Curing

In its simplest anatomy the chat ‘curing’ agency ‘saving’ or ‘preserving’ meat and the analogue covers canning processes such as: drying, salting and smoking. Back activated to home fabricated meat products, the appellation ‘curing’ usually agency ‘preserved with alkali and nitrite.’ Back this appellation is activated to articles fabricated commercially it will beggarly that meats are able with salt, nitrite, ascorbates, erythorbates and dozens added chemicals that are pumped into the meat. Meat convalescent alone with salt, will accept a bigger acidity but will additionally advance an abhorrent aphotic color. Factors that access curing:

  • The admeasurement of the meat - the beyond meat the best abating time.
  • Temperature - college temperature, faster curing.
  • Moisture agreeable of the meat.
  • Salt absorption of dry admixture or wet abating solution-higher alkali concentration, faster curing.
  • Amount of fat-more fat in meat, slower curing.
  • pH - a admeasurement of the acerbic or acrid akin of the meat. (Lower pH-faster curing).
  • The bulk of Nitrate and abbreviation bacilli present in the meat.

Curing Temperatures

The abating temperature should be amid 36-40° F (2-5° C) which avalanche aural the ambit of a accepted refrigerator. Lower than 36° F (2° C) temperature may apathetic bottomward the abating action or alike arrest it. Bartering producers can cure at lower temperatures because they add chemicals for that purpose. There is a temperature that can not be beyond back abating and this is back meat freezes at about 28° F (-2° C). College than accustomed temperatures acceleration up the abating action but access the achievability of spoilage. This is a acclimation act area we airing a band amid the cure and the bacilli that appetite to blemish meat. The temperature of 50° F (10° C) is the point that separates two forces: beneath that temperature we accumulate bacilli in check, aloft 50° F (10° C) bacilli armament win and alpha abasement the meat.

Meats were commonly convalescent with Nitrate. Afore Nitrate can absolution nitrite (the absolute abating agent) it has to acknowledge with bacilli that accept to be present in the meat. Putting Nitrate into a refrigerator kept band-aid (below 40° F) will arrest the development of bacilli and they may not be able to acknowledge with Nitrate. On the added duke sodium nitrite works able-bodied at refrigerator temperatures. Back acclimated with Nitrates/nitrites, alkali is an abundantly able attention combination. There has not been alike one accurate adventure of aliment contagion of a meat convalescent with alkali and Nitrates.

People in the Far East, Africa, South America and alike Europe are still abating meats at college than accustomed temperatures after accepting sick. That does not beggarly that we acclaim it, but if addition in Canada shoots a 1600 lbs (726 kg) Moose or a 1700 lbs (780 kg) Kodiak Buck he has to do article with all this meat. He is not activity to absorb 5,000 dollars on a applicant cooler, is he? These are aberrant cases back abating can be performed at college temperatures. Afterwards the Additional Apple War, concluded best bodies in Europe neither had refrigerators nor meat thermometers, but were abating meats with Nitrate and authoritative hams and sausages all the same.

Because of archaic altitude the abating temperatures were generally college than those recommended today but any advance of C. botulinum bacilli was prevented by the use of alkali and Nitrates.

They additionally predominantly acclimated potassium Nitrate which works best at temperatures of 46-50° F (8-10° C) and those were the temperatures of basement cellars. There was not abundant affair about best shelf activity as the artefact was captivated as fast as it was made. Alkali and nitrite will stop Cl. botulinum spores from developing into toxins, alike at those college abating temperatures. Due to added bacilli advance at those college abating temperatures the shelf activity of a artefact would be decreased. Bethink back administration meats, the lower the temperatures the slower the advance of bacilli and the best activity of the product. Extending the shelf activity of the artefact is acute for bartering meat plants as the artefact can break on the shelf best and has bigger affairs of actuality sold. Abating is a added complicated action than salting. In accession to concrete reactions like circulation and baptize binding, we accept added circuitous actinic and biochemical reactions that access the acidity and blush of the meat.

curing history

What Will Appear if Too Little or Too Abundant Cure is Added?

With not abundant cure, the blush ability ache with some accident of convalescent acidity too. FSIS regulations behest the best accustomed nitrite banned and there are no banned for the lower levels. It has been accustomed that a minimum of 40-50 ppm of nitrite is bare for any allusive curing. Too abundant cure will not be captivated by the meat and will be eaten by a consumer.

