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Posted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 03:45
by grasshopper
The waterborne American Coot is one good reminder that not everything that floats is a duck. A close look at a coot-that small head, those scrawny legs and crows beak-reveals a different kind of bird entirely. My Son calls them food for eagles. Never seen an old one though. I will be glad to be smoking again after this LAST storm Friday, 12 inches expected. Ice on the lake is still 18-20 inches and won't be out till May. I will shut up now.

Posted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 06:38
by sawhorseray
" Once you start down the path of resourcefulness, you are hooked, and one thing leads to another."

Cabo, you are like a living legend to me! I'd love to bring a hog or two home for a short stay, feed it and then do what needed to be done. My wife has always been fine with my killing wild pigs and deer. If something was in my yard for more than a few hours it would have a name and be on the The Endangered Species list as long as the Boo liked living with it. We looked at a couple of lambs a few years back but once I realized things weren't going to work out for me I said to hell with it. RAY

Posted: Sun May 18, 2014 11:44
by Chuckwagon
Say there pards! It`s about time to continue with our Project B. We took a little vacation in the middle to readjust our pocketbooks and eat our creations. The closing date for registration and the starting day of this project was Wednesday, October 9th, 2013. At that time we limited the dialogue in Project B2 to only those who registered. In order to avoid criticism or comments from those not participating, the continued dialogue will be reserved to members of this project (B2) only. Of course, we invite beginners and all others to follow along with us and try the projects as we progress. This fall, we will again offer this learning exercise (Project B) again for new registrants.
I don`t know about you, but I`d like to bite into some terrific "semi-dry cured" sausage... you know... the kind you cure and cook, but further dry to bring the Aw under 0.86. Our plans were to make 5 lbs. (2.27 kg.) of semi-dry-cured Chorizo by El Ducko (See this link: . How about it? Anyone interested? This is the kind of sausage you toss into your saddlebags and carve up with your pocket knife all afternoon long. Please let me have some of your recommendations and concerns. This is YOUR project.

Associates taking part in the project.

1. ssorllih
2. El DuckO
3. Sambal Badjak
4. AJWillsnet
5. Grasshopper
6. Tasplas
7. Redzed
8. Crusty44
9. Hamn'Cheese
10. DDWaterdog
11. SAR
12. M.D.Flan
13. Shuswap
14. MRMatuszek
15. Sawhorseray
16. Ursula
17. Markjass
18. two_MN_kids
19. Cabonaia
20. Pignout
21. TruckTramp
22. Doug
23. Ottothecow
24. mweipert
25. TSmodie
26. Gulyas
27. Davezac
28. Blackriver
29. Krakowska

Best Wishes,

Posted: Sun May 18, 2014 12:31
by sambal badjak
I would love to make some chorizo as I just love the stuff.
By the way, I really enjoyed making the kabanosy in this project :)

CW, can you elaborate a bit on what we would need so I can start sourcing?
Mainly: are we still dealing with cure #1 or do we need cure #2?
And how about starters or things like bactoferm etc?

As you know I am limited in what I can get and also in the temperatures I can achieve (esp wiith regards to cold temperatures)

Posted: Sun May 18, 2014 13:49
by Shuswap
We are heading home after six weeks on the road to visit our son in TX and had a delightful day with Duk and his better half seeing the Hill Country and enjoying some excellent brisket. Now to spend the next six weeks catching up on overdue projects before being allowed into the sausage shop. I'll try paying attention tough.

Posted: Sun May 18, 2014 16:21
by Cabonaia
Yes - count me in!


Posted: Mon May 19, 2014 00:50
by Carpster
Hey CW, is it too late to sign me up? If not then please sign me up.

Posted: Mon May 19, 2014 15:22
by sawhorseray
My partner and I are booked for a hog hunt and I should be butchering a wild pig in my driveway in exactly two weeks from right now. I'll be all over this a day or two after the hams are brining and my freezer is stuffed with meat ready for the grinder. RAY

Posted: Mon May 19, 2014 21:13
by Chuckwagon
Hey CW, is it too late to sign me up? If not then please sign me up.
Hey Carpster, of course you can follow along with us. That's why the project is here. However, by not registering up front, you can't make comments about other folk's (who have registered) projects. Any critical remarks may be removed. Glad to see you are interested. Come along and participate ol' friend! :wink:

Best Wishes,

Posted: Mon May 19, 2014 21:22
by Chuckwagon
Has anyone seen that danged rabid Duck? We'd better ask him if he'd guide us through through the process of making his famous (or infamous) coriaceous chorizo. I understand that at one point, the military was considering using his recipe as virulent, pernicious, nocuous, and pestiferous projectiles shot from cannons! :roll:

Posted: Mon May 19, 2014 21:27
by el Ducko
Everybody sing along on a chorus of "Back in the Saddle Again." (...or not- - some of you know who you are!) It'll be good to try some more types of sausage, learn some more techniques (or quit using some of those nasty old ones), and have some more lively discussion.

...just in time! My order of stuff to make "Sunrise" Summer Sausage just arrived the other day. I may sneak ahead a little, but will definitely be ready for the semi-dry chorizo. Yum!

Hey, Shuswap! ...wish I could have talked you two into a Mexican breakfast while you were here. (...sure was fun.) Next year, maybe? , er... uh... make that "eh?"


Posted: Mon May 19, 2014 22:35
by Chuckwagon
Understanding The "Semi-Dry Cured" Sausage

If we chop or mince fresh meat and then develop the proteins by mixing the "comminuted" mixture, a sticky mass will develop and the "fresh" sausage particles will adhere one to another. The exposed surface area of meat has increased exponentially with the mincing process and the sausage becomes a concern for rapid bacterial development at this point. The sausage must be consumed within three days or frozen for later use. Freezing places the bacteria into "suspended mode".

If we add the proper amount of Cure #1 with sodium nitrite to the recipe, we come up with a mixture that may be cooked and smoked. This is our second type of sausage called, "cured-cooked-smoked" sausage and our favorites seem to be brats. Without Cure #1, the development of obligate anaerobic pathogenic bacteria would increase as oxygen is cut off by casing the meat and by smoke taking the place of oxygen. Moreover, in the temperature "danger zone" and having nutrient sugars to feed on, certain pathogenic bacteria thrive in this type sausage without the addition of Cure #1.

As we add sodium nitrite, the sausage becomes safe. Being cooked and smoked simultaneously, the results are delicious. Still, the sausage is perishable. Could we make this sausage a little less perishable and convenient for snacks? Could we "air-dry" a cooked sausage? Of course we can... by drying it further to inhibit pathogenic bacteria (producing an entirely different texture) and allowing the fermentation process to add an acidic "tang" to the sausage for even more protection. This procedure is so easy that even that dad-gummed rabid Duk could do it! :roll: This is the "semi-dry cured" sausage - with a flavor profile of all its own. Note that is has been cooked and that it has been cured with Cure #1. Clearly, it differs from a fully "dry-cured" product which has not been cooked and has been treated with Cure #2 rather than Cure #1 initially.

Understanding The Process

If you`d like to get a feel for the process right now, why not whip up a little bit of everyone`s favorite, "Semi-Dry-Cured Pepperoni". Here`s a link for two types of "semi-dry cured" pepperoni, one made with Bactoferm FLC culture, and the other made with "Fermento". Be sure to check out the photos below the post. Here`s a link:

If you decide to make a batch of Powder Keg Pepperoni, here is a handy copy of the recipe:

"Powder Keg Pepperoni"
Type #1. Semi-Dry Pepperoni (fast fermented sausage using Bactoferm™ FLC)

7.0 lbs. pork butt
3.0 lbs. lean beef
105.00 g. salt
11.00 g. cure #1
118.30 g. ice water
45.50 g. powdered dextrose
150.00 g. soy protein concentrate
45.50 g. sugar
15.00 g. black pepper (coarse)
30.00 g. Hungarian paprika
14.50 g. fennel seeds
9.0 g. cayenne pepper (or 14 gr. for very hot!)
1.14 g. Bactoferm™ FLC culture

