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  1. HOMEMADE BEEF COTTO SALAMI – COOKED AND READY TO EAT So the latest sausage foray was “beef cotto salami”. Had not done this previously and it was a last minute decision while looking at the boneless chuck roast at Costco. Consequently, as you will see some innovative inventiveness was required as the sausage process progressed. Cotto salami means “cooked salami” and is not a smoke flavored product. It is cooked in a water bath. http:// http:// The Recipe First up - a recipe. Turned to one of my favorite books – "The Sausage and Jerky Makers Bible" by Eldon Cutlip. If you are into sausage put this book in your library. Its educational, instructive and has good tested recipes over a wide range of styles and type of sausages. Bingo! Cotto Salami recipe on page 224 is just what I need for a starting point. Since we like garlic add more, etc, etc. What else? Humm “stuff in high barrier sausage casing”. Poach sausage to 152 degrees internal in 170 degrees water. Done that been there on the poaching part! Let’s see here, it’s a pretty simple recipe just need a few items to add to the meat – aha, got them all in the sausage supply pantry. Oops there son, no "high barrier casing". Well, never mind we will figure out something. Beef Chuck Roast 5.83 lbs 2644.4 grams % Pickling Salt (Morton) 9.00 tsp 56.8 grams 2.15% Cardamon 1.63 tsp 3.4 grams 0.12% Ground Coriander 1.12 tsp 2.0 grams 0.07% Garlic - Granulated 2.01 tsp 7.8 grams 0.21% Cracked Black Pepper 5.25 tsp 17.5 grams 0.66% Whole Black peppercorns 5.25 tsp 19.5 grams 0.74% Corn Syrup Solids 0.32 cup 56.0 grams 2.40% Non Fat Dry Milk 1.17 cup 110.3 grams 4.17% Prague Powder #1 (pink salt) 1.17 tsp 6.6 grams 0.25% Cold Water 1.25 cup Meat is single ground on 6 mm (1/4 in) plate, ingredients well mixed together and now time to stuff… Stuff WHAT? And we need something to withstand poaching temperatures, be waterproof, be food safe in hot water, and be able to monitor the internal temperature also…. Well here is where it gets interesting. I use poaching with some of my homemade sausage quite often after bringing in from the smoker when the sausage is most already cooked and set up hence a primary reason I bought an Anova Sous Vide circulation machine was to assist in the unattended poaching temperature control as the bath needs to not exceed 170 degrees to avoid fat melt in the meat mix. So let’s see how to poach sausage with no waterproof and air tight casing available and still get a representative product. But I digress, -- after the sausage is seasoned and mixed, kt is stuffed. Then is is put to a 24 hour refrigerator rest to allow the Pink Salt and its sodium nitrite to work the magic in the meat mix as well as for the flavors to mature through the meat. We portioned the sausage batter into 1 pound lot in our chosen casing substitues. A Novel Casing & Stuffing Approach Oh, wait you ask what did we stuff it in? Son and I hit upon using Ball canning Jars. A pound of the meat mix fits nicely in a one pint wide mouth straight sided Ball jar. http:// Breaking new ground, we decided to spray the inside of the Mason jar with cooking spray as a release agent. We packed half the jars with the meat directly (son’s approach). On the others we put the meat on a piece of plastic wrap (dad’s approach) and then inserted and packed into the jar so that the plastic wrap acted as a sleeve or interior casing. I did this because I did not anticipate the shrinkage in the jars we experienced and wanted to make sure we could extract the sausage rolls. I said plastic wrap would be necessary - son said not needed – even though he also did not anticipate any shrinkage. He won this round. We both now think the cooking spray is not needed either. http:// http:// Pack the meat tightly to eliminate air voids. Seal up the jar and place in the poaching bath. Measure internal temperature on a jar (target is 152 degrees) by removing from the bath and opening to access the product. http:// Flip jars periodically to even out the interior cooking temperature profile due to varied heat transfer in the jars. http:// The bath temp was set at 155 and based on the diameter the sausage had to cook for 4 hours to get there. In a do over, since I was spot checking the internal temps I would have set the bath to 170 degrees to speed the cook. Do not exceed 170 as that will really cause fat melting in the meat. As noted, sausage did shrink back from the jar walls and did also have some liquid/fat that rendered out the sausage even cooking in a 155 degree bath. http:// Had one been using the recommended high barrier plastic casing that is air and liquid tight, it is designed to be stuffed tightly and elastically shrink with the sausage inside. And in the cooling/blooming stage the moisture would have remained in the meat. We cooled the jars in running water to drop the internal temp to below 110 degrees and let them set to bloom. Pour off any remaining liquid before refrigerating. Save the liquid. You can refrigerate and skim any fat. The remaining gelatinized broth is delicious. I removed the sausages from the jars at this point, wiped down with paper toweling and plastic wrapped/vacuum sealed. http:// http:// http:// Yes, we could have hand formed sausage logs into rolls and vacuumed sealed then poached, but I wanted a resulting Cotto Salami that was close to commercial look and feel with artisan taste. After Action Analysis -- The recipe is good. Still considering additional personal/family tweaks. In this smaller diameter salami versus a large 4 inch diameter as in the recipe, next time we will not use the whole peppercorns rather substituting an equivalent amount of cracked ones –or a mix of cracked and coarse ground black pepper. With the whole peppercorn in the smaller diameter slices it can get overpowering. A more thorough mixing to ensure peppercorn/cracked black pepper is important also. Be aware that the just cooled/bloomed sausage will not taste at all like it will after a nights rest in the fridge. So do not judge your result from the immediate gratification samples but wait until the next day for judging. BTW, the initial samples do go pretty quickly. The overnight fridge rest significantly equalizes salt and flavors throughout the sausage in this next step of maturing. In this case an almost too aromatic and salty initial flavor profile became much more subdued and mellower. The final texture also improved. The cooking method works using the jars. It’s quick and easy. Measuring internal temperature is simple. Periodically flip the jars over in the bath top to bottom to equalize the cooking. The collected liquids as well as the air space above the meat alters the heat flow profiles into the sausage by several degrees on the internal temperatures. The sausage texture is good on the interior. Some occasion air voids. The exterior is not the perfectly smooth result from the use of preferred casing which shrinks with the sausage but good enough to serve to company and not really an issue. Shrinkage means they come out the jar easily. Liquid that does not get reabsorbed means some flavor loss. There was less liquid exuded in the sausages in jar with the tight plastic wrap inner cocoon. I might do the plastic wrap cocoon again just for this reason. Bottom Line: If I had the correct casing - sure I would have used it. Would I do this jar method again? Yes. Would I do it for small batches or test batches requiring cooking to avoid getting out the stuffer – you bet. I am going to use this jar approach again just to refine the technique and to experiment. Why not? The End
  2. Smoked Beef Hot Links - Trying to Replicate a Memory Got a hankering for some smoked hot links. I really was trying to recreate the hot sausage I used to get on po-boys in New Orleans for lunch back in the late 60's at a restaurant called Mumfrey's. The original Mumfrey's on Baronne St that closed up many many years ago. It was a really really peppery hot and fully flavored sausage. Delicious. My brother and I think they were a smoked beef sausage. And that they were deep fried for the po-boys, then split and put on the bread. It was the kind of hot sausage that just exuded a delicious hot peppery sausage odor through the paper wrapping on the po-boy. That you could smell from 10 feet away and identofty it immediately. The kind that takes two 12 oz original New Orleans Barq's root beers to eat. Yumm... Here is what son and I made last week in my replication project from a recipe I created after much thought and a lot of research into various styles of a hot link. The hot paprika used was imported Spanish Chiquilin I originally bought for a Spanish chorizo. It is a really good paprika. Figured imported paprika not what was used in the Mumfrey's version but it was what I had on hand. Why not? The recipe: BEEF CHUCK