Have you ever tried your hand at making summer sausage?
Do you have extra ground meat (venison, beef, etc.) on hand in the freezer?
If you have a hunter in the family or just need a creative way to make space for summer freezing, you can’t beat this! After making this as an experiment, our guys raved about it. You know how many men love their meat!!
We have great friends who raise Boer goats, and they kindly offered us a 1# package of their prime grass-fed ground goat to try. I have always loved summer sausage with cheese and crackers, and my mind instantly went to making summer sausage.
I remember as a little girl having summer sausage with fresh, hot artisan bread and cheese in the Italian Alps with my father’s family. It had more than a hint of sweetness and savory spices that were bursting with flavor. My biggest hurdle was not having or wanting to use an intestinal casing to hold it in a log shape.
When I got home with the ground meat, I could hardly wait to try my summer sausage idea! I had maple syrup, sea salt, and some Italian spices on hand, so I set out to do it, but I had no idea how much of these ingredients to use! SO…I guessed! Now, you won’t have to.
Summer Sausage Recipe:
- 2# of ground goat, venison, lamb, pork or beef, thawed
- 6 tsp. Himalayan pink salt or any good grey sea salt (preserving qualities)
- 5 tsp. McCormick Italian herb (or other) seasonings in a grinder set at medium grind. Contains rosemary, black pepper, red pepper, garlic, onion, sea salt, tomato and parsley (again, preserving properties)
- 3 TBSP maple syrup
- fresh or powdered garlic, to suit your taste, optional
- 1 TBSP fennel seed, optional, traditionally added to give a hint of sweetness
Options to add heat or kick:
- 1/2 tsp. hot red pepper seeds to your discretion (seeds are hotter than the flesh of hot peppers)
I blended all the ingredients together and worked them thoroughly through the meat with my hands. Then I placed it in the refrigerator, covered, for 24 -48 hours for the flavors to mix and slightly ferment. (This fermentation does NOT affect the taste at all, if only to make it better).
When you finally take it out of the fridge, this aromatic mass of meat will be pleasant to your senses and not gross at all, at least it wasn’t to us. The spices and sea salt, as well as the sugars in the maple syrup have acted as preservatives and aided in ‘keeping’ the meat fresh.
While the oven is pre-heating to 350°, form the spiced meat into a log and wrap it first in parchment paper, then aluminum foil (so the meat isn’t in contact with the aluminum foil). Wrap the foil with the folded edges up so the juices don’t run out as it bakes. Place this on a cookie sheet and into the oven for 1 hour.
As my experiment baked, the wonderful spicy aroma filled our senses, taking me back to the old German, Dutch and Swiss meat shoppes filled with smoked and naturally-preserved meats.
Let the almost completed summer sausage cool thoroughly before slicing. It should have developed a skin, a firmness, and you can slice it very thin to serve with cheese and crackers or make sausage sandwiches, etc.
It is firm with a nice skin. I didn’t have to use a casing after all.
Later that same week, I did it again with ground beef. The color was browner and did not have the brighter typical color of the goat sausage which you see in the photos, but both were pronounced ‘very good’!
I encourage you to give this easy summer sausage a try.
This sausage would also be delicious smoked. It is something we will be learning about soon from the Build A Smokehouse book. I love the idea of having naturally-cured meats like those of yesteryear hanging from the rafters with no preservatives and no refrigeration needed. Meats cured and dried this way will keep for years.
“…she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.” ~ 1 Corinthians 7: 34b
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Thanks for reading!