General Sausage Recipe

Sausage - General Recipe

by Barry Bryner, additions by Russ Lambert

1. Partially freeze the meats and the fat, then grind through a medium (3/8” or 10 mm) plate

2. Add remaining ingredients.

  • Phase I: Mix the ground meat (not fat) with the salt, cure, phosphates and cure accelerators [such as GDL, erythorbate or ascorbate], if any. Also at this time mix in approximately one-half of the water required in the formulation and process in a meat grinder until the temperature of the chop reaches 43F. The amount of time is dependent on the speed of chop, size of batch, etc. Use an infra-red thermometer to determine the end point.

  • Phase II Add ground fat, the seasonings, spices, and remaining ingredients to the batter along with the remaining water and mix until the batch reaches 57F.

These steps are important. The first grinding with water and salts results in the extraction and solubilization of SSHCP (salt-soluble and heat coaguable proteins) so necessary for forming a stable emulsion. As the mixing continues in the second phase, the remaining water and flavorings are absorbed by the meat emulsion, contributing to its taste, moisture and “mouth-feel.”

3. After mixing well, cover, and let stand in refrigerator at least 6 hours to cure.

4. Stuff the mixture into 35 mm hog casings about 18” long leaving enough casing to tie the sausage into rings. (Optional: leave in long continuous coil.)

5. Hang sausage at room temperature until the meat paste reaches ambient temperature and the casings are dry to the touch.

6. Smoker variants:

  • Place sausage in pre-heated smoker (130 deg.F, 55 deg.C) and apply heavy smoke for 2 hours. Raise temperature of smoke to not exceeding 180 deg.F (82 deg.C), preferably 175 or less, and continue smoking until internal temperature is 155 deg.F (71 deg.C). Above 180 deg.F, pork fat renders and your sausage is ruined. Using beef? Beef tallow renders considerably lower, so moderate your smoking temperature.

  • Plunge into ice water for 15 minutes. Chill in refrigerator for at least 6 hours.

7. Before eating, re-heat sausage gently over low heat on the grill and serve hot. Do not overheat or the fat content will render and the flavorful juices will be lost.


Based on material from various internet searches

While this section gives good advice, I recommend that you always calculate the amount of nitrite and nitrate that you are adding. See this section, below

Prague Powder No. 1 is also called Curing Salt 1, InstaCure or Modern Cure. This cure is sodium nitrite (6.25 %) mixed with salt (93.75 % ). It is used any time meat is not immediately put into freezer or refrigerator -- Such as smoking, air drying, dehumidifying, etc. As the meat temperate rises during processing, the sodium nitrite changes to nitric oxide and starts to 'gas out' at about 130F. After the smoking /cooking process is complete only about 10-20 % of the original nitrite remains. As the product is stored and later reheated for consumption, the decline of nitrite continues. Use 1 oz. for 25 lb. of meat or 1 level teaspoon of cure for 5lb. of meat. Mix cure with cold water.

Prague Powder #1, also referred to as Tinted Cure or Pink Curing Salt, is used for all types of meats, sausage, fish, and jerky curing. One of the most popular curing salts, Prague powder #1 provides a distinct flavor and helps to prevent product discoloration.

Prague Powder #1 can be used in the preserving and curing of semi-dry and cooked meats, sausage, fish, jerky, bacon, ham, pastrami, hard salami, corned beef. However, see below.

To cure meat or fish correctly and within food safely guidelines, it is extremely important to use the proper amount of Prague Powder #1. As a curing agent, Prague Powder #1 serves to inhibit bacteria growth and helps to maintain meat flavor and appearance. Too much or too little Pink Curing Salt can adversely affect health, taste, and food quality. Overall it is recommended that you use one ounce of Prague Powder #1 to twenty-five pounds of meat or fish (or 1 level teaspoon of cure for 5 lbs. of meat.) Mix cure with cold water.

Prague Powder No. 2 is also called Curing Salt 2. It is used with dry-cured products that require long (weeks to months) cures, such pepperoni, hard salami, geonoa salami, proscuitti hams and dried farmers sausage. This cure has 1 oz. of sodium nitrite with .64 oz. of sodium nitrate to each lb. of salt. Use with products that do not require cooking, smoking, or refrigeration. This cure, which is sodium nitrate, acts like a time release, slowing breaking down into sodium nitrite, then into nitric oxide. This allows you to dry cure products that take much longer to cure. (A cure with sodium nitrite would dissipate too quickly.)

Prague powder #2 is specifically formulated to be used for making dry cured products such as pepperoni, hard salami, genoa salami, proscuitti hams, dried farmers sausage, capicola and more. These are products that do not require cooking, smoking, or refrigeration.

Insta Cure #2 can be compared to the time release capsules used for colds--the sodium nitrate breaks down to sodium nitrite and then to nitric oxide to cure the meat over an extended period of time. Some meats require curing for up to 6 months.

Ingredients: sodium chloride, sodium nitrite (6.25%), sodium nitrate, FD&C red #40 (.0040%) with no more than 1% sodium carbonate added to retain stability. Use 1 level teaspoon of cure for every 5 lbs of ground meat (or 8 oz to every 200 lbs).

Standards, Calculations: The US Federal guidelines for most sausages call for not more than 156 ppm of nitrite content. European standards call for 150 ppm. American "Cure #1" contains 6.25% sodium nitrite and 92.75% sodium chloride (salt). In Europe, "Peklosol" contains 0.60% sodium nitrite and 99.40% salt. (The limit on bacon varies. Look up the regs!) In the USA, Cure #2 contains 6.25% sodium nitrite; 4% sodium nitrate and 89.75% salt.

