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What's a "semi-dry" sausage anyway?

Posted By: Joe Ames
Date: Thursday, July 20, 2000 at 4:15 p.m.

Semidry Sausage

Semidry sausage is usually made from pork or beef or a mixture of the two and is characterized by a moisture content averaging 40 to 45%.
A variety of sausages are included in this category such as summer sausage, goteberg, cervelat, thuringer, and holsteiner. They have excellent keeping qualities with little refrigeration because (1) some reduction in microbiological contaminants is achieved in the cooking process, (2) a high salt-to-moisture ratio contributes to retarding bacterial growth, and (3) a low pH (5.3 or less) provides the tangy flavor and serves a protective function. Good keeping quality is achieved with a pH of 4.8 to 5.0 and with a total acidity of 0.75 to 1.0% calculated as lactic acid,
Summer sausage is a good example of the handling and processing required for semidry sausages. Grind pork trimmings through a 1/4-in. plate and beef trimmings through a 1/8-in, plate. Place the ground meats in a mixer, add the salt, sugar, spices, cure, and starter culture, and mix for 2 to 3 minutes. Then regrind the mix through the 1/4-in, plate. Hold the mix for 12 to 72 hr at 40F. Then stuff into animal or cellulosic casings of approximately 4.5- to 5-lb capacity, using casings 3.5 inches in diameter and 22 in. long. Follow stuffing with a warm water shower for 2 minutes to wash the sausage surface free of any adhering particles. Smoke the encased sausage for 16 hr at 110F. Then shower with cold water for about 15 mm. Allow to stand at room temperature so the surface dries and then chill to 40F. Semidry sausages have improved shelf life if stored refrigerated rather than at room temperature.

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