Tangy Summer Sausage


New member
For quite a few years been making summer sausage and while it was good, it wasn't exactly what our taste buds were looking for. A few years ago we found a recipe that we really liked but wanted to tweak it a little and add an ingredient to give it just a little tang, here is what we have come up with.

Tangy Summer Sausage

25 pound batch - 12 1/2 pounds lean beef or venison and 12 1/2 pounds semi-lean pork (the original recipe was a 50/50 mix but we like our summer sausage leaner - we changed this to 20 pounds venison and 5 pounds of pork for our liking)
1 ounce - Cure #1
12 1/2 Tablespoons - Salt
5 Tablespoons - Onion Powder
5 Tablespoons - Garlic Powder
5 Tablespoons - Black Pepper (coarsely ground)
2 1/2 Tablespoons - Mustard Seed
5 Tablespoons - Sugar
5 teaspoons - Nutmeg
5 teaspoons - Basil
5 teaspoons - Coriander Seed
2 1/2 Cups - Ice Water
1 1/2 Cups - Powdered Milk
3 ounces - Encapsulated Citric Acid (ECA) ((this was not in the original recipe, we added it for a tang taste))

First grind all meats thru a 3/16” plate(original recipe called for 3/16” we used a 3/8”). Next add all recipe ingredients except the Encapsulated Citric Acid to the meat mixture, mix well then regrind thru 3/16” plate(original recipe called for a 3/16” again but we used a 1/4”). If you want to add cheese now is your time – the cheese needs to be added before the ECA; for a 25 pound batch our taste buds like 2 1/2 to 3 pounds of Hi Temp cheese. Refrigerate overnight for the cure and spices to meld in the meat mixture.

After the meat has rested in a fridge overnight, add some water to soften up the meat mixture and mix in 3 ounces of Encapsulated Citric Acid to the meat mixture; this is what gives the tang taste to the summer sausage. The water in the mixture will help incorporate the ECA into the meat – without the water the meat will be too stiff to mix and if you over mix the ECA it will cause the capsules to burst and you won’t get the tang you are looking for; the water will also make stuffing into casings much easier.

Now it is sausage casing stuffing time.

Note: When using Encapsulated Citric Acid it is important to immediately stuff sausage mixture into summer sausage casings and start smoking soon as possible. It is NOT advised when using Encapsulated Citric Acid to add it to a meat mixture and let it refrigerate overnight, as it will alter the flavor of the sausage mixture as it will not give the tang you are looking for.

- Place stuffed casings in smoker at 130º for 2 hours with no smoke, this is the time to dry the casing so the casing and sausage can later take on smoke.

- Turn smoker up to 150º smoke for 4 hours with a light, moderate or heavy smoke(whatever you prefer). You want a slow rise in heat in order for the ECA to release as it is meant too. If you smoke to hot you will not get the right results. Then bump the heat to 170° for another hour – you can continue to smoke or not at this point.

- To finish cooking Increase smoker temperature to 190º and continue to cook until the internal meat chub temperature is at least 150º.

- Once you reach your internal temp, it is time for an ice water bath to rapidly bring down the meat temp and this will also help prevent wrinkly casings on the summer sausage. After the ice water bath hang at room temp for a couple of hours and then it can be refrigerated overnight.

- All that is left to do now is packaging for the freezer and of course taste testing!

For pellet grills, the summer sausage can be hot-smoked, but WITHOUT the ECA. We have made the recipe without the ECA and it is very good as well, just no tang flavor. http://www.pelletsmoking.com/searching-cure-26/how-smoke-sausage-pellet-grill-smoker-6367/#post68193

Last edited:


That is one nice looking pile-o-summer-sausage! I'm going to have to try this recipe and adding a little nutmeg to my recipe!

Thanks for posting this in the Sausage Recipes too!

Another trick for getting a tang is to use powdered Buttermilk instead of the powdered milk.


New member
Omit the nfdm, powdered BM and use regular cultured buttermilk. Its full of lactic acid. With doing dry cure i have found that you can use acidophilus for the fermented tang.


Omit the nfdm, powdered BM and use regular cultured buttermilk. Its full of lactic acid.

That's a good option if you you can have it, but unfortunately I can't.

The reason is "regular cultured buttermilk" from the dairy section is it isn't really buttermilk; it's acidified skim milk with carrageenan added (I can't have either). I can't do non-fat dry milk either, so eliminating that is no problem.

So, I keep and use powdered buttermilk here at the house because it's real buttermilk and I can have it (no lactose). It acts well as a binder too.

I have thought about trying sour cream. As far as I know it uses the same lactobacillus cultures used to make "buttermilk" and there are a few brands that I can use (no lactose or carrageenan). Thoughts?
Last edited:
Top Bottom