• Dry Cured Sausage

    My “group” has been making cold cure venison summer sausage for a few years. We are having serious challenges with mold, air pockets, and non-uniform shrinkage (instead of nice round shape, think violin). We use the Walton’s H Summer Sausage Seasoning and Sure Cure. We have a huge smoke house with an outdoor firebox and piped in smoke. We have accumulated all the right equipment to make the work fun. We typically make 250 pounds.

    Our process: Double grind equal amounts of pork and venison. Mix spices and cure into meat. Stuff in 2.20 inch X 16 inch fibrous casings. Hang in smoke house and immediately begin 2 days of smoking. Let hang for approximately 6 - 8 weeks.

    We have added full spectrum lights and a fan with the hopes of reducing mold but it doesn’t seem to be working.

    Any comments would be most welcome.

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User Kansas Dry Cured Sausage

    @Dry-Cured-Sausage members anyone want to help him out? I’ve never followed his process, I believe I’ve identified the main issue but first we need to know what smoking means.

    Keith Roever when you day smoke, are we talking about cold smoking or are you cooking it as well? Sure cure is nitrites which gives short term curing power but when those nitrites are gone you have nothing. If your wanting to dry cure you either need a starter culture like bactoferm or cure #2 that has nitrites and nitrates. Nitrates breakdown into nitrites over time.

    Now, I tagged the dry curing group in this because the dry curing portion isn’t my strength and we’ve got some good people on here for this. @Power-User @Regular-Contributors anyone have some good advice for our new member?

  • Power User Regular Contributors Smoker Build Expert Bowl Choppers Nebraska Veteran Team Camo

    Keith Roever

    I think we may need a bit more detail on your process.

    When you say you are making “cold cure summer sausage” can you describe how you are doing this?

    Can you tell us what temperature your smoke house is at through the smoke cycle?

    I am suspecting the smoke cycle is fairly cool to barely warm and that may be why you are experiencing the unwanted mold growth on the exterior of the casings. A hotter smoker will not be conducive to mold growth.

    The uneven fill on your casings also has me wondering a bit. By any chance are you stuffing with a filler funnel on a grinder? Or are you using an actual piston type sausage stuffer.

  • Team Blue

    Keith Roever welcome to the community is all I can say I no nothing about cure

  • Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Power User Arizona Dry Cured Sausage Dry-Cured Expert

    Keith Roever said in Newbie Needs Help:

    Hang in smoke house and immediately begin 2 days of smoking. Let hang for approximately 6 - 8 weeks.

    As others have said, need to know way more about process.
    Your 2 sentences there describe the timing for a fermented sausage, but you don’t say anything about a culture use.
    Smoking 2 days… what temperature? Must be low, or couldn’t donit 2 days. So, if no culture innoculation, you’re getting some random meat culture doing a ferment during smoking, if it is between 60 and 120f.

    Hang 6 to 8 weeks… what temperature? What humidity? Controlled, or someplace temperature and humidity fluctuate?
    like Jonathon said, you use cure1 for short-term protection. A 6 to 8 week process needs cure2 with sodium nitrATE in there.

    So anyway, need more process info. You can make summer sausage with natural ferment and uncontrolled drying, but there is a ton of random chance and bacteria touching your product, and in your end result, without good controls. Which you may have, just didn’t sayany details.

  • Dry Cured Sausage

    Jonathon Thanks for your assistance. We are using Walton’s Sure Cure which I beleive is a nitrite. We are attempting cold smoke versus heating the sausage however, it is possible that the heat is slightly elevated during the first day smoking. We really need to add a thermometer and monitor this but that won’t be possible until next batch, which will be next year.

  • Dry Cured Sausage

    processhead We are attempting cold smoke but I cannot guarantee that the temp doesn’t get slightly elevated during the smoke process. Fibrous casings are stuffed using hydraulic press. We attempt to stuff as tightly as possible without splitting casings.

  • Dry Cured Sausage

    I apologize for my clumsy responses - still learning how to navigate this site. Thanks for your patience because we seriously need help.

    We are using no culture. We purposely hang sausage during winter so as to keep temp in a range of 40 - 65 degrees. We try to manage humidity with vents and a fan. We raise temp with a space heater in a roughly 8 x 8 smoke house and use the fan on low to disperse heat more evenly in smoke house.

    Our ability to monitor and control heat and humidity is crude at best, but my suspicion is the bigger issue is our process. An old timer (defined as anyone older than me) said the reason for the deep crevices in finished product, the small amount of mold, and the open cavities is we are encasing/trapping moisture inside the sausage by applying our smoke on day one. He said we should hang for 3 days with no smoke so that the sausage can breath, then apply smoke.

  • Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Power User Arizona Dry Cured Sausage Dry-Cured Expert

    Keith Roever welcome, and thanks for the replies. I can’t say for sure what is happening, but here are some suspicions, and common issues. You may recognize one to be likely.