Place the grinder knife and plate into the freezer while you separate the fat from the lean meat using a sharp knife. Cut the meat into 1" cubes to keep long strands of sinew from wrapping around the auger behind the plate as the meat is ground. Grind the meat using a 3/8" plate then use a sharp knife to hand-dice the fat into the size cubes of your choice or grind it through a 3/16" plate. Place the fat into the freezer while you mix the Cure #1 with a little water (for uniform distribution) and add it to the meat. Work with small batches, refrigerating the meat at every opportunity. Next, mix the meat with all the remaining ingredients (except the frozen fat), kneading the mixture to develop the proteins myosin and actin, creating a "sticky meat paste" (primary bind). Finally, fold in the frozen fat and distribute it equally throughout the mixture. The sausage should be immediately stuffed into casings to avoid smearing (while the fat remains semi-frozen), using 1-1/2" (38mm) synthetic fibrous casings or beef middles up to 60 mm. Next, choose one of the following options:

(a.) Hang them in a fermenting chamber at 100° F. (38° C.) in 90% humidity for 24 hours,


(b.) "Warm smoke" them at only 110° F. (43°C.) for eight hours in 70% humidity. (You may have to use a pan of water on a warm hotplate in your smoke house). Traditionally, this type of pepperoni is not smoked. However, if you like the taste of smoked pepperoni, now is the time to use your favorite type of woodsmoke.

Raise the smokehouse temperature to 160°F. (71°C.), then gradually, only a couple of degrees at twenty minute intervals, raise the smokehouse temperature until the internal meat temperature (IMT) registers 145°F. (63°C.). This procedure must be done slowly to avoid breaking the collagen. Remove the sausages, showering them with cold water until the IMT drops to less than 90°F. (32°C.). This semi-dry-cured sausage remains perishable and must be refrigerated. Do not enclose them in a jar or plastic. Paper sacks are ideal for storing this type pepperoni.

Best Wishes,

Posted: Wed May 21, 2014 06:35
by sambal badjak
Are there any alternatives for bactoferm and fermento?
I am on a quest to find them and will contact freddy hirsch in south africa as well, but just want to know if they are absolutely necessary

Posted: Wed May 21, 2014 09:04
by Chuckwagon
Sambal Badjak wrote:
CW, can you elaborate a bit on what we would need so I can start sourcing?
Mainly: are we still dealing with cure #1 or do we need cure #2?
And how about starters or things like bactoferm etc?
Ms. Badjak mam... I wasn't ignoring your request... honest! :roll: I'm trying to figure out a way to get some Bactoferm to you down in the lower Zambezi, in Zambia. Wow! That is a tough one. Forget the "fermento" and concentrate on finding Cure #1 with sodium nitrite and one of the quicker Bactoferm™ cultures. The one we will suggest using for the project is Bactoferm LHP (With Pediococcus Acidilactici And Pediococcus Pentosaceus)
This particular culture is for extra fast acidification where a pronounced sour flavor is desired. It is also very quick! Bactoferm LHP culture induces the pH to drop to under 5.3 in 30 hours or under 5.0 in 2 days! LHP is ideal for thin products similar to pepperoni or sausages less than 1" in diameter or any extra-fast culture targeted for fermentation temperatures 90°F-105°F. where both pediococcus pentosaceus (optimal growth at 95°F.) and pediococcus acidilactici (optimal growth at 104°F.), do very well. Powdered dextrose is recommended as the nutrient for growth (not table sugar).

Typically, LHP is used in products requiring less than 2 weeks to completely develop, including drying. Note: Use Cure #1 with this culture. *Bactoferm L-HP is so fast, it requires a nitrite cure instead of a nitrate/nitrite cure. It works in far less time than it would take for nitrate (in Cure #2) to break down into nitrite for curing the meat.

Here's how we'll use it: For every 10 lbs. of meat, we'll dilute 1/2 teaspoon LHP culture in 1/2 cup distilled water (or chlorine-free tap water). We will allow the mixture to sit for 15-20 minutes while the bacteria "wake-up". (Use the time to mix the seasonings, spices, and cure into the minced meat, developing the proteins of the actomyocin). Finally, we'll pour the solution over the mixed meat and distribute it thoroughly, being sure the meat stays cold throughout the entire mixing process. Remember to be sure to use Cure #1 with this culture. It's simply too fast for the breakdown of Cure #2.

You will probably wish to order some soy protein concentrate if you can get it. If not, you may wish to use a little powdered non-fat dry milk. It really helps the texture of pepperoni.

