Ready to try some Dry Curing!
Drum Smoking Big Poppa Smokers
Ready to try some Dry Curing!
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Thread: Ready to try some Dry Curing!

  1. #1

    Ready to try some Dry Curing!

    With the chilly winter days in florida, and my semi completed dry curing chamber, I am ready to tackle a 10# dry cure sausage. I have ordered the culture packet I intend to use, following a recipe for traditional pepperoni from the marianski book (I forget exact title, but it's about fermented meats as dry cured sausages..).

    Need to find a source for good casings. Last casing I used were garbage. I want ready to stuff casings pre-tubed. Recipe calls for beef middles. Place I planned to use, phone is out of service. It was recommends to me by a local commercial deli that does their own in house sausages and dry cured and smoked meats and sausages. It's called tri state casings. Seems it might be out of business.

    Any other recommended places to get casings from?


  2. #2
    I broke down and ordered a few things for making the pepperoni. Plan is to do it this weekend. Weather Saturday is high of 50. Both my kids have sport events so I am hoping that doesn't interfere with sausage plan. I suppose I could postpone to Sunday.

    Need to pickup some meat to grind. Thinking mix of Pork Butt and Beef Chuck 70/30. Got my culture already to go, and awaiting casings in the mail. I also bought an inexpensive hand crank meat mixer to combine all the cure/culture/spices. Ordered casings from LEM, as they were only one I could find that offered pre-tubed casings, though not the beef middles I was looking for. I also thought that I would try using the collagen casings for greater ease. I am uncertain if the collage is suitable for a dry cured (uncooked) product though. Need to refresh my memory about the process since its been a couple years since I did sausage. I have the ability to control the temp and humidity now in my dry cure chamber, though I'd prefer to have the datalogging capability, I was not able to get that working how I liked. Seems that the dorm fridge keeps appropriate humidity most all the time without needing any artificial humidity added.


  3. #3
    Dick, I hope you don't mind, but I split this topic off from the "Sausage Curing Info" and into it's own thread, because I think it's going to be a good one, and I can't wait to see your dry-cure chamber in action!

    For whatever reason I missed your earlier post, and wish I'd seen it sooner.

    For pepperoni, I like a higher ratio of pork to beef, so I think your ration of 70% pork to 30% beef is good.

    My understanding for Collagen casings is they are not great for dry curing, because they won't shrink with the meat as it looses moisture while curing. My understanding is natural or fibrous casings work best for dry curing.

    The casings on tubes that I am familiar with are still not truly "ready to stuff." They are packed in salt and still require a water soak. I actually didn't care for them, BUT the ones I had were much smaller sheep casings, which tend to be harder to work with anyway, because they are just more fragile.

    One more thing...

    I'll be watching!
    MAK 1 Star General #651 - 2014 Model
    former owner - MAK 1 Star General #171
    22.5" Weber Performer with Stoven Pellet Grill attachment
    27 + year old 22.5" Weber Kettle (still works fine)
    Modified Horizontal Offset Smoker - used mainly for cold smoking.

  4. #4

    Well, the plan was to do this last Sunday, but I had forgotten about a children's Birthday Party (not mine!) that I had to go to. That ended up being an all day affair. Meat went into freezer.

    This would be a good point to pose the question: "Which cuts of meat are best suited for the home sausage maker?"
    I am not sure myself. Supposedly "pepperoni" is a "lean" sausage, though I have always thought it was rather fatty.
    I of course bought the On Sale meats including a two for one Pork Loin, and some "Sirloin" roasts. Not much fat on those. I might need to add some fat from maybe some Chuck or Pork Butt.

    Otherwise I think I should be ready to go. I need to finagle the final temp controller and humidity controller into the dry cure "Fridge" I have. I was never able to get the Arduino programmable controller and datalogging working correctly, though I suspect there is a better way, but for this time, I'm planning to do the dry cure pepperoni recipe straight out the Marianski book.

