summer sausage

Next to sweets, my favorite thing on the holiday table is summer sausage (can someone please explain to me why we call it summer sausage when we eat it during the Christmas holiday??).  But not any summer sausage–my mom’s summer sausage.  Look, I’m not saying there is a thing wrong with the stuff that looks like this:


Photo by Hickory Farms

I’ve eaten this on many, many occasions, and it’s totally fine.  Good, even.

But great?

Ummm, not when you compare it to the kind you can make yourself.  I’ve gone along for years thinking this was a difficult item to make, since it requires curing salt and I’d never purchased that before, let alone used it.  Also, since I “didn’t know how” to make my own summer sausage, that meant that I could convince my mom to make it for me and then I’d stuff the extra rolls into my purse to smuggle home.

The only problem with that is that if you forget to take it out of your purse, your tube of Bare Escentuals Buxom lip gloss ends up smelling like a meat factory.  Also, you’re sort of limited to how many slices you can eat.

And since I like to eat a lot of this (as do the Tall Boy and Doodlebug), I decided it was high-time I learned to make it myself.  And guess what?  It’s not hard at all.

Don’t tell my mom.


Summer Sausage collage

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: appetizer
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons Morton Quick Cure Salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic juice (you can substitute garlic powder or granulated garlic)
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 tablespoon whole mustard seed
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper or ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  1. Combine all ingredients, working together well with your hands.
  2. Shape into three tolls about six inches long. Wrap each roll in plastic wrap and refridgerate for 24 hours.
  3. Remove wrap and place rolls on a rack in a shallow pan. Bake at 300 for one hour. Rolls will turn pink during cooking.
  4. Cool; then wrap in plastic wrap and store in fridge.