• Yearling

    Made some summer sausage this past weekend. I’ve done it many times. But this time I fatted out. I have been toying with finishing up Sous-vide (I hate the term), with pretty good results, until this weekend.
    I started the sausage in the smoker at 100° for an hour, 120° for an hour, ,140° for an hour with smoke, then 170° with smoke for about 2 hours until the internal meet temps were 130-140. The sausage then went to a 170° water bath via a Sous-vide heater in a makeshift cooler until meat was at 160°. I had a fair amount of fat floating on the water and a couple of the sausages had some fat between the casing and meat. What did I do wrong?


  • peterb How long did you mix for? Was the meat sticky and tacky when you started stuffing?

  • Team Orange Power User Canning Masterbuilt Veteran

    Everything sounds like you did the smoke schedule right, only thing I can think of is lack of protein extraction.

  • Cast Iron Canning Green Mountain Grill Team Orange Masterbuilt Power User Military Veterans Regular Contributors Yearling

    peterb I had this happen with kielbasa. When I reviewed my process and my notes, I knew I didn’t have proper protein extraction because of too short of a mixing time. How this helps.

  • Power User PK100 Regular Contributors Team Grey

    peterb I would say either lack of protein extraction or temp schedule a bit rushed in my opinion. Particularly where you jumped from 140* to 170*. I would go to 155* at the most instead of the 170* temp. My preferred schedule is
    110* 1 hour
    125* 2 hours
    140* 1 hour
    155* 2 hours
    170* until IT is 157*~160*
    I don’t do Sous vide for my sausage but you get the idea.

  • Yearling

    Thanks everyone for your reply’s. Protein extraction I am confident was quite good. Been at this making all kinds of both fresh and cured meats for more than 10 years. haven’t experienced this until now. It was super tacky like usual for my cured products (mixed a solid 5+ minutes per batch in my 20lb mixer. Sat in the fridge overnight. It all looks fine and tastes quite good as well. One thing I have done that last few times with summer sausage is to double grind the lean (deer in this case) and single grind the pork shoulder. I want the visible fat pieces, don’t want it to look like bologna. Anyway, I was wondering if I that might be an issue. Also, I have only finished off via Sous-vide a few times. Thought maybe the Sous-vide temp should be lower at start and creep up???

  • Team Orange

    I suspect you went to high on the sous vide. I normally do the drying, smoking, and thermal processing up to the 140 point. At that point, I pull, cut them and vac seal. I then put them in the bath for 4-6 hours at 141. That is high enough to pasteurize while not getting fat out.

    The up side is that you know there are no pathogens alive in the bag, the down side is the sticks are slightly damp when they come out of the bag. I usually roll them on a paper towel.

  • Regular Contributors Team Grey Sous Vide Canning Dry Cured Sausage Masterbuilt Power User Meat Hack Winner Veteran

    For sausage I never go higher than 155F in sous vide

  • Team Blue Cast Iron Sous Vide Canning Dry Cured Sausage Masterbuilt Military Veterans Power User Regular Contributors

    peterb i do my summer sausage almost exactly like you described and haven’t had any problems, so I don’t believe it to be the grind or temp of water problem. With your description it sure sounds like a protein extraction and/or binding issue.

  • Team Blue Cast Iron Sous Vide Canning Dry Cured Sausage Masterbuilt Military Veterans Power User Regular Contributors

    A whole host of sausage problems seem to originate with mixing falling just a little short and most advice says not to over mix, but over mixing never causes the griefs that under mixing seems to. My advice is to mix until you think it is good enough then go just a little longer to be sure and pack the stuffer tight just in case of mix induced air and pri#k the sausage.

  • Yearling

    Thanks all for your posts and suggestions. Everyone who makes sausage, or other meat products, expect nothing but professional quality, and I am no different. Sounds like the general concensus is that protein extraction may not have been up to par, with a couple of folks offering that they think my Sous-vide temp was too high, or started out to high. I will put all the suggestions to play on my next cured meat project. I will add one more tidbit. A few of you have suggested adding a binder. Dum-a*s me, forgot that I have vacuum packed binder in the freezer and didn’t add it. I have been mostly making fresh bratts of late and really do love them, but simply forgot to add it to my summer sausage. Anyway, thanks everyone for attempting to help me rise up to the level of Abe Froman.

  • Sous Vide Dry Cured Sausage Traeger Team Blue

    Protein extraction is one thing but my suggestion would be to look at the temperature of your meat during the grind. Smeared fat can lead to fat out also

  • Yearling

    Yes, everything was cold. Most of the deer meat was partially frozen as I had precut the pieces before freezin, and the pork while not frozen was cold with some of it approaching solid (1/2 hour in the freezer after cutting it in strips that my grinder can tear through). Didn’t see any schmere of the fat. As I mentioned, I only coarse grind my pork for summer sausage so that I get small pieces of fat in the final product. I like it to have a typical salami look rather than looking like a homogeneous mass like bologna. Something else I will watch for as well, but I do understand the need for it all to be cold.

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