) What are the items required for curing sausage?
- 20 or 40 pound meat mixer gonna help seasoning, cure ,additives, and water with the meat.
- Grinder pro or Butcher series from westin 12 22 or 32
2.2) Steps to cure sausages
To make Smoked sausages, we need to season, ground and apply low heat in a smoker. The steps to cure the sausages are given below.
- Get ready with :
- casings, ingredients, mixer, and knives.
- Mixing the sausage:
- Cut the meat into small strips.
- Grind the small stripes of meat twice.
- Season the mixture with the ingredients in the mixture or with the hand.
- Put the mixed stuffed into the stuffer or to the pot.
- Load the casing now.
- Keep the product overnight in the refrigerator for curing. If the meat size is big enough, keep it for about 72 hrs.
- Now take the sausage from the refrigerator and hang it in the smoker .
- Set the temperature of 125F for 30 minutes and keep on increasing the temperature at the rate of 20 F at each interval of 30 minutes till the temperature reaches 175F.
- Now let the temperature of the smoker cool down to 160F. Take out the sausage and transfer it to an ice bath to lower the temperature.
- Now after that keep it at room temperature for about an hour.
- After an hour , It is ready to be packed. Make sured the bag is free from the moisture.
- You can also use a machine to do the packing for you.
There are different ways of curing based on culture and locations . However the basics are always common. If you liked our take on how to cure a sausage for smoking , be sure to give us your valuable feedback.