For many years, I have been intrigued by the idea that curing meat so that it needs no refrigeration is a “lost art”. It seemed like something interesting that I would like to know. Finally, I was introduced to The Sausagemaker, and the book, “Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing” by Rytek Kutas. The Sausagemaker carries on a “mail order” business of supplying materials and equipment needed to cure meat and make sausage. I have not arrived at the “no refrigeration” stage, but I have learned to make many good-tasting foods.
My first attempt was to make a good fresh pork sausage. Between the recipes in the book, and bits of information given to me from other peoples’ experience, I developed a recipe that we enjoy:
10 Pounds Ground Pork Butt
4 Tablespoons Salt
4 Tablespoons Black Pepper
1 Teaspoon Coriander
1 teaspoon Powdered Sage
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon Powdered Tarragon
I stuff this into 32-35 mm casings, 19-21 mm casings, or it can be made into patties and fried. Be mindful that this is raw pork, and must be thoroughly cooked!
Once we had a friend who made what she called “Bologna”. I am able to remember only that she used beef, and it was cured by “hanging in the attic until the blood all drained out”! In spite of this gory description, the end product was delicious. She referred to a recipe in the “Mennonite Community Cookbook” by Mary Emma Showalter. Through the cookbook’s recipe, and some “trial and error experimentation”, I arrived at a recipe that satisfies my taste for beef bologna:
10 Pounds Ground Beef (85% or Better)
11 Ounces Brown Sugar
5 Tablespoons Salt
1 Tablespoon Black Pepper
2 Teaspoons Instacure #1*
I stuff this into 60mm casings, and smoke the bologna until the desired concentration of smoke is obtained. The internal temperature at the conclusion of smoking should be 145 Degrees F..
Although this is cured, and safe to eat, it still requires refrigeration, and I have found that it freezes well in vacuum sealed bags.
A variation on the Bologna recipe is smaller diameter Beef “Jerky” Sticks. To the bologna recipe, I add:
2 Tablespoons Paprika
˝ Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 Teaspoon Powdered Celery Seed
1 Tablespoon Nutmeg
2 Teaspoons Red Pepper
I stuff this mixture into 19-21 mm casings, and smoke. Ultimately, these should also reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.. These require refrigeration, also.
During the time that we lived in the Philadelphia area, we were introduced to “Kielbasa”. Since “kielbasa” is the Polish word for “sausage”, we have deduced that the particular kielbasa we ate in Southeast Pennsylvania is a tradition of the area. I have tried many times and places to obtain sausage similar to what we found in Pennsylvania, but it seems to be available nowhere else.
A recipe in the “Great Sausage Recipes” book provided the basis for a smoked pork sausage, and it turned out to be similar to the Pennsylvania “Kielbasa”:
10 Pounds ground Pork Butt
1 Pint Cold Water
5 Tablespoons Salt
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar (Maybe a “glug” of honey)
2 Teaspoons Instacure #1*
1 Tablespoon Black pepper
2 Large Cloves Fresh Garlic (or the equivalent of Garlic Powder)
1 Heaping Teaspoon Marjoram
This mixture is stuffed into 32-36 mm casings, and smoked. At the conclusion of smoking, the internal temperature should have reached 152 degrees F.. Although it is now cured and considered safe to eat, it still requires refrigeration.
The distinctive taste of ham and bacon is created by curing pork. I have learned to do this, and it is much easier than one would suspect. Frequently, we are able to buy boneless pork loin at a reduced price. This is very nice clear pork, and is a treat in itself. However, after it is cured and smoked, it is considered Canadian Bacon. We found that a very nice meat could be made by coating the fresh meat with a mixture of salt, black pepper, honey and Instacure*, and letting it “cure” in a refrigerator for several days. This process will draw a surprisingly large amount of liquid from the meat, and after several days, it must be smoked. At the conclusion of smoking, the internal temperature should have reached 152 degrees F.. Although it is now cured and considered safe to eat, it still requires refrigeration. Morton’s Tenderquick can also be used for this process, and they offer a small “Home Meat Curing Guide” which I recommend.
*Instacure is a curing chemical vitally necessary to prevent the formation of food poisoning during the curing process. It is available from The Sausagemaker. Morton makes a similar product, “Tenderquick”. I have not had enough experience with it to include it in my recipes, but I suppose it could be used.