ROAST 5.00 pounds 2267.5 grams Volume Weight (grams) % Kosher Salt (Diamond Brand) 7.02 tsp 21.8 grams 0.96% Ground Black Pepper 4.54 tsp 10.2 grams 0.45% Ground White Pepper 1.28 tsp 3.4 grams 0.15% Crushed Red Pepper Flakes 2.70 tsp 5.7 grams 0.25% Ground Cayenne Pepper 5.03 tsp 11.6 grams 0.51% Hot Paprika (Spanish Chiquilin) 8.38 tsp 19.3 grams 0.85% Granulated Garlic 3.61 tsp 13.2 grams 0.58% Granulated White Sugar 1.63 tsp 7.9 grams 0.35% Cure #1 (Pink Salt) 1.00 tsp 5.2 grams 0.229% Water 1.0 to 1.50 cup Links were aged for a day in the fridge. Then smoked (pecan wood) to 140 degrees internal over 5 hrs (using smoker temps from 140 to 165 degrees) and finished in a 170 degree poaching bath to 155 internal. This is a fully cooked ready to eat product. Links ready for overnight aging in the fridge Out of fridge and into my converted kitchen oven smoker. Notice the color change from the fridge aging. Some nice pecan wood smoke Tasting Notes: They do have a nice hot link kick just as they are. Good flavor. Good gently warmed, pan fried or grilled. They are going fast. Son likes them a lot. Me too. Will be lucky to have a few pounds left for the freezer. Might also consider the addition of some onion powder (probably about 0.3% by weight) in a batch. Pretty Sausage - Let's have a midnight snack Into the pan. Wonderful aroma. No french bread on hand (hey its a midnight sudden snack attack!) So we will make do with some Martin's potato bread and Hellmann's mayo of course. The Verdict They are not yet Mumfrey's hot. The overall flavor is close. My next batch will probably see the onion powder added and more of the black pepper, cayenne, and hot paprika to kick it up into the 'fire link" zone - maybe 20 to 30% more of each than what I used. Gotta think hard if they might have has some mustard powder in the original. Wonder if they had some pork in the mix?? Humm..... Anyway, I just gotta push the envelop on my taste buds almost into overload but not lose the flavor for the heat element or hide the sausage in pepper. A journey in progress. And internet searches are no help. Barely even a mention of the restaurant and nothing on their menu items for any guidance. I am close in the replication, but not there yet. A good result for a first try. And some good eating as it is in the current recipe I put together. Well, anyway it will be a fun trip and more good eating for sure along the way. And the memories will still be alive. Even after almost 50 years. Enjoy!
  3. Homemade Smoked Summer Sausage – A Test Batch This was a spur of the moment test batch of smoked summer sausage with jalapeno prepared with no casing that I put together in advance of making a larger 10-15 lb batch. Slices After Initial Cooling But Before Overnight Fridge Rest (It was probably still a too warm to slice well, but you know how it is - just gotta have that taste) The main event will be in the near future when I have time for the process using regular chuck roasts, pork butt, and fatback (or pork loin and fatback) that I have set aside in the freezer. It will get stuffed into summer sausage style/size casings. I just happened across ground angus chuck in patty form at a nice quick sale price at the store over the weekend and the light bulb went off. Grabbed what they had and a pound of ground pork and the stage was set. Since the casings were not yet ordered, this was done casingless. The Store Ground Beef & Pork Ingredients (for 3.25 lbs of meat bock) 2 1/4 lbs ground angus chuck (this was store ground) 1 lb ground pork (this was store ground) 1/4 cup cultured reduced fat buttermilk (to promote tanginess flavor factor through fermenting) 1 1/2 tsp dextrose or 1 tsp sugar (to assist the fermenting) 2 tsp non-fat dry milk (to assist the fermenting and as a binder element) Scant 3/4 tsp Cure #1 (pink salt) (scaled from 1 tsp for 5 lbs meat to this meat block would be 5/8 tsp) 1 Tbs + 1 tsp kosher salt 2 1/2 tsp whole mustard seed 1Tbs coarse ground black pepper 3 tsp garlic powder 2 tsp onion powder 2 tsp smoked paprika Pinch of ground coriander 3/4 cup seeded and fine diced jalapeno peppers (these were fairly mild in heat) The Seasoning Mix Buttermilk & Cure #1 Jalapeno Dice After mixing the meat and seasoning (I added the Cure #1 to the buttermilk) I rolled it into two logs using plastic wrap. These went in the fridge for about 36 hours to let the cure work and the buttermilk and friends develop the tang in