While at Underground Meats I tried a summer sausage made with 50% beef hearts in the mix. This was an older recipe that the man had learned from his first job at a multi-generation meat plant, where the grandfather of the company would save the beef hearts for this recipe. This was my inspiration, but I had one problem: no heart. I thought I still had a heart, somewhere in the freezer, but it was clearly long gone. Regular readers of this blog will realize I'm being completely literal, not metaphorically poetic.
|Rising Acid: Fermento|
You can raise the acidity in two ways - use a meat curing culture, like FR-M-52, or use a product called Fermento. I've never used Fermento and was curious to try it. Fermento is a blend of cultured whey and skim milk, which seems like an easy way to get the lactic acid bacteria you would normally get from a living culture like FR-M-52, which is full of Lactobacillus bacteria. Plus, I've been reading about pickling vegetables with whey, so this seemed like an interesting alternative.
Aside from the curing time in the fridge, the rest of the steps were pretty similar to my past smoked sausage recipes. While summer sausages are normally sealed in an artificial casing, I used beef middles, as that's what was on hand. It still gave me a 2-3" diameter on the finished product, and frankly I didn't find them hard to peel at all. I'll continue use them in the future, rather than make a special purchase of collagen casings.
Peeling off the outer casing, I was pleased to see a rosy pink interior dotted with small bits of white fat. It's funny, but after ragging on the commercial summer sausage I was happy my finished sausage looked like a "professional" product.