To calculate the nitrite ppm, use (for Cure #1):

=0.0625 * ((Cure #1 wt) / (total mix weight)) * 1 million (USA)=0.0060 * ((Peklosol wt) / (total mix weight)) * 1 million (Europe)=0.0588 * ((Cure #1 wt) / (total mix weight)) * 1 million (UK)

For nitrates (Cure #2),

ppm nitrites = 0.0625 * ((Cure #2 wt) / (total mix weight)) * 1 million (USA)and ppm nitrates = 0.0400 * ((Cure #2 wt) / (total mix weight)) * 1 million (USA)ppm nitrites = 0.0567 * ((Cure #2 wt) / (total mix weight)) * 1 million (UK)and ppm nitrates = 0.0362 * ((Cure #2 wt) / (total mix weight)) * 1 million (UK)

For Morton curing products in the USA, substitute these into the above equations:

fraction Nitrite fraction NitrateMorton TenderQuick 0.0050 0.0050Morton Sugar Cure 0.0050 0.0050Morton Smoke Flavored Sugar Cure 0.0000 0.0100

Additives Often Used in Sausage Making

by Barry Bryner

Ascorbates - Sodium erythorbate (Sodium Iso-ascorbate) & Citric Acid: These chemicals reduce oxidation and subsequent off flavor and off-color that would result from oxidation . They speed the curing reaction by the rapid reduction of nitrates and nitrites to nitrous acid and ultimately nitric oxide that combines with myoglobin in the muscle tissues to fix the cured color. Generally, I try for about 0.01% for citric acid and 0.05% for erythorbate.

Cereal & Bread: These are principally starch and their purpose varies. Generally they added to lower quality products for economical reasons, although they often improve binding quality, cooking yield and slicing characteristics. English sausage makers are fond of adding rusk, breadcrumbs or wheat gluten to their sausages; French and Cajun sausage makers often add rice.

Corn Syrup Solids: The general use for corn syrup solids in sausage recipes is to enhance binding qualities of the meat, provide sweetening and assists in holding the color of the cured meat. In dry-cured product, it aids the fermentation process by providing a carbohydrate source for lactic bacteria. Generally use 2% or less of the weight of the meat block.

Curing Salts: Check the formulation carefully and be sure you use the correct cure; do not substitute! (Cure#1 and #2 are formulated in such a way so that 1 level US teaspoon will cure 5 pounds of meat.) For the best results, always weigh out the amount of cure!

Cure #1 contains 6.25% Sodium nitrite; 93.75% Salt (for fresh and cooked sausages). Cure #2 contains 6.25% Sodium nitrite; 4% Sodium nitrate and 89.75% Salt (for dry-cured sausages) Tender Quick contains 0.5% Sodium nitrite, 0.5% Sodium nitrate, Salt, Sugar, and Propylene glycol (for brined meats) . Saltpeter is 100% Potassium nitrate (not recommended...too difficult to measure in the small quantities needed)

Milk Powder, Dry: Non fat dried skim milk powder is used in a number of sausages. It used generally as a binder and helps cooked sausage retain moisture. It assists in forming irreversible gels (upon heating) that hold water and fat and helps to enhance the flavor of the product. When making cooked sausages, I generally hold it to less that 4%. Commercially the calcium reduced form of skim milk powder is used as calcium is said to interfere with protein solubility and emulsion formation.

MSG -Monosodium Glutamate: Monosodium Glutamate is a salt of glutamic acid. In Sausage making it is used as a flavor enhancer. It is one of twenty two amino acids which create protein molecules in all plants and animal bodies. Therefore glutamate is naturally contained in almost all food products such as meat, fish, vegetables, milk, etc. Food products which naturally contain lots of free glutamate (e.g. tomatoes, cheese, mushrooms, etc.) are used in many food recipes because of their flavor enhancing properties. In sausage making, I try to keep MSG at approximately 1¼ grams to 454 grams (1 pound) of meat. Scientific examinations have proven that the application of MSG in food products does not have a negative effect on the human body. Although many people claim to be allergic to MSG, a board of scientists and medical doctors appointed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has examined all existing reports on supposedly allergic reactions caused by glutamate. They have declared that there is no connection between glutamate content in food products and the appearance of symptoms such as numbness of neck and back (Chinese restaurant syndrome).

Phosphates: The phosphates are a combination of: Sodium Tri-polyphosphate, Sodium Pyro-phosphate and Sodium Hexa-metaphosphate, generally at the rate of 1/3 to 1/2 of one percent (0.3 to 0.5%) of the finished product weight. If you want to learn more please see a separate note.

Soy protein: Soy protein isolate is used as binder as well as an emulsifier. The levels of soy products that you use in sausage should be controlled so or they will impart a “beany” flavor to the meat products. I like to use about 1.5-2% in my formulations; however, some sausage makers use up to 3.5%. Textured soy protein used in sausages, meat patties and meat loaves. Soy protein concentrate available as coarse granules or grits is used in emulsion type sausages.

Sugars: A number of different sugars can added to meat products like sucrose, dextrose, lactose, corn syrup solids, maple syrup, honey etc. Often they are added for flavoring and also has some preservative action. Sugars, called reducing sugars, improve the shelf life of the product. Dextrose (glucose) is essential in fermented sausages as a substrate for growth of fermenting bacteria.

Whey-Protein Isolate: Provides a smooth texture to the product by binds and entrapping water thus providing body, texture and improves "sliceability", especially in loaves like mortadella. Whey forms stable, fat/oil emulsions that provide structure to the sausage. It also enhances non-enzymatic browning (Maillard Reaction).