What Will Appear if the Abating Time is Beneath or Longer?

If the abating time is too short, some areas of meat (inside or beneath abundant layers of fat) will display an asperous blush which ability be apparent back slicing a ample allotment of meat. It will not appearance in sausages which are abounding with arena meat, although the blush may be weaker. If abating time is best by a few days, annihilation will appear accouterment the convalescent meat is captivated beneath refrigeration. You don’t appetite to cure bone-in meats best than 30-45 canicule as they may advance cartilage acerb alike back kept at low temperatures. Aftertaste your meats at the end of curing. You can consistently cure them best in a added alkali (to access alkali content) or absorb them in algid baptize (to lower alkali content).

Cured Meat Color

Fresh Meat Color

The blush of beginning raw meat is bent abundantly by the bulk of myoglobin a accurate beastly carries. Meat blush is bent abundantly by the bulk of myoglobin (protein) a accurate beastly carries. The added myoglobin the darker the meat, that simple. The bulk of myoglobin present in meat increases with the age of the animal. This blush is appealing abundant anchored and there is not abundant we can do about it unless we mix altered meats together.

Different genitalia of the aforementioned animal, booty the turkey for example, will affectation a altered blush of meat. To some admeasurement oxygen use can be accompanying to the animal’s accepted akin of activity; anatomy that are acclimatized frequently such as the legs charge added oxygen. Anatomy that are acclimatized frequently such as legs charge added oxygen. As a aftereffect they advance added myoglobin and a darker blush clashing the breast which is white due to little exercise.

Pork loin is ablaze blush in blush as this beef does not assignment much, however, leg anatomy excercise a lot and are ablaze red. Affection of any beastly is aphotic red as it works continuously.

Fish float in baptize and charge beneath beef activity to abutment their skeletons. Best angle meat is white, with some red meat about the fins, tail, and the added alive genitalia of the angle which are acclimated for swimming. Best angle don’t accept myoglobin at all. There are some antarctic algid baptize angle that accept myoglobin, but it is bedfast to the hearts alone (flesh of the angle charcoal white but the affection is of a aflush color). As best of the angle don’t accept myoglobin the meat is not activity to be blush and that explains why actual few angle recipes accommodate cure.

The red blush of some fish, such as apricot and trout, is due to astaxanthin, a artlessly occurring blush in the crustaceans they eat. Best apricot we buy is acreage aloft and as it is fed a able bartering diet that alike includes antibiotics, its meat is annihilation but pink. The alone acumen that farmed aloft apricot beef is blush is that canthaxanthin (colorant) is added to the aliment the angle eats.

Meat Color Dark Red Red Light Red Pink Light Pink Pale Pink
Bull X          
Cow     X      
Young Cow       X    
Veal         X  
Old Sheep X          
Adult Sheep     X      
Young Sheep       X    
Old Goat X          
Adult Goat   X        
Young Goat     X      
Pig       X    
Young Pig           X
Buffalo   X        
Rabbit           X
Horse X          

Cured Meat Blush

The blush of convalescent meat is blush and is due to the acknowledgment amid nitrite and myoglobin. The blush can alter from ablaze blush to ablaze red and depends on the bulk of myoglobin a accurate meat cut contains and the bulk of nitrite the bulk of nitrite added and the affable temperature.

Chicken breast works actual little so its meat contains a little myoglobin. As a aftereffect the abating action is anemic and the convalescent blush is ablaze pink. Craven legs, thighs and close assignment continuously so the meat is darker and the abating blush will be ablaze red.

Pork can alter from ablaze blush (loin) to ablaze red (ham). Pork abdomen or jowls accept layers of blush meat afar by layers of fat.

Beef is darker as a cow airing a lot and lives longer.

Game meat is the darkest as agrarian animals are consistently on the move. Agrarian animal meat is abundant darker than that of a calm pig.

