Summer sausages — sometimes called dry or hard sausages — are cured meats that are fermented and dried. They will keep for a long time — summer sausage even gets its name from staying preserved during summer months or with little or no refrigeration. Give this Jalapeño-Cheddar Venison Summer Sausage recipe a go, and you'll have a new way to use ground venison.
Home Meat Curing
This venison summer sausage makes use of high-temperature cheese, which is cheese that can withstant temperatures up to 400 degrees F. With a kick of flavor from some jalapeño peppers, this recipe is one you'll want to try right away.
Jalapeño-Cheese Venison Summer Sausage Recipe
3 pounds venison
2 pounds pork
5 tablespoons Morton Tender Quick Curing Salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon marjoram
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon garlic powder (or 5 minced fresh garlic cloves, if you have them)
4 fresh jalapeño peppers
½ pound high-temperature cheddar cheese
Grind together venison and pork. Add curing salt, pepper, mustard seed, marjoram, sugar and garlic powder. Mix together thoroughly with your hands, making sure curing salt and seasonings get evenly dispersed through meat.
Hull jalapeño peppers and remove seeds, then chop into small but not fine chunks. Part of the visual appeal at the end will be in seeing the peppers and cheese in the log of summer sausage. Combine jalapeño peppers and high-temperature cheese (you might have to go to a big-box supplier for the high-temp cheese, unfortunately) with the meat. Mix thoroughly.
Stuff mixture into 2 ½ -inch mahogany collagen casings. Place in refrigerator overnight.
The following day, hang sausages on drying racks and dry at room temperature, or you can dry them in the smoker with the damper open. Leave until casings are dry. Raise temperature of smoker to between 120 and 130°F, add smoke chips (I like apple wood), and smoke for 3 to 4 hours. Raise temperature to 170°, and smoke until internal temperature reaches 165°. As sausages finish up, prepare bucket of ice water in which to immerse summer sausages.
After internal temperature has reached 165°, take sausages out of smoker and immediately immerse in ice water to cool them quickly (it takes around 5 minutes for them to cool sufficiently). This maintains their plump appearance. Once cool, place back in cooled smoker and allow sausages to bloom at room temperature (or comfortable outside temperature) for 1 to 3 hours.
Editor’s Note: Once cut into, sausages will keep longer if refrigerated. You may also freeze them, then thaw and serve as needed. If you get 20-inch casings, they will each hold about 3 pounds of summer sausage, so following this recipe you’ll either have to triple the recipe to stuff five casings, or you’ll end up with one 20-inch log and two-thirds of a second casing.
Caleb Regan and his wife, Gwen, live in rural Douglas County, Kansas, where they enjoy hunting, fishing, and raising and growing as much of their own food as they can. Caleb can’t imagine a better scenario than getting to work on a rural lifestyle magazine as a profession, and then living that same lifestyle right in the heartland of America. Connect with him on Google+.