The Preservation Of Sausages

Post Reply
sambal badjak
Frequent User
Frequent User
Posts: 165
Joined: Thu Jul 18, 2013 15:41
Location: In the hot Zambezi Valley
Contact:

The Preservation Of Sausages

Post by sambal badjak » Sun Sep 08, 2013 10:22

I've done a pretty thorough search to make sure I am not asking questions that have been asked a million times before.
But if it turns out I am not a very good searcher, then please provide me with the appropriate link!

Anyway, here is the story and the queries:
I am planning on making some fresh and smoked sausages in the next couple of days.
The plan is as follows:
I will take 1 recipe, prep and everything and divide in 2.
One batch will get nitrite in the mix, the other one won't.

What is the best way to keep the "fresh" sausages?
Just as they are, keeping some in the fridge that will be eaten in the next couple of days and the rest in the freezer?
Or should I cook them till the required internal meat temperature (either in the oven or in water) and then freeze them?

Then there is the nitrite batch.
I am intending to cold smoke them. The temperature inside the smoker will be around 30-33 oC (around 90 F).
Any ideas how long I should smoke them for? I was thinking about 5 hours?
(I have done some half chickens for about 10 hours and they came out good, some chicken breast for about 2 and the smoke flavour was not really noticable)

Now after smoking, should I cool them down and freeze as they are or should I cook/boil them first?

And if I would cook them and freeze them would they (the fresh ones and the smoked ones) then be safe to eat without preheating?
Last edited by sambal badjak on Fri Sep 13, 2013 11:31, edited 1 time in total.
life is too short to drink bad wine (anonymus)
markjass
Passionate
Passionate
Posts: 416
Joined: Sat May 05, 2012 14:46
Location: Canterbury

Post by markjass » Sun Sep 08, 2013 12:07

Hiya.

That is the way I do it. In two batches. I always keep the meat part frozen while making the sausages.

Fresh sausages that I do not intend to eat within 3 days I vac-pac them as so as I can. I then freeze them in serving size. I defrost them overnight in the fridge or for a quicker result place them in cold (do not use hot water) water to defrost them. The vac packing stops them getting freezer bur and they keep for (longest I have kept them for is 4 months).

For your sausages that you are cold smoking, you will have to smoke them at 30 degrees C for a very long time. I am not so sure about the safety of this. On of the more experienced member will advise you on this.

I am going to cold smoke my cured and fermentated sausages. With my cured sausages I smoke them for between 1 and 4 hours at 50 degrees c and slowly bring the temperature up to 69 degrees C. Before I could do this with my smoker I used my oven and set it at 85 degrees (use an oven thermometer rather than go by the scale on the oven). If you use the oven line the base with foil or a pan or whatever because the sausages will drip and it will be a major issue cleaning it (I learned this from experience).
ssorllih
Veteran
Veteran
Posts: 4331
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2011 19:32
Location: maryland

Post by ssorllih » Sun Sep 08, 2013 14:14

My observations have been that sausage kept in the freezer for more than a few months will start to go off flavor and taste a bit rancid. Sodium nitrite helps to delay rancidity so using it in all of the sausage planned for longer storage would probably be a good plan.
Ross- tightwad home cook
sambal badjak
Frequent User
Frequent User
Posts: 165
Joined: Thu Jul 18, 2013 15:41
Location: In the hot Zambezi Valley
Contact:

Post by sambal badjak » Mon Sep 09, 2013 07:50

Thanks guys,
I could smoke them for a long time if needed, but I would figure that up to 10 hours would be more than long enough as that gave a good smokey taste to half chickens, but also to pork chops and sausages are actually smaller in diameter?

I would also figure that I would be safe as the sodium nitrite would protect them?
I could use a bit of vinegar in the sausage to lower the pH if needs be?

Anyone having any experience here?

If it is not considered safe, then I could put a heater plate next to the smoke generator to bring the heat up inside the smoker. Would that work?
Or I could wait a month and smoke at daytime. At that time the outside temperature will be 45 oC in the shade.
But most of what I have read would point at a nicer smoke penetration with lower temperatures?