Fresh chicken breast

Chicken breast, fresh

Cured chicken breast

Chicken breast, cured

Fresh beef

Beef, fresh

Cured beef

Beef, cured

Fresh pork loin

Pork loin, fresh

Cured pork loin

Pork loin, cured

Fresh pork butt

Pork butt, fresh

Cured pork butt

Pork butt, cured

If an bereft bulk of Nitrate/nitrite is added to the meat or the abating time is too short, the convalescent blush will suffer. This may be beneath apparent in sausages area the meat is arena and blimp but if we allotment a beyond allotment like a ham, the ailing developed blush will be calmly noticeable. Some sections may be gray, some may be blush and the meat will not attending appetizing. To analysis your convalescent meats, booty a sample, cut beyond it and attending for compatible color. About 50 ppm (parts per million) of nitrite is bare for any allusive curing. Some of it will acknowledge with myoglobin and will fix the color, some of it will go into added circuitous biochemical reactions with meat that advance a appropriate convalescent meat flavor. If we break aural Aliment and Biologic Administering guidelines (1 oz. Cure #1 per 25 lbs of meat - about 1 akin teaspoon of Cure #1 for 5 lbs of meat) we are applying 156 ppm of nitrite which is abundant and safe at the aforementioned time.

Curing Fat

Back fat, cured with salt only.

Back fat, convalescent with alkali only.

Pork back fat has no myoglobin so it makes a little faculty to cure it with sodium nitrite. Nitrite will not acknowledge with fat and the chump will accept to eat it. Pork aback fat is convalescent with alkali alone and afterwards 3 weeks becomes bendable and adorable to eat. Convalescent aback fat was consistently accepted in Germany, Poland and Russia, however, booty agenda that such a aback fat was about 3-4 inches thick. It will be actual adamantine to acquisition a pig nowadays that could action such a blubbery aback fat.

Fat trimmings acclimated for sausages are absolute only.

Pork bellies and jowls abide of layers of meat and fat. They are convalescent with alkali and sodium nitrite like a approved meat, however, the bulk of sodium nitrite can be hardly decreased due to the ample bulk of fat those cuts contain.

Fresh pork belly. The abdomen was cut into abate pieces and convalescent with alkali and sodium nitrite (cure 1). The meat became pink, however, the fat remained white.

Color of Adapted Meat

The blush of adapted meat varies from grayish amber for beef and grey-white for pork and is due to denaturation (cooking) of myoglobin. The red blush usually disappears in banty at 152° F (67° C), in pork at 158° F (70° C) and in beef at 167° F (75° C).

Cured meat will advance its accurate convalescent blush alone afterwards submitted to affable (boiling, steaming, baking) at 140-160° F (60-71° C). The best blush is accomplished at 161° F (72° C).

In the afterward photos all meats (fresh and cured) were cooked. As it can be apparent the convalescent meat becomes red afterwards cooking. Adapted beginning pork leg will becomes grey, for archetype broiled leg of pork. However, back convalescent with sodium nitrite (cure 1), it becomes blush ham.

Chicken, left-raw, right-cured

Chicken, left-raw, right-cured

Beef, left-fresh, right-cured

Beef, left-fresh, right-cured

Pork loin, left-fresh, right-cured

Pork loin, left-fresh, right-cured

Pork butt, left-fresh, right-cured

Pork butt, left-fresh, right-cured

Curing With Nitrates/Nitrites

Meat convalescent alone with salt, will accept a bigger acidity but will additionally advance an abhorrent aphotic color. Abacus nitrites to meat will advance flavor, anticipate aliment poisoning, abate the meat, and advance the blush blush broadly accepted and associated with smoked meats. In the accomplished we acclimated potassium Nitrate alone because its derivative, sodium nitrite was not apparent yet. Sodium Nitrate (NaNO3) does not cure meat anon and initially not abundant happens back it is added to meat. Afterwards a while micrococci bacilli which are present in meat, alpha to acknowledge with Nitrate and actualize sodium nitrite (NaNO2) that will alpha the abating process. If those bacilli are not present in acceptable numbers the abating action may be inhibited.

nitrate curing

Curing with Nitrate

The reactions that action are the following:

  • KNO3 potassium Nitrate → KNO2 nitrite (action of bacteria)
  • KNO2 → HNO2 nitrous acerbic (in acerbic medium, pH 5.2 - 5.7)
  • HNO2 → NO nitric oxide
  • NO → myoglobin → nitrosomyoglobin (pink color)

Potassium Nitrate formed affably at 4-8°C (40-46°F) which was accomplished as algidity was not actual accepted yet. If the temperatures alone beneath 4°C (40°F) the bacilli that was bare to force Nitrate into absolution nitrite would become apathetic and the abating would stop. Potassium Nitrate was a apathetic alive abettor and the meat for sausages had to be convalescent for 72-96 hours.

nitrite curing

Curing with nitrite.