    The "chamber" is a dorm type fridge which I have holes cut into the bottom with a PC case fan mounted (will see how long the fan lasts) or sandwiched between the bottom of the fridge and a custom wooden cabinet into which an "ultrasonic" humidifier is placed. An STC-1000 temp controller and a similar designed stand-alone Humidity controller will be used to set the temperature and humidity levels. Each has its own sensing probe placed into the chamber. The fan will supply air circulation. Upper exhaust fans might be drilled into the fridge top and used to lower humidity at some point, though I suspect based on a humidity sensor I've placed in the fridge now will give me the appropriate humidity without need to lower other than just having the humidifier left off. I may purchase an inexpensive logging sensor to monitor the curing process this time, but the ultimate goal is to have a single programmable way to set each phase, including temp and fan and humidity controls, as well as duration, and data logging. I haven't figured the best way to do this yet.

    Maybe this upcoming weekend I'll have a window, but would prefer a chilly below 60 day for safer meat handling. The freeze should help eradicate some too.


  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by TrickyDick
    Supposedly "pepperoni" is a "lean" sausage, though I have always thought it was rather fatty.
    Wow, I have to agree with you. I have seen "leaner" pepperoni, but it sucks. When I tried to do a pepperoni with lean ground beef and pork, it did not have enough fat and turned out very dry and crumbly.

    I now use ground beef with AT LEAST a 20% fat content and ground pork, again with AT LEAST a 20% fat content. For good fat marbling in cured sausages, I really prefer the fat to have a course grind.

    Quote Originally Posted by TrickyDick
    I of course bought the On Sale meats including a two for one Pork Loin, and some "Sirloin" roasts. Not much fat on those. I might need to add some fat from maybe some Chuck or Pork Butt.
    I think those cuts of meat are DEFINITELY too lean for what you want to do. Check with your butcher to see if they have some fatty pork trimmings. Pork fat has a couple benefits over beef fat: 1) It has a higher melting point (won't make much difference for dry-cured, but great for hot-smoked sausages). 2) Pork fat is easier to digest than beef fat.
    MAK 1 Star General #651 - 2014 Model
    former owner - MAK 1 Star General #171
    22.5" Weber Performer with Stoven Pellet Grill attachment
    27 + year old 22.5" Weber Kettle (still works fine)
    Modified Horizontal Offset Smoker - used mainly for cold smoking.

  6. #6
    Yeah, I'm going to stop at the store today so I will see what I can find. I might use the meat I have and just add some fat in. I had some nice hunks of fat that came on one of the bacon slabs I did but I foolishly tossed it. It had been cured and smoked too, but had to be trimmed to slice the meaty part of the slab. I should have saved it. Hopefully this weekend I can do the pepperoni grind and stuff.

    The local Publix had not much to choose from as far as fatty cuts. I'll try to check another butcher shop, but the best I could score was some fresh pork bellies. I've NEVER seen them before at this chain. Not the fattiest of bellies I've ever seen. Terrible price too (4.29/lb..)

    Any other suggestions on which cuts from pork will be fattiest? I'm thinking an untrimmed shoulder would be the easiest to find.
    Last edited by TrickyDick; 02-03-2016 at 06:59 PM.

  7. #7
    So, Pepperoni is now in the fermentation stage.

    I ended up using the Marianski Recipe with a few modifications (or goof ups)
    Called for 70% pork/30% lean beef.
    I goofed and used 70% beef/30% pork about 10# worth. two boneless chuck roasts, one sirloin tip roast, two fresh pork bellies (hated to do that to them, but I couldn't find any other fatty pork at the supermarket!!) I ground them up with the 1/4" plate as opposed to the recommended 3/16" plate. The #22 throat made FAST work of the grinding.
    I mixed the meat in the manual meat mixer (from sausage maker dot com site) along with the spices per the recipe, including Cure #2 and the culture, T-SPX. I briefly read the instructions on the packet of the culture (which apparently will last me a long time as it says it can do 200kg of meat) and the Marianski recipe called for 1/4 tsp as opposed the the packaging suggested 1/2 tsp for 10# of meat.
    So I ended up with 10.5 lbs of meat pre-grinding.

    After mixing, I loaded my stuffer (and didn't connect the plate correctly - omitting the wing-nut and letting meat get into the threaded stem of the pusher bar...). I couldn't find "beef middles" that the recipe called for. I recall from previous sausage making efforts that the casing is the MOST CRITICAL in my opinion regarding how frustrating the stuff process is. Because of this, I decided to use fibrous casings. I picked 2-1/2" diameter x 20" long casings, with string closure one one end. I ended up getting 3 stuffed plus a partial stuffed casing. Weights were 3x2.9lb and 1x1.4lb. a 30% target shrink weight results in about 7 lbs of finished sausage and the math jives with the wet weight of my stuffed casings. I used zip ties, and and followed up with some present wrapping ribbon, lacking any proper string (thanks to my daughter who used it all without telling me it was gone, probably for some school project), to close the opposite end after the stuffing.