As for the apres-smoke:
I will finish the smoked sausages off to the required temp for safety reasons, most likely inside the oven (or if I manage to get a hot plate and the temperature in my smoker gets up high enough, then maybe inside the smoker)
That is going to be a bit of hit and miss as my oven runs at around 140 oC at it's lowest temperature, so I will have to open the door at around 110 0C, let it drop to about 80-90 oC and keep playing with that.
It is doable though (as I have done it before)

Please keep the info coming!!!!!!!
life is too short to drink bad wine (anonymus)
markjass
Passionate
Passionate
Posts: 416
Joined: Sat May 05, 2012 14:46
Location: Canterbury

Post by markjass » Mon Sep 09, 2013 13:01

Have been doing some reading and found this section on sausage storage http://www.nirvani.net/docs/cache/home. ... i/Tips.htm
Do no harm. Margerine is the biggest food crime
sambal badjak
Frequent User
Frequent User
Posts: 165
Joined: Thu Jul 18, 2013 15:41
Location: In the hot Zambezi Valley
Contact:

Post by sambal badjak » Mon Sep 09, 2013 13:53

Thanks Mark,

Thanks for the link, I have been reading quite a lot on Len Poli's site.
He has some good info although he also has a couple of recipes were he uses cure 2 where I would think cure 1 is more likely. The "direct" address is http://lpoli.50webs.com/
He actually mentions cold smoking of sausages between 95 and 110 F, which is roughly what I am at, but other sites and recipes mention around 120 F

I will re-read his section about storage before I make a final decision.
life is too short to drink bad wine (anonymus)
User avatar
sawhorseray
Veteran
Veteran
Posts: 1104
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2012 20:25
Location: Elk Grove, CA

Post by sawhorseray » Mon Sep 09, 2013 19:16

When I make fresh sausage I place them on a tray in my freezer for about an hour before shrink-wrapping them, seems to help in keeping their shape and not squashing the ends. I've kept shrink-wrapped sausage for a year in my freezer and not noticed any loss of flavor. I don't keep them in the freezer that's connected to the fridge, "frost free" freezers aren't for long term use. I have two dedicated deep freezers in my garage that are kept at zero degrees, probably not cost-effective, but nothing really ever seems to go bad in them as long as the product is shrink-wrapped. I do have to defrost them every year by emptying the contents into a large cooler and dragging them to the garage opening, garden hose with the jet nozzle gets off all the frost in five minutes. RAY
“Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.”
sambal badjak
Frequent User
Frequent User
Posts: 165
Joined: Thu Jul 18, 2013 15:41
Location: In the hot Zambezi Valley
Contact:

Post by sambal badjak » Wed Sep 11, 2013 06:55

I got chest freezers as well. They are inside the house so a bit more of a pain to defrost. Ah well, it only needs to be done every so often.
I like the idea of freezing them first for a short while and then shrink wrapping.
That should prevent a lot of squashed sausages!

Does anyone have anymore info about cold smoking sausages at 30-35 oC?
Bad idea?
Or no problem?
life is too short to drink bad wine (anonymus)
User avatar
Chuckwagon
Veteran
Veteran
Posts: 4494
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2010 04:51
Location: Rocky Mountains

Post by Chuckwagon » Wed Sep 11, 2013 09:25

Sambal Badjak wrote:
Does anyone have anymore info about cold smoking sausages at 30-35 oC?
Cold smoking meats prevent or slow down the spoilage of fats, increasing shelf life. The product will be drier and saltier, having a more pronounced smoky flavor and long shelf life. The color varies from yellow to dark brown on the surface and dark red inside. Cold smoked products are not submitted to the cooking process. Stan Marianski said, "If you want to cold smoke your meats, bear in mind that with the exception of people living in areas with a cold climate like Alaska, it will have to be done in the winter months just as it was done 500 years ago."

Sambal, cold smoking is a drying process usually involving many hours for several days or even weeks. On the other hand, hot-smoking is a smoking-prep cooking process usually finished relatively shortly (within hours). To ensure a constant breakdown of nitrate into nitrite in cold-smoking sausages, Cure #2 is most often used. However, occasionally in some comminuted sausage, the use of Cure #1 may be specified. Cold-smoked products are not usually smoked continuously as fresh air is usually allowed into the smoker at regular intervals to allow time for complete penetration of smoke deep into muscle tissues. As moisture leaves the meat, the product will become naturally rigid.

Because cold-smoked meat and fish products are not cooked, cold smoking is an entirely contrasting process from hot-smoking as the heat source is remote and the smoke is "piped" into the smokehouse from several feet away, giving the smoke time to cool down. Most often, the cold-smokehouse is elevated higher than the heat source, or the smoke is forced inside by a fan.

When hot-smoking fish, the flesh gradually becomes cooked. Because fish begins to cook at 85°F. (30°C.), the temperature in most American "cold-smoke houses" is less than 85° F. (29°C.) and often much lower in order to prevent spoilage. In Russia and many parts of Europe, the upper limit has been 71°F. (22°C.).

Cold-smoked products must contain nitrite or nitrate/nitrite cures to be safe because even using thin smoke, oxygen is cut off and most obligate anaerobic bacteria, some facultative anaerobic bacteria, and even some microaerophile bacteria may thrive. Never cold-smoke fresh sausage or any meat product without using a curing agent.

Some dry-cured (raw) sausages are held for weeks in cold-smoke while they continue to dehydrate safely below .85 Aw. Initially they are protected from pathogenic bacteria by the sausage`s salt content. This affords their only protection while the lactic acid is being produced by lactobacilli and pediococci bacteria. Additionally, some semi-dry cured sausages may be cold-smoked after they have been prep-cooked. Again, although cold smoking is not a continuous process, it usually assures deep smoke penetration. It is usually discontinued overnight, allowing fresh air to assist with the uniform loss of moisture.

Best Wishes,
Chuckwagon
If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it probably needs more time on the grill! :D
sambal badjak
Frequent User
Frequent User
Posts: 165
Joined: Thu Jul 18, 2013 15:41
Location: In the hot Zambezi Valley
Contact:

Post by sambal badjak » Fri Sep 13, 2013 09:18

Thanks for the detailed info ChuckW !

I should have been a bit clearer about what I wanted to find out.
I have been reading a lot about smoking and found a lot of info on this forum as well.
I am not (yet) thinking about making hams, fermented sausages etc. I actually wonder if that is even possible at the climate I am in, but that's a different story altogether.

What I was going to do is the following:
Take a recipe for fresh sausages and add sodium nitrite to the mix, stuff etc etc.
Let them sit in the fridge for 12-24 hours for the curing to take place and then smoke them in my smoker.
The temperature inside the smoker will be around 30-35 oC.
Smoke with the proQ for a certain amount of time (I estimate 5 to 10 hours, based on results of smoked chicken halves, pork chops and chicken breast. I will actually take out half after 5 hours and half after 10 hours).
Then cook the sausages in the oven till an internal temperature of 72 oC, cool them down and refrigerate what I am going to eat in the next couple of days and freeze (vacuum packed) the remainder.

I was quite convinced this would be workable and safe, but Markass queried the safety, so I figured I ask the knowledgeable people here what they think.
Is what I described safe or not?


I do realise I need to use nitrites in combination with cold smoking for shorter periods, and nitrite and nitrate for longer periods (weeks and months),
(unless the pH is low enough, salt content is high enough, acidity is high enough, free water content is low enough.... But for now I firmly stick to nitrites)
life is too short to drink bad wine (anonymus)
User avatar
Chuckwagon
Veteran
Veteran
Posts: 4494
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2010 04:51
Location: Rocky Mountains

Post by Chuckwagon » Fri Sep 13, 2013 11:27

Sambal, your plan is quite acceptable. Sodium nitrite works almost instantaneously as long as it is distributed well throughout the meat. This is the reason we use water to disperse it as well as possible. Sodium nitrate, on the other hand, needs time and exposure to adequate numbers of staphylococcus and micrococcus to break down into nitrite and finally into nitric oxide (not to be confused with nitrous oxide). When NaNO3 (sodium nitrate) is placed into meat, it eventually begins to react with the staphylococcus and micrococcus bacteria already present in meat. The reaction creates NaNO2 (sodium nitrite) - the reduction needed (nitric oxide) to start the curing process. However, if the meat does not contain adequate numbers of staphylococcus and micrococcus to begin with, the curing process will become very much restrained.

Often, meats brined in chlorinated water will have their naturally-present staphylococci and micrococci significantly reduced by the chlorine. Hence, very little reaction will take place to reduce NaNO3 to NaNO2. To insure safety, sodium nitrite is often added directly to meat to remove the risk of insufficient numbers of reductive bacteria. Sausage makers should also be aware that chlorinated water used in mixing Bactoferm products will reduce the effectiveness of the culture as beneficial bacteria are destroyed at the onset. It is recommended that only distilled water be used in such applications.

Further, your plan to use a recipe for fresh sausage becomes quite safe for the smoker following your application of sodium nitrite. When using sodium nitrate in a slow-cured, raw, fermented-type, sausage, it must be remembered that the higher salt content of the sausage, is the only safety barrier restricting the growth of pathogenic bacteria while beneficial bacteria develop using the nutrients and moisture available. While this action is taking place, the high temperatures of "hot smoking" must not be used as the heat will impede the beneficial success of the lactobacilli. This is the reason we use a cold-smoking process at this juncture in processing fermented meats. As far as a "cured and cooked" hot-smoked sausage is concerned, the curing has taken place during the mixing and stuffing. As higher "cooking" temperatures are achieved, the cooking process will eventually eliminate most other pathogenic bacteria and live microorganisms such as trichinella spiralis (nematode worm), Cryptosporidium (a protozoan), or Cyclospora cayetanensis (a protozoan) and numerable others.

It is up to you to use wisdom and caution while handling nitrates and nitrites. Weigh them carefully as well as the meat product. Be sure to mix them adequately throughout the meat.

Sodium nitrites also affect other pathogenic bacteria. I`ve listed some of the ones we are most concerned with along with their genus and the minimum limits of pH (acidity) and Aw (water available) for their destruction:

Clostridium botulinum - obligate anaerobic/min.pH<5.0/min.Aw<0.97
Staphylococcus aureus - facultative anaerobic/min.pH<4.2/min.Aw<0.85
Escherichia coli 0157:H7 - facultative anaerobic/min.pH<4.4/min.Aw<0.95
Escherichia coli 0104:H21 - facultative anaerobic/min.pH<4.4/min.Aw<0.95
Escherichia coli 0121 - facultative anaerobic/min.pH<4.4/min.Aw<0.95
Salmonella - facultative anaerobic/min.pH<3.8/min.Aw<0.94
Clostridium perfringens - obligate anaerobic/min.pH<5.5/min.Aw<0.93
Listeria monocytogenes - facultative anaerobic/min.pH<4.4/min.Aw<0.92
Campylobacter jejuni - microaerophile bacteria/min.pH<4.9/min.Aw<0.98
Shigella - obligate anaerobic/min.pH<4.0/min.Aw<0.91
Bacillus cereus - facultative anaerobic/min.pH<4.3/min.Aw<0.91

Note that the staphylococcus genus includes thirty-two species and eight sub-species. Staphylococcus Aureus remains one of the most dangerous pathogenic bacterium known and can even survive an incredibly massive dose of fifteen percent salt! However, at least one of its strains has proven to be beneficial by promoting color fixing and flavor forming qualities in air-dried sausages. Closely related to Micrococcus (Kocuria), the two micro-organisms provide beneficial qualities to fermented air-dried sausages.

Hope this helps... Best Wishes,
Chuckwagon
Last edited by Chuckwagon on Fri Sep 13, 2013 13:06, edited 1 time in total.
If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it probably needs more time on the grill! :D
sambal badjak
Frequent User
Frequent User
Posts: 165
Joined: Thu Jul 18, 2013 15:41
Location: In the hot Zambezi Valley
Contact:

Post by sambal badjak » Sun Sep 22, 2013 14:49

.
Topic Split by CW 092213@19:40. See "What is Aw? in "Fermented Sausage" Forum.


I finally got around to making another batch of sausages.
I roughly used a recipe for italian sausage and added nitrite to part of the batch.
I smoked those for about 10-11 hours. That was not really the original plan but I got tied up. The idea was half for 5 hours smoke and the rest for 10.
I had them in the fridge overnight and then boiled them to an internal meat temperature of 69 oC, cooled them down under cold water, dried them off and when cool enough I placed them in the fridge.

We had some fresh ones (just fried) yesterday and people liked them. I had a smoked on today and it is amazing how much the flavour changed, and how some spices are now more pronounced and others less in comparison with its fresh brother!

I struggled a bit dividing the sausages in links. Last time I twisted them as soon as they came out of the mincer with stuffing attachment. This time I made a single large sausage and linked them later. I had read somewhere that that worked better. Unfortunately not for me. I broke a couple. I probably overfilled them, but still feel it is easier to link them direct, at least with my set-up.

Topic Split by CW 092213@20:02. See: "Tying Sausage Links" in the Beginners" Forum.
Last edited by sambal badjak on Mon Sep 23, 2013 03:07, edited 2 times in total.
life is too short to drink bad wine (anonymus)
Post Reply