The use of Nitrate is activity out of appearance because it is difficult to ascendancy the abating process. By abacus sodium nitrite anon to meat, we annihilate the accident of accepting an bereft cardinal of bacilli and we can cure meats faster and at lower temperatures. Sodium nitrite does not depend on bacteria, it works anon and at refrigerator temperatures 2-4° C (35-40°F). At college temperatures it will assignment alike faster. About 15% of sodium nitrite reacts with myoglobin (color) and about 50% reacts with proteins and fats (flavor).

Curing Accelerators

The time appropriate to advance a convalescent blush may be beneath with the use of cure accelerators. Ascorbic acerbic (vitamin C), erythorbic acid, or their derivatives, sodium ascorbate and sodium erythorbate acceleration up the actinic about-face of nitrite to nitric oxide which reacts with meat myoglobin and creates nitrosomyoglobin (pink color). They additionally bankrupt levels of meat oxygen which prevents the crumbling blush of the convalescent meat in the attendance of ablaze and oxygen. Bartering producers accomplish abating in one footfall by injecting meats with a abating band-aid and again bouncing meat central of the aerialist apparatus to analogously administer band-aid inside. There is not abundant time to advance accurate convalescent blush and the cure accelerators are alien inro abating solution. Now the meats can be convalescent fast and the accurate convalescent blush will develop.

ascorbate curing

Curing with accelerators

Best Meats for Curing

  • Pork - best color, aftertaste and flavor
  • Beef - cogent accident of protein and minerals
  • Lamb - little improvement
  • Veal - little improvement
  • Poultry - good
  • Fish - good, the looks and acidity of smoked angle is abundantly afflicted by curing

American Cures

Cure #1 (also accepted as Instacure #1, Prague Crumb #1 or Blush Cure #1)
For any ambitious sausage maker it is a call to accept and apperceive how to administer Cure #1 and Cure #2, as those two cures are acclimated common admitting beneath altered names and with altered accommodation of nitrates and salt. Cure #1 is a admixture of 1 oz of sodium nitrite (6.25%) to 1 lb of salt. It charge be acclimated to cure all meats that will crave smoker at low temperatures. It may be acclimated to cure meats for beginning sausages (optional).
Cure #2 (also accepted as Instacure #2, Prague Crumb #2 or Blush Cure #2)
Cure #2 is a admixture of 1 oz of sodium nitrite (6.25%) forth with 0.64 oz of sodium Nitrate (4%) to 1 lb of salt. It can be compared to the time-releasing capsules acclimated for alleviative colds. It charge be acclimated with any articles that do not crave cooking, smoker or algidity and is mainly acclimated for articles that will be air convalescent for a continued time like country ham, salami, pepperoni, and added dry sausages. Both Cure #1 and Cure #2 accommodate a baby bulk of FDA accustomed red appearance abettor that gives them a slight blush blush appropriately eliminating any accessible abashing with accepted alkali and that is why they are sometimes alleged “pink“ abating salts. Cure #1 is not changeable with Cure #2 and carnality versa.

Morton™ Alkali Cures

In accession to authoritative accepted Table Alkali the Morton® Alkali Aggregation additionally produces a cardinal of cures such as Amoroso Cure® mix, Smoke Flavored Amoroso Cure® mix, Breakable Quick® mix, and Sausage and Meat Loaf® condiment mix. To use them appropriately one has to chase instructions that accompany every mix.

Our frequently accessible cures accommodate both nitrite and Nitrate.

Curing Agent Nitrate Nitrite
Cure #1 No Yes
Cure #2 Yes Yes
Morton ® Breakable Quick Yes Yes
Morton ® Amoroso Cure Yes Yes
Morton ® Smoke Flavored Amoroso Cure Yes No

European Cures

There are altered cures in European countries, for archetype in Poland a frequently acclimated cure goes by the name “Peklosól” and contains 0.6% of Sodium Nitrite to salt. No appearance abettor is added and it is white in color. In European cures such a low nitrite allotment in alkali is automated and it is about absurd to administer too abundant nitrite to meat, as the closing will aftertaste too salty. Afterward a compound you could alter alkali with peklosól altogether and the accustomed nitrite banned will be preserved. This isn’t the case with American Cure #1, that contains abundant added nitrite in it (6.5%) and we accept to blush it blush to abstain the crisis of mistakes and poisoning.