    So the dry cure chamber I built I have other things (homebrew) in right now. Plus the initial ferment phase calls for 90-95% Relative Humidity. I had read about an alternative method which I employed, fermenting in a water bath. I used a homebrewing food grade fermentation bucket, dangling the links into the bucket suspended by a square metal 1/4" rod I had initially bought to use as a smokestick in the MAK, and weighing them down with a bolt tied to the ribbon, otherwise they floated up, probably because of the fat. I suspended them by the strings on the casings, and put labels on the string (which I hope do not breakdown, though with only four links, three visibly larger all being in near equal weight, this won't be a problem). I filled the bucket, technically a bottling bucket with a spigot hole at the base, and plugged the hole from inside out with a stopper, and placed it in my sink in case it leaked.

    Then I grabbed my immersion cooker to place in the water bath and set it for 68. They will sit for three nights, and in the meantime, I'll clear out the dry cure chamber and prepare it for later this week when stage 2 begins.

    Stage 2 will begin by first conditioning the links by removing from water bath and wiping them dry, let sit for 1-6 hour at room temp until dry to touch. Then drying begins and I'll place them in the curing chamber set to 60-54F at 80-85% R.H. (that's relative humidity for those who were wondering) for 6-8 weeks, slowiy decreasing the relative humidity to 65-70%.

    Luckily in FL, dehumidification will probably NOT be a problem. My "chamber" has a natural RH between 45-55%, and temps 42-52. I am hoping that I'll only need to use the ultrasonic humidifier for first couple weeks. It might hold the R.H. I want with the sausages hanging without manipulation.

    I snapped some pictures along the way. I recall that I was never very good at posting pictures here. I need to figure out how to do that.

    Here is the recipe by the way for 10# meat (70% Pork/30% Beef - ground in 3/16" plate)
    salt 140g
    Cure #2 12g
    Dextrose (aka Corn Sugar) 10 g
    Sugar 30g
    Black Pepper 15g
    Paprika 30g
    Anise Seed, cracked 12.5g (man these guys are small! I had to run them through a pepper mill!)
    Cayenne 15g
    Culture T-SPX 1/4tsp

    Oh yeah. Cleanup and the whole overall process was pretty dang quick. Love those fibrous casings. Took about three hours with setup and cleanup and all. Still have gear drying to put away 5 minutes for that.
    Last edited by TrickyDick; 02-08-2016 at 09:39 AM.

  8. #8
    Ok Folks! Pictures hopefully going up tonight..

    The fermentation phase is complete. I spent last night trying to get the dry cure chamber functional, with partial success, and ironed out the problematic bad electrical crimp I didn't notice tonight. Now is functional! Not the "smart" datalogging capable setup I had planned, but so far so good, and with a little free time, I can hopefully get some datalogging capabilities. Its now in the drying phase.


    try this link for photos:

    I think its working for me at least through firefox browser.
    Last edited by TrickyDick; 02-11-2016 at 07:16 PM.

  9. #9
    Dick, my firefox won't let me view the pics. It's coming up with a security issue.

    Why not just embed the photos directly into your post? It's a lot easier to view them this way, and it's easy with FireFox and copy/paste.

    Once your photos are uploaded to the photo hosting site, right click on the photo you want to embed and click "Copy Image Location".

    Then in your post, click the "Insert Image" button (make sure the "From URL" tab is selected, NOT "From Computer"), paste the image location (you just copied), into the box, and click, "OK"

    The image tags and URl will be added for you into the post, and when you save the post the photo will show up right in the post.
    MAK 1 Star General #651 - 2014 Model
    former owner - MAK 1 Star General #171
    22.5" Weber Performer with Stoven Pellet Grill attachment
    27 + year old 22.5" Weber Kettle (still works fine)
    Modified Horizontal Offset Smoker - used mainly for cold smoking.

  10. #10


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