Sambal, I hope you are able to locate the materials you need. If you can get Bactoferm, keep any remaining culture sealed and frozen. The shelf- life of frozen cultures is 6 months. Use it to make other favorite products. Unfrozen, cultures will last only a couple of weeks.

How is the mail service there? Shucks mam, I'd saddle up Ol' Sparky and bring you down a few pounds of the stuff in my saddlebags, but ol' Spark is afraid of sharks and he's not much of a swimmer! :roll:

Best Wishes,

Posted: Wed May 21, 2014 10:00
by Chuckwagon
Okay kids! Let's press on a little. First thing we should do is review a bit and make sure we understand the process of each type of sausage we are making.

Preliminary Notes For: SAUSAGE TYPE 2
"Cured - Cooked - Smoked Sausage"

"Cured - Cooked - Smoked Sausage" contains sodium nitrite (NaNO2) (Cure #1) to destroy clostridium botulinum and listeria myocytogenes while being fully cooked (and simultaneously smoked), to destroy any possible spiralis trichinella. Only Prague Powder #1 is used making this type sausage. The cooking-smoking process involves no more than a few hours time with little special equipment. However, it is important to bear in mind, if you have drippings all over the floor of your smokehouse, you are cooking the sausage too quickly with too much heat. Worse, the sausage`s texture will resemble and taste like crumbly sawdust. You must cook sausage slowly, gradually increasing the heat - only a few degrees every half hour or so - until the specified internal meat temperature is reached. All "smoked-cooked-cured" products are perishable and must be refrigerated.

Unlike fresh sausage that crumbles and shrinks during prolonged cooking, smoked-cooked-cured sausage usually contains a binder of soy protein or non-fat dry milk in amounts of 3-1/2 % or less, causing sausage to maintain its volume, bind the fibers together, and retain juices while being fully cooked. Soy protein may be purchased from any sausage supply company and "dairy-fine" powdered milk from a large dairy. Milk powder at your local supermarket is not the correct consistency for use in sausage making, although a few of our member have pulverized it into powder in a food processor.

Sodium Nitrates And Sodium Nitrites

During the mid 1970`s, I became interested in a congressional hearing that took place to define safe limits on the amount of nitrates and nitrites introduced into our meat products. It was determined by a panel of doctors that the maximum limit of ingoing nitrite in immersed, pumped, or massaged products be set at 200 parts per million. To obtain this, it becomes necessary to add precisely 4.2 ounces (120 grams) to one U.S. gallon of water.

In the case of comminuted sausages, the maximum allowed limit of sodium nitrite was determined to be 156 parts per million. In non-cooked, dry-cured (air-dried) fermented sausages, the limit was set at 625 parts per million. At the end of the hearings, it was determined that much more study should be done regarding the subject and it was decided that the panel would reconvene to study the issue further and again make recommendations. After 37 years of waiting, we see that there yet remains a wide controversy regarding "safe" and "effective" levels. However, after the hearings, Dr. C. L. Griffith developed the first practical and safe method of dispersing precisely the correct amount of sodium nitrite into sausage made my home hobbyists.
We have used his calculations and "pink salt" since the mid 1970`s.

Griffith Laboratories And Prague Powder Cure #1

In the United States, the only persons with access to pure sodium nitrite are commercial professionals who cure meat for a living. They basically use the formula above, but substitute pure sodium nitrite in their own formulas in place of the hobbyist`s "Cure #1" which is mixed with salt. By equally dispersing nitrate into salt via a roller "drum", Griffith Laboratories developed "Prague Powder Cure #1" containing 6.25% sodium nitrite and 93.75% sodium chloride. Because many nations around the globe (including the United States) yet do not use the metric system, I`ve found that many people are confused when it comes time to put a specific number of grams into a curing mixture. Let`s see if we can eliminate some of the confusion by posting a few mathematical equations:

1 ounce of Cure #1 = 6 level teaspoons (2 tablespoons).
One ounce of cure weighs 28.35 grams.

4 ounces of Cure #1 will cure 100 lbs. of sausage.
Four ounces of cure weigh 113.4 grams.

1 ounce of Cure #1 (2 tablespoons) will cure 25 lbs. of sausage.

1/2 ounce of Cure #1 will cure 12 lbs. of sausage. This means less than 1/2 ounce will cure ten pounds of sausage.

4.8 ounces of Cure #1 (in the formula above) is equal to 136 grams and will cure 100 lbs. of meat.

In other words, use 2 level teaspoons of Cure #1 (Prague Powder) to cure 10 lbs. of meat.

(Optional Reading)... for the mathematically inclined. :roll:
Calculating Legal Amounts Of Sodium Nitrates And Sodium Nitrites

Is it possible to calculate the amounts needed in your own projects? Sure it is. If you are one of those folks who like to see the "proof in the puddin`, then you may wish to study this next section on how to calculate the legal amounts of sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite yourself.

Solving For "n" (nitrite in curing mixture) In Comminuted Sausage:

To calculate formulas regarding cures, it is necessary to convert the weight of all components to a common unit such as pounds, ounces, kilograms, grams etc. Let`s look at comminuted sausage first and solve the question, "If I grind and prepare 100 lbs. of sausage meat, how much cure #1 do I need to add to the mixture?" The formula solving for "parts per million" equals the curing mixture (unknown), times the percentage of sodium nitrite in the cure, times one million (parts), divided by the weight of the meat. Mathematically written, it looks like this:

Parts per million = Curing mixture X % sodium nitrite in the cure X 1,000,000 (one million) ÷ Weight of meat

Cure #1 contains 6.25% sodium nitrite. It is written as: 0.0625
Maximum allowed parts per million sodium nitrite in comminuted products is 156 ppm.

Solve for:
Amount of Cure #1 (unknown represented by "n" for "nitrite")

The formula is written: 156 = n X 0.0625 X 1,000,000 ÷ 100
Enter these figures into your calculator:
n (nitrite)=156 X 100(lbs) ÷ 0.0625 X 1,000,000
The answer is: n=0.2496 lbs. of Cure #1.
0.2496 lbs. = equals 3.99 ounces or (113 grams)
113 grams of Cure #1 is needed to cure 100 lbs. of meat.

FOR YOUR FUTURE REFERENCE - Solving For "n" (nitrite in curing mixture) In Brine-Cured Products

Now consider brine curing mixture. It`s easy to substitute 200 for 156 in the formula for parts per million, but we must remember that in comminuted sausage, the nitrite remains inside the sausage - becoming nitric oxide having been reduced by staphylococcus and micrococcus bacteria. In a brine-cured meat product, a specific amount of nitrite is taken up or "picked up" then the remainder is flushed straight down the drain. There are too many variables in the process, including duration time in proportion to strength, to make precise conclusions or even construct any number of graphs or tables to accurately predict outcome. As Stan Marianski says, "A meat piece can be immersed in brine for a day, a week, or a month, and a different amount of sodium nitrite will penetrate the meat. Brines with different salt concentrations will exhibit different speeds of salt and nitrite penetration." - (Home Production of Quality Meats and Sausages by Stan Marianski - Bookmagic).

How is consistency ensured? Commercial meat processors employ an injection process that eliminates conjecture insufficient to ensure reliability. Modern processors, using a "gang" of needles, stitch-pump a precisely measured amount of a defined and particular strength wet cure based upon a ten-percent pickup.

So, if you have a ten pound ham, you needs to inject it with one pound of brine. To calculate the amount of Cure #1 in this case (placing it into a brine), we need to know the weight of a gallon of water. The formula reads, "Parts per million equal the curing mixture "n" (nitrite in curing mixture), times the % of sodium nitrite in the cure, times the pump percentage, times one million, divided by the brine weight". Mathematically written, it looks like this:

PPM = Curing mixture X the % sodium nitrite in the cure X pumped %, X 1,000,000 ÷ Brine Weight

Cure #1 contains 6.25% sodium nitrite. It is written as: 0.0625
Maximum allowed parts per million sodium nitrite in brined products is 200ppm.
Hams should be pumped at 12% using Cure #1. Several whole muscle meats require only
10% pumped curing brine.

Solve for:
Amount of Cure #1 (unknown represented by "n" for "nitrite")

Note that this time we are factoring in the pumped percentage required by the particular meat (i.e. 12% for hams). We are also dealing with the weight of the brine rather than the weight of the meat. A gallon (U.S.) of water weighs 8.33 lbs. If that water is saturated (100°), it contains 2.64 lbs. of salt. This is the point where no more salt may be dissolved in the water and the total weight of the gallon of water becomes 10.03 lbs. Because we do not use saturated brine (100°), the weight of brines will vary according to how much salt is contained in them. A very popular brine is that of 40°SAL strength. However, reducing the strength (from 100° to 40°) drops the weight of a gallon to 9.5 lbs.

So, the "curing mixture" = parts per million, X brine weight, ÷ % pump, X 0.0625 (sodium nitrate in the cure) X 1,000,000 (one million). Written, it becomes:

"n" = 200 (parts per million) X 950 (brine weight) ÷ 0.12 (percent pump) X 0.0625 X 1,000,000.

Test yourself now. Let`s say you decide to mix up a hundred gallons of brine to "cure the herd on the spot", pumping not hams this time at 12%, rather beef chucks at only 10%! How much Cure #1 will be needed to add to the water to make a curing brine? Grab your calculators and solve for "n" (nitrate) using the formula above.

n = 200 X 9.5 ÷ 0.10 X 0.0625 X 1,000,000

Check you math here: 200 X 9.5 = 1900. That number is divided by the product of .10 X .0625 X 1,000,000 which is 6250.

The answer is: n=0.30 lbs. of Cure #1 (based on 9.5 lbs. per gallon) 0.30 lbs = 4.8 ounces or 136 grams.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ :cool: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Please read the following:

Okay, folks... we should start thinkin' about the finer points of our next sausage project. We are going to ask El DuckO to select one of his chorizo recipes and alter it just a bit for the express purpose of making a "Semi-Dry-Cured Chorizo". Shucks, I think we ought to call it "Project "C" :lol: We'll cook and cure it alright, but then we'll allow a Bactoferm FLC culture to ferment the sausage in only about two days! We'll also dry the sausage further to a point below Aw 0.85. Hmmm... chorizo snack stick cut with a pocket knife and eaten with a few crackers and some cheese should be a very welcome treat!

The USDA has made the statement, "A potentially hazardous food does not include a food with a water activity value of 0.85 Aw or less". What does this mean? To make meat safe to eat, we must destroy pathogenic and spoilage bacteria. Because all microorganisms need water to live, the easiest way this can be done is to "bind" or lock up their water supply. When this is achieved, the measurement is called "water activity" and it is abbreviated Aw. Of course there is a scale used to indicate levels of water activity. Thus, when a sausage loses enough moisture, the bacteria is no longer a threat. However, for each different bacterium, the level of dryness varies depending how "resistant" each strain is. Sausage must be dried to a point below 1.0 to take out the campylobacter and e.coli and about 0.95 to eliminate cl.botulinum and salmonella, and somewhere about 0.91 to destroy listeria and shigella. However, the very resistant staphylococcus aureus will thrive until the Aw drop reaches a point below 0.86 on the scale, and that is a fairly dry sausage.

The other practical method of destroying bacteria is to introduce it to an acid. The most sensible and cost effective is lactic acid, produced when lactobacilli or pediococci bacteria react with natural sugars to produce lactic acid. In turn, this "lactic acid" also limits pathogenic and spoilage bacteria as well as giving the sausage a unique "tang" or "sour flavor".

Later, as we discuss "fermented" or "tangy" flavor in sausage, you'll have to consider these two factors in making a successful "semi-dry-cured" sausage. For now, please read and study the following and ask any questions you may have.

What is "Semi-Dry Cured" Sausage?

Depending upon the amount of moisture they contain, sausages may be grouped as:
moist - 10% weight loss, OR...
semi-dry - 20% weight loss, OR...
dry - 30% weight loss.

Semi-dry cured sausage may be made with or without cultures and may or may not be pre-cooked although nearly always, they are indeed cooked. Due to modern health concerns, it is recommended that all semi-dry cured sausages be par-cooked. Commercially, this application is now required. Semi-dry cured sausage is usually cured by fermenting the sausage at least 48 hours rendering an acidic content of pH 5.2 or lower, then by drying it to a point below Aw 0.89 or lower.

Please note that this type of sausage is normally cured using Cure #1 (nitrite), as reservoirs of nitrate are not needed in short-term fermentation. (Sausage known as "fully dry-cured" or just "dry-cured", use Cure #2, which has BOTH sodium nitrite (to act immediately), and sodium nitrate (which breaks down over time into sodium nitrite and then into nitric oxide).

