When I was going through my files I found some recipes for summer sausage circa 1983. I had fond memories of making my own summer sausage from hamburger–it was all the rage those many years ago. With the weather keeping me in, it seemed the perfect time to revamp the recipe for Christmas giving. I was out of a common ingredient– liquid smoke– which turned out to be the best thing ever. I much preferred what I mixed up from three varieties in the kept newspaper clipping. These particular recipes called for wrapping the rolls in netting before placing them in the oven–something I had not done in my previous bakings. It made for nicely browned, rounded rolls.I used 80% lean hamburger–it was the perfect balance of fat for a lean sausage. My plan is to prepare a few more batches before I post my recipe. I have to confess I freehanded it on this batch so I can’t write it down accurately for you yet. It was so delicious, it will be no problem to have it to post soon!
Summer Sausage Recipe
5 pounds lean hamburger (80% lean is a good choice)
1 cup red or white wine (optional)
3 tablespoons curing salt (Tender Quick is one by Mortons–look for it with the salt products)
3 tablespoons Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons black peppter
2 teaspoons cumin seed
Mix all dry ingredients. Add the wine and dry ingredients to the hamburger and blend thoroughly with your hands. It takes some good, heavy mixing to incorporate the seasonings–take out all your aggressions! Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 25 hours. Mix again 2 or 3 times over the next 24 hours. This allows the mixture to flavor and color. Divide the mixture into 4 equal parts; roll into a log shape 2 to 3 inches in diameter and 6 to 8 inches long. Roll into some nylon net and tie ends with string. Bake on a pan with a rack at 225 degrees for 4 hours. If you roll from time to time they won’t flatten on one side–I forgot to do that and, honestly, who cares if one side is a bit flatter! You can vary the seasonings any way you’d like–add liquid smoke, garlic, chili powder–experiment and then share your successes with us.