    1. You are making a “wild bacteria” salami. Summer sausage used to be made this way, and it is really the actual way the product is described in the authoritative books by Rytek Kutas as well as the Marianski brothers. Summer Sausage should have a good pH drop, down to below 4.8.
    2. This means your salami is fermenting by whatever bacteria finds its way into the meat, and grows. In the past, makers tried to influence the bacteria by “back slopping” some of a prior batch of meat that turned out well, into current batch. But there is a LOT of risk and unknowns this way… you really don’t know if you will get a culture going that will quickly lower pH to a safe level below 5.3, to defeat other bad meat pathogens, or not. Nor how fast it might happen.
      Many bacterial cultures that naturally grow in meat can create air pockets in sausage, off flavors, no pH drop, and allow pathogens like salmonella and listeria to grow.
      –easiest way to solve this is just buy some Bactoferm LHP or FLC from Chr. HANSEN, it is on available on Amazon freeze dried and shippable. Mix with some distilled water and add to meat before stuffing.
    3. Meat must ferment for 1 day to several days for lactic acid bacteria to consume sugars in meat and drop pH. THIS NEEDS TO BE DONE AT 95% TO 100% HUMIDITY! Also between 65f anf 110f, depending on culture used. Most folks wrap chubs in saran wrap to hold in all moisture, place in a controlled temperature space, and test the meat for correct pH drop before proceeding to dry.
      ---- As your old timer said, your issue here is drying the salami out right from the start, inhibiting correct bacteria from fermentation, making it more likely undesired cultures get a foothold. Drying salami during initial fermentation can lead to little or no pH drop, meat unprotected by low pH acidic environment, leading to air pockets in meat and spoilage.
    4. Salami needs to be dried in a controlled humidity of between 75 to 90% relative humidity. Temperature needs to be 50-55f. At start, the target is 85-90% for a few weeks to let moisture inside be able to seep its way out as fast as outside dries. This moisture drop, along with pH below 5.3, is what allows entire chub to resist pathogens and not go bad and cause sickness. Once interior has dried a few weeks, moisture can be dropped to 75-85% for further drying.
      — If you don’t dry slowly at correct relative humidity, outside dries out too fast causing case hardening, which stops interior moisture from being able to migrate through. Causing later air pockets, mushy interior, possible spoilage.
      —if you don’t dry at correct temperature, issues. Too hot, pathogens can grow. Also too fast evaporation on outside, again case hardening even at correct RH. Too cold, they won’t dry out fast enough, again allowing pathogens time to get a foothold before a safe dryness for your pH is reached. If colder temperature used, then a lower RH can be used also, like 60%, but it is not as good a combo as correct 50-55f and higher humidity. More risk.
    5. Your early cold smoking is actually a DRYING process. It was only used in northern Europe to get temps up to 50s for proper drying, during freezing temps. The smoke and smoke flavor was just a by product of having to use a smudge fire to achieve proper temps. So, it is possible to make it work… but you need to understand what’s happening, and keep temps around 70-80, and HIGH humidity, to allow a ferment. No producer would take the risk of ruining a bunch of meat, and not use a culture. The inability to accurately control temp and humidity during smoking, argues against using that during the critical 1 to 3 days ferment.
    6. Surface mold on meat in the proper humid drying environment is almost a given. Most you can just wipe off, and wipe chubbs with vinegar. However, most producers choose to spray chubbs with a safe, known, beneficial mold called mold 600, which makes that white coating, and will protect your salami from all other potentially bad mold growths. Also available from Chr Hansen.
    7. as Jonathan said, cure1 only protects for up to 30 days or so. If longer production times are used, you need to be using cure2.
    8. Walton’s summer sausage H mix. Jonathon can confirm, but I don’t believe that H seasoning is intended for fermented salami. Rather it is for heat treated cooked. It may work, but in fermented salami you need to be super careful on all the total fermentable sugars in the seasoning. That is what determines final pH of sausage, too much sugar it gets too sour, too little and meat won’t be protected by pH getting low enough. The proper amounts for Summer sausage are in the books I referenced at end.

    Hope some of that is helpful! I just typed without reference to any books. However, I recommend you purchase a book,
    Home Production of Quality Meats and Sausages by Stanley and Adam Marianski. It has all the info you need to make great salami summer sausage and identify and reduce risks.

    Also, you can download the Bactoferm Meat Manuals, vol 1 and 3, which are the “how to” guides and spec sheets for bacterial meat cultures from maker Christian Hansen. Just google and download:
    Bactoferm Meat Manual Vol 1 Chr Hansen.
    Also do vol3 for surface mold protection.

    Good luck, hope that is helpful!

  • Washington Canning Sous Vide Regular Contributors Team Camo Gardening Power User

    Dave in AZ that’s exactly what I was going to say😁! Good job…again!

  • Dry Cured Sausage

    Wow! Thanks so much. That provides the direction I needed.

  • Team Orange Masterbuilt Sous Vide Team Blue Power User

    Dave in AZ great reply sir. Again you hit it out of the park.

  • Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Power User Arizona Dry Cured Sausage Dry-Cured Expert

    Thx for the nice support 🙂 I was sitting on beach watching my kid surf, while guarding our valuables and recovering from my own surfing attempts. I had a bit of time 😉

  • Masterbuilt Canning Kamado Joes Regular Contributors Power User Sous Vide Oklahoma Team Camo

    Dave in AZ all I can say is WOW and that I’m thankful that you are so willing to share your knowledge. Thank you 😊

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

    Keith Roever
    Mold 600 bactoferm or potassium sorbate will solve your mold problem.
    Stuffing the casings tighter, better protein extraction, and additional liquid will fix the air pockets.
    The non-uniform shrinkage is most likely due to the reasons stated above.
    Welcome aboard.

  • Dry Cured Sausage

    mrobisr Thanks for thoughtful response. I’m planning on making a small batch to test the suggestions offered on this board.

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