Summer sausage is a delectable meat treat that is a favorite among many. It is a semi-dry sausage that falls between fresh sausage and salami, and it is easy to make right in your own kitchen.
In this article, we will explore the steps involved in making delicious summer sausage in your oven, and provide you with some tips and tricks along the way.
Table of Contents
- Can I Make Summer Sausage in the Oven?
- How Long to Cook Summer Sausage in the Oven?
- How to Make Delicious Summer Sausage in the Oven
- Tips and Tricks for Making Summer Sausage in The Oven
- Final Thoughts
Can I Make Summer Sausage in the Oven?
Absolutely! You can make delicious summer sausage right in your kitchen oven. In fact, many people prefer this method over using a smoker or grill.
While smokers and grills are popular choices for cooking summer sausage, they don’t always deliver the optimal cooking temperature.
Smokers, in particular, may struggle to reach the temperature required to make summer sausage safe for consumption.
The internal temperature of the sausage needs to be between 160-165°F, which can only be achieved if the cooking temperature reaches over 190°F.
This is where the oven comes in handy! Using your kitchen oven for making summer sausage is not only convenient, but it also eliminates the need to worry about temperature fluctuations or other factors that can interfere with the cooking process.
Simply set the oven to the desired temperature, and you’re all set to make a mouth-watering summer sausage that’s safe and delicious to eat.
How Long to Cook Summer Sausage in the Oven?
Cooking summer sausage in the oven requires some patience and precision, as cooking times can vary depending on the recipe, link size, and ingredients used. On average, it takes about two to three hours to cook summer sausage in the oven, but it could take longer.
To ensure your summer sausage is perfectly cooked, investing in a meat thermometer is essential. With this tool, you can be sure that your sausages are safe to eat when the thermometer shows an internal temperature between 160-165°F.
If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you can still make sure that your summer sausage is fully cooked by cutting it with a knife. However, this method can ruin the sausage’s shape and doesn’t provide a guarantee that it’s cooked all the way through.
It’s also important to note that if you added water to your meat mixture, you’ll need to cook it longer in the oven to achieve the desired internal temperature.
How to Make Delicious Summer Sausage in the Oven
In this section, we’ll go through the step-by-step process of making your own delicious summer sausage in the oven.
Choosing the Meat for Your Summer Sausage
First things first, you need to choose the type of meat you want to use for your summer sausage. Pork, beef, lamb, chicken, venison – the choice is yours! Just remember that sausages should contain between 25-30% fat on average.
In case you are utilizing leaner meat, consider adding beef tallow or any other kind of animal-based fat to raise the fat content. This will ensure that your sausage is juicy and flavorful.
Deciding on the Seasonings
Once you’ve chosen your meat, it’s time to decide on the seasonings. The traditional options include salt, pepper, paprika, garlic, cayenne pepper, and similar.
You can also add cheese to your sausage, with high-temperature cheese being the best choice for summer sausages.
Use your creativity and try out various flavors to discover the ideal combination that satisfies your taste buds.
Consider Meat Binder and Curing Salts
Before you start mixing the ingredients together, you need to consider two important factors. First, the meat binder will ensure that the fat doesn’t clump together. Second, curing salts are necessary because they prevent the growth of unwanted bacteria in the sausage.
For the summer sausage, you’ll need Curing Salt #1 (also known as Insta Cure #1, Prague Powder #1, or pink curing salt), which contains the right proportion of ingredients.
Mix all the ingredients together and let the mixture ferment in the fridge for at least 24 hours.
Stuffing and Cooking Your Summer Sausage
After the mixture has fermented, it’s time to stuff the meat into sausage casings. Let them sit at room temperature for a while before preheating your oven to 170°F. Place the sausages on the broiler and slowly increase the heat up to 190°F.
Keep checking the internal temperature of the sausages until they reach a safe temperature of 160°F. This will ensure that your summer sausage is cooked to perfection and safe to eat.
Cool and Store
Remove the sausage from the oven and allow it to cool for about 30 minutes. Once cooled, store it in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before eating. This will allow the flavors to meld together and the sausage to firm up.
Alternative Cooking Methods
If you do not have a sausage stuffer, you can still make summer sausage. Simply form the meat mixture into logs and place them in a baking dish. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake as directed above.
Another option is to use a smoker or grill. Follow the same steps for preparing the meat and stuffing the sausage, then smoke or grill the sausage until it reaches the desired internal temperature.
Tips and Tricks for Making Summer Sausage in The Oven
Use a meat grinder: Grinding your own meat ensures that you know exactly what’s in your sausage, and it’s also an opportunity to customize your sausage by adjusting the ratio of meat to fat.
Keep everything cold: When mixing the ingredients and stuffing the sausage, it’s important to keep everything cold. This helps prevent the fat from melting and ensures that the sausage has the right texture. You can even put the meat grinder attachments and sausage stuffer in the freezer for a bit before using them.
Don’t overstuff the casings: This can lead to the sausages bursting while cooking. It’s better to err on the side of slightly under-stuffed sausages.
Use high-temperature cheese: If you want to add cheese to your sausage, make sure to use high-temperature cheese. This type of cheese is specifically designed to withstand high temperatures without melting and oozing out of the sausage.
Let the sausage rest before cooking: After stuffing the sausage, let it sit at room temperature for about an hour. This allows the meat to settle and the casings to dry a bit, which helps prevent the sausage from bursting during cooking.
Slow and low cooking: Cook the sausages in a preheated oven at 170°F on the broiler pan. Increase the heat slowly up to 190°F. Cooking at a low temperature prevents the sausages from overcooking and drying out. It also allows the heat to penetrate the sausage evenly, ensuring that it’s cooked all the way through.
Use a meat thermometer: To ensure that your sausage is cooked to a safe internal temperature, use a meat thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the sausage, and make sure it reads between 160-165°F.
By following these tips and tricks, you can make delicious summer sausage in the oven that is perfectly cooked and customized to your taste preferences.
Now that we’ve gone through the process of making summer sausage in the oven, I hope you feel confident to try it out for yourself.
You can also use electric or propane smokers. However, keep in mind that this process might take a bit longer and may not be as easy as using the oven.
One crucial aspect of cooking summer sausage, regardless of the method you choose, is checking the internal temperature. You want to make sure it’s cooked all the way through to avoid any potential foodborne illnesses.
If you’re a seasoned summer sausage maker, you might not need a meat thermometer, as you’ve got plenty of experience under your belt. But if you’re new to this, a meat thermometer will be your best friend in ensuring your sausages are safe to eat.