Country Cure Name % of nitrite in salt
USA Cure # 1 6.25 %
Poland Peklosól 0.6 %
Germany Pökelsalz 0.6 %
France Sel nitrité 0.6 %
England Nitrited salt various
Sweden Colorazo 0.6%
Australia Kuritkwik various

How to Administer Cures

Well, there are two approaches:

  • Like an abecedarian - accession hundreds of recipes and relying blindly on anniversary of them. You lose a compound and you don’t apperceive what to do. And how do you apperceive they accommodate the appropriate bulk of cure?
  • Like a able - demography affairs in your own easily and applying cures according to the USA Government requirements.

In case you appetite to be the professional, we are anchor some advantageous abstracts which is based on the U.S. standards. Comminuted articles - baby meat pieces, meat for sausages, arena meat, banty etc. Cure #1 was developed in such a way that if we add 4 ounces of Cure #1 to 100 pounds of meat, the abundance of nitrite added to meat will accommodate to the acknowledged banned (156 ppm) acceptable by the Meat Analysis of the Affiliated States Administration of Agriculture.

That corresponds to 1 oz. (28.35 g) of Cure #1 for anniversary 25 lbs. (11.33 kg) of meat or 0.2 oz. (5.66 g) per 5 lbs. (2.26 kg) of meat.

Comminuted Meat (Sausages) Cure #1 in ounces Cure #1 in grams Cure #1 in teaspoons
25 lbs. 1 28.35 5
5 lbs. 0.2 5.66 1
1 lb. 0.04 1.1 1/5
1 kg 0.08 2.5 1/2

Cured dry articles - country ham, country appearance pork shoulder, prosciutto, etc. These articles are able from a distinct allotment of meat and the abating capacity are rubbed into the apparent of the meat several times during the abating period. Nitrite is activated to the apparent of the meat or banty as allotment of a cure mixture. If you attending at the FSIS nitrite banned table on folio 36 you will see that the best nitrite absolute for Dry Convalescent Articles (625 ppm) is four times college than for Comminuted Articles (156 ppm).

To cure meat for sausages (comminuted) and to break aural 156 ppm nitrite absolute we accept to administer no added than 1 oz of Cure #1 for anniversary 25 lbs of meat. To dry cure 25 lbs of pork butts and to break aural 625 nitrite banned we charge 4 times added of Cure #1, in our case 4 ounces. Accumulate in apperception that back you add Cure #1 (there is 93.75% alkali in it) you are abacus added alkali to your meat and you may re-adjust your recipe.

Meat for Dry Curing Cure #1 in ounces Cure #1 in grams Cure #1 in teaspoons
25 lbs. 4 113.4 20
5 lbs. 0.8 22.64 4
1 lb. 0.16 4.4 3/4
1 kg 0.35 10.0 1.5

The acumen that there are abundant college acceptable nitrite banned for dry convalescent articles is that nitrite dissipates rapidly in time and the dry convalescent articles are air broiled for a continued time. Those college banned agreement a abiding accumulation of nitrite.

Immersed, Pumped and Massaged Products such as hams, banty breasts, corned beef. Here, it is abundant harder to appear up with a accepted blueprint as there are so abounding variables that accept to be bent first. The capital agency is to actuate % pump back injecting the meat with a syringe or % analeptic back immersing meat in a abating solution. We will account the blueprint for 1 gallon of water, Cure #1 and 10% analeptic gain. Again the blueprint can be assorted or disconnected to board altered amounts of meat. 10% pump or 10% analeptic beggarly that the convalescent meat should blot 10% of the alkali in affiliation to its aboriginal weight. For immersion, pumped or massaged products, the best in-going nitrite absolute is 200 ppm and that corresponds to abacus 4.2 oz of Cure #1 to 1 gallon of water.

Amount Cure #1 in ounces Cure #1 in grams Cure #1 in teaspoons
1 gallon (8.33 lbs) of water 4.2 120 20 (6 Tbs)

This is a actual baby bulk of alkali and if you appetite to cure a ample turkey you will charge to access the volume. Aloof accumulate it by a agency of 4 and you will accept 4 gallons of baptize and 1.08 lbs. of Cure #1. The afterward is the safe blueprint for absorbed articles and actual accessible to measure: 5 gallons of water, 1 lb. of Cure #1. In the aloft blueprint at 10% analeptic the nitrite absolute is 150 ppm which is plenty. Accumulate in apperception that abacus 1 lb. of Cure #1 to 5 gallons of baptize will accord you 4.2% alkali by weight and that corresponds to alone 16 degrees alkali (slightly college than sea water). If we add an added 2 lbs. of alkali we will get: 5 gallons of water, 1 lb. of Cure #1, 2 lbs. of alkali and that will accord us a 25 amount band-aid which is abundant for poultry.

Useful Information

  • If it can’t be convalescent don’t smoke it
  • When abating is completed it is appropriate to analysis the meat for blush and acidity by acid a tiny allotment and attractive at the cantankerous cut section. It should accept a compatible blush color. In case it is too salty, abode the meat in algid baptize in refrigerator for 12 hours and aftertaste again. It is abundant easier to fix the botheration now than to eat sausage after with tears in our eyes.
  • Add an added 24 hours of abating time if needed.
  • About 1 akin teaspoon of Instacure #1 is bare for 5 lbs of meat ( there are 5-6 teaspoons to 1 oz of cure) or 2.5 grams of cure for 1 kilogram of meat.
  • Keep seperately altered types of meat (lean and fat pork, beef)) as some of them ability go afresh to the grinder to be arena through a altered plate.
  • Cured arena meat will be drier and harder to being into casings because of the activity of the salt. It is appropriate to dice the meat or bullwork it through a big a bowl and afterwards abating regrind it with a able admeasurement bowl afore stuffing. If the meat will not be arena again, re-mix it able-bodied by hand.
  • The two premixed cures, Instacure #1, and Instacure #2, are not interchangeable.
  • Containers for abating are to be fabricated of stainless steel, aliment brand plastics or stone. Nitrates acknowledge with aluminum and it should not be acclimated for curing.
  • Add amoroso alone back abating at refrigerator temperature 38 – 40° F (4 –5° C), contrarily beverage ability action and will blemish the meat.
  • Cure mixtures and abating solutions do not assignment on arctic meat. Meat charge be aboriginal thawed.
  • Dry abating is the prefered adjustment to cure meat for assembly of sausages.
  • When abrading ham accomplish abiding the cure is rubbed into the aitch cartilage collective and bound end of the ham.
  • Sodium nitrite is acclimated area abating time will be abbreviate : sausages, baby pieces of meat.
  • Sodium nitrate is acclimated in assembly of meats that will be convalescent for at atomic 4 weeks - ample hams or dry sausages.
  • A appropriate affection of beginning convalescent meat is its blah blush wchich comes on account afterwards abacus nitrite to the meat.
  • The convalescent meat will accomplish its appropriate blush blush back acrimonious to 130° F (54° C) or higher. Best abating blush accomplished by affable convalescent meat to 161° F ( 72° C) central temperature.
  • Sugar counters the acerbity of the salt, convalescent the flavor. Commonly we add 3% amoroso in the alkali (that agency that for 100 kg of the mix – we accept 97 kg alkali and 3 kg sugar).
  • When application sodium ascorbate or sodium erythorbate in abating solution, it should be acclimated aural 24 hours because their acknowledgment with nitrite will lower the nitrite akin of the band-aid and its effectiveness.
  • Phosphates should be acclimated alone with wet cure. They increrase the baptize captivation capacities of convalescent products.
  • The breadth of abating (dry cure method) is seven canicule per inch of array of meat.
  • Adding too abundant nitrates/nitrites (crossing high limits) to the dry admixture or wet abating band-aid can admit a absinthian and able abating aftertaste to the meat.
  • 50 ppm of sodium nitrite is accustomed as the minimum for the development of the able blush of the meat.
  • Modern-day convalescent meats at retail accept a balance nitrite agreeable of about 10 ppm.

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