the sausage. Logs Ready for the Smoker - I used my Q-Matz teflon coated fiberglass cooking mesh on the rack to support the sausages Close Up Before Smoking I dried the sausage (without the plastic wrap) in my electric oven smoker conversion at 120 degrees for an hour with damper fully open and then bumped the temp to 140 degrees for an hour after which I adjusted the damper to normal and raised temps to 150 and applied a mix of pecan and hickory smoke using sawdust for about 6 hours. Also added a pie pan of boiling water to up the moisture level during the smoke/cook. Bumped the temp again to 170 degrees with at least another hour of smoke. As the internal temp approached 145-150, I raised the smoker to 180 degrees (yeah this is pushing the envelope with regard to melting the fat) until the sausage internal reached a solid 155 degrees (since I was using store ground meat). The whole drying/smoking/cooking process took just over 11 hours. Since this was uncased I did not do a water bath for cooling. Instead I rinsed the sausage under hot running water and wiped it down with paper toweling. I bloomed it on a cooling rack for a couple of hours with a fan blowing across the sausage. It then rested wrapped up overnight in the fridge. Blooming the Sausge After Rinsing and Wiping Down with Paper Towel Close Up of a Finished Summer Sausage Log The overnight rest really helped the overall texture and firmness. I think the residual moisture redistributes throughout the meat. Oh Yeah - The best flavor comes out if the sausage is served at room temperature. Using the Sausage for Appetizers on the Deck Since It Finally Quit Raining Observations: · The recipe was the result of a lot of research looking for what I thought would be a good flavor profile for a summer sausage. · The basic flavor was right on target. · I thought it could have used a bit more “tang” in the sausage and should probably have more fridge time at least 2 or 3 full days and perhaps a bit more buttermilk if not using any other additives besides the buttermilk as a starter. Family thought the tanginess was just fine. · At probably only 20 % fat because I was just using the store ground meats, some additional fat and/or some larger fat pieces would have made the final product better. · Even with no casing the sausage was fine but the inch at the ends did get a little dry and was at a higher internal temp by 5 degrees or so. · Since it was not stuffed into a casing but roll compacted in plastic wrap, the cross section density was not as uniform (random mini voids) and was not as cohesive & firm but was still acceptable. · Density of the jalapeno dice was sparse. I might increase to 1/2 cup per lb. · The long slow cooking time helps the full flavor to develop. Bottom Line: Would I serve this test batch to company? - You bet! Will I use the recipe for the big batch? - You bet! Was I glad I did this test batch on the spur of the moment? - You bet! The Verdict as Prep for the Big Batch: · This recipe works for smoked summer sausage. · Good fundamental summer sausage flavor – will not really alter the ingredients list but might up the individual spice measures by a 1/2 tsp or so but not the salt. Family said it was good just as it was. · In the big batch I will use the buttermilk at a bit higher percentage and might (or might not) also use about a quarter to half normal measure of encapsulated citric acid to boost the tanginess. Son said it was good just as it was and did not taste “artificial” which is what I really want to avoid. · I will also keep about the same ratio of beef to pork meat. · Main meats will probably be ground on 3/16 – 1/4 inch plate. · I might go up to a 25% fat content with the fat trimmings and any necessary added fatback ground on a 1/2 inch plate. · Initial cure, flavor maturation and fermenting in the fridge (keeping under 40 degrees) will be for at least 2 or 2+ full days if not using any of the encapsulated citric acid. · I plan to stuff into 2 ¼ inch by 16 inch summer sausage casings and use about the same smoke profile. · If I do a jalapeno version I would increase the amount of diced pepper. · I plan to do some of the big batch with a high temperature cheese adder – either a pepper jack (jalapeno based) or a lava jack (jalapeno & habanero based) variant. Suggestions or other ideas/guidance regarding preparing smoked summer sausage are welcome.
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