What makes it different? (A bit of a "review")... Lots of this stuff is REPEATED! - Yup, just for YOU.

Refrigerated "fresh" sausages must be used up within three days or frozen for use later. If the same sausage however, contains a prescribed amount of sodium nitrite and is smoke-cooked, it becomes a delicious "smoke-cooked" type sausage. Can this sausage be further preserved?

1. What if we "bumped up" the sausage a little, by quickly fermenting it - that is, BY USING A PRELIMINARY CURING STEP in traditionally-made (no culture used) sausages, OR by using a culture to drop the pH level to 5.3 or less.

2. What if we "bumped up" the sausage a little, by drying it to a point below Aw 0.85, where most bacteria no longer had an effect upon it? We could then store it at around 45°; F. in 75% humidity and the sausage would be "ready to eat" for an extended period of time. (Does "jerky" come to mind?) :wink:

Unlike dry-cured sausages, the semi-dry variety is usually pre-cooked (par-cooked) to about 148°F after fermenting and smoking have taken place. By reaching and surpassing the temperature of 138° F., the threat of trichinella spiralis is eliminated. Often this cooking step is accomplished simultaneously, while the smoking is being done.

Great idea eh? The sausage we are talking about has been prep-cooked to destroy any possible trichinella spiralis, and it has been cured with nitrite to prevent the development of any possible clostridium botulinum. The drawback is a loss of 20% of its original weight. (In fully dry-cured the loss is nearly 35% of its original weight). On the other hand, we would have the ultimate snack stick to take along hunting or hiking for a quick, lightweight, high-protein bite to eat. It surely beats high-sugar or high-carbohydrate snacks or candy. Sure, it would probably develop a little "white" mold, but we could always safely wipe it off before eating it. Better yet, we could prolong its preservation by vacuum-packing it in plastic or glass and not have to even worry about mold.

Semi-dry cured sausages are usually ground a little more coarsely and are made safe by an acidification level reaching pH 5.3 (or less) as mentioned. If a "fast" culture such as LHP is used, this may be accomplished in as little as two days. A "medium" culture such as F-RM-52 requires about 4 days. If these quick-acting cultures are used, it should be understood that the sausage will be "tangy" as staphylococcus and micrococcus "flavor and color-forming" bacteria simply do not have time to develop. The recipe for this type of sausage will almost always contain some additional sugar for the lactic acid bacteria to work on quickly to more effectively raise the acidity. Applying smoke during the fermentation stage is not recommended as smoke contains substances which may impede reactions between meat and beneficial bacteria, especially in the surface area.

Note: Some old recipes have no requirements for cooking semi-dry cured sausage. If no heat treatment is planned in making a semi-dry cured sausage, it is now recommended that home sausage makers use a culture. Commercial suppliers are now being required to cook semi-dry cured products until the internal meat temperature reaches 160°F. This cooking step provides additional safety in sausage production whether the meat is smoked or not.

Before starter cultures were widely available to hobbyist home sausage makers, it was not uncommon to see "semi-dry cured" sausages made without prep-cooking. Today, the cooking step is strongly recommended as an additional measure of safety.

Again, the "chorizo" semi-dry-cured sausage recipe selected for this part of Project B2, will introduce you to a great semi-dry sausage without having to build a fermentation chamber. Because of the small diameter of the sausage, it dries quickly, dropping to save levels within a matter of only a couple of days. At the same time, the heat of cooking eliminates any possibility of trichinae.

Depending upon the type of sausage being made, the temperature may be boosted as high as 115°F., the humidity elevated to 95%, with an air exchange speed of about two miles per hour (0.8 m per sec.) as fermentation begins inside a special variable "fermentation chamber". Several hours later, these conditions have normally decreased substantially. We may say that fermentation is the controlled production of lactic acid under conditions of consistently monitored and frequently adjusted humidity, temperature, and air flow. Until the fermentation process begins, the only protection against pathogenic bacteria is the sausage`s salt content, the addition of nitrite, and the initially low bacteria count of the meat. Following 48 hours of fermentation, the sugar-fed lactobacilli and pediococci have usually metabolized enough sugar to produce a sufficient quantity of lactic acid to render the sausage safely acidic.

Best Wishes,