Sambal, there's no reason to stay away from this type of sausage. Don't fear the process and don't let it intimidate you! Shucks mam, just get a "better understandin' of the dad-gummed thang'!
To better understand each type of sausage and the specific variations in making them, it would be good to review the following information again. These basics are important to fully understand each type`s distinctive characteristics. Will you read them over again?
Basically, there are only four types of sausages:
Type (1.) Fresh Sausage
-"Fresh" sausage (meaning not cured), must be refrigerated and eaten within three days, or frozen for use later. Ol` timers know there is no such thing as a "secret recipe". There is however, "simply great sausage" - made using only salt, pepper, and only one or two other "signature ingredients". Add all the seasonings you wish; stuff it inside casings or mold it into patties; but use it within three days or freeze it, as it is not cured and not smoked. Refrigerate it at 38°F (3°C). This is the famous "breakfast" type sausage containing pork and sage. Other favorites include fresh Italian and fresh kielbasa, the well-known Polish sausage.
Fresh sausage is never smoked as the process cuts off oxygen, raising the risk of obligate anaerobic and microaerophile bacterial development, including clostridium botulinum!
Type (2.) Cured, Cooked, And Smoked Sausage
- This sausage is cured using sodium nitrite to destroy the toxin secretions produced by obligate anaerobic clostridium botulinum bacteria, as the oxygen is cut off when the meat is placed inside casings, and again as smoke replaces oxygen inside the smokehouse. Botulism, a potentially fatal illness causing flaccid paralysis, is the effect of food poisoning caused by clostridium botulinum. In 1925, the American Meat Institute introduced the use of sodium nitrite to America`s meat products. Since that time, there has not been a single case of food poisoning in this country due to botulism in commercially prepared cured meats. Sodium nitrite has also been found to prevent the growth of Listeria monocytogenes - the bacteria responsible for Listeriosis, a very virulent disease that can potentially result in the development of meningitis in newborns.
Following drying, cured-cooked-smoked sausages are prep-cooked (and smoked if desired) to destroy any possible trichinella spiralis and retain moisture. Finish cooking them on the grill or in a pan. These are the famous Bratwurst, Bockwurst, Knockwurst, and emulsified sausages known as hot dogs or "wieners". Also included in the emulsified category are bierwurst, Vienna sausage, and bologna. Cooked Italian mortadella, salami, Chinese "lop chong", Cajun boudin (blood) sausage, smoked Polish kielbasa, and German Berliner, are other popular favorites.
Type (3.) Semi-Dry Cured Sausage
- These are tangy, fermented
, sausages that have usually been cooked
during preparation, and are served on a fancy plate at a party or simply sliced with a pocketknife while you`re in the saddle. They are usually and most often cured with nitrite
(Cure #1), cooked during preparation
, and dried
(yielding about 75%), but not usually further cooked before serving them. (An exception is pepperoni on pizza). Favorites include varieties of summer sausage, landjaeger, kabanosy, and "slim jims".
Type (4.) Dry Cured Sausage
- This is the only sausage that is not cooked during its preparation, and not usually cooked before serving or eating. It is made of raw meat and is dried rather than being cooked. Special precautions are taken with pork sausage in this category, as the destruction of possible trichinella spiralis
becomes necessary. Because of the bacteria destroying processes involved, this is the only type sausage safe to eat without having been refrigerated and it is made with Cure #2 containing sodium nitrate
. Favorites include salamis from virtually every country, dry-cured Mexican chorizo, Italian sopressata, many types of pepperoni, and other fermented
sausages. A hygrometer, thermometer, fermentation chamber, and curing chamber, are necessary to produce dry cured sausages as well as a reasonable amount of sausage-making experience and a practical knowledge of the dry-curing procedure and a basic understanding of how bacteria affect the production of this type sausage. Beginners should have experience with all other types of sausage making before attempting to make this "fermented" and "fully dry-cured" sausage. This type of sausage is discussed in "Project A". (see index)
Sambal, as far as casings go, it is entirely your choice. Sheep casings are tender but expensive. They are very nice for semi-dry cured products if you prefer them. Many folks like collagen casing on this type of sausage. Hog casings are less expensive and for making cooked-cured-smoked type sausages or fresh sausages, they can't be beat.
Sambal... read and study all you can. Then read some more. It will all start coming together and you won't be confused at all. Until then, ask questions. Lots of folks will come to your rescue, including me whenever possible. Good luck pal.