My youngest son & me

My youngest son & me

About me

My name is Tanja (Sater) Miller and I'm excited about sharing my journey of converting my favorite recipes to gluten free! I am not a fancy cook - I prefer just a casual, fun meal. I am married with grown children (and have small grandchildren) & 3 dogs. I work full time as a registered nurse & I am a geek. Yes, I love Star Trek, Star Wars, Fringe, Firefly, Farscape and most of the other Scify shows. You will probably see a little of my geek side come out once in a while! Please join me on my journey of cooking, baking & converting every day recipes into yummy gluten free meals that everyone can enjoy (not just those with a gluten allergy!) Don't be shy about checking out my recipes....I have the gluten free version along with the regular recipe that I adapted from!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Summer Sausage

Summer Sausage. I can't imagine a Christmas Eve or New Year's Eve without my dad's recipe for summer sausage. It is super easy to make and I like that it doesn't have all the funky preservatives that you get from the store bought versions. It's naturally gluten free. You will be so surprised at how easy summer sausage is to make. You don't need casings or anything special for this recipe. This is a great old hillbilly recipe that our family has been making for generations.

I will include the original recipe and my version that has a more intense flavor. You can add any spices that you prefer but keep in mind that because of the curing salt added in the recipe you will want to go easy on adding any spice blends that include salt or your summer sausage may turn out extremely salty! I generally use lean ground beef for the recipe but you can use ground game meat or a mixture of hamburger and pork. You can also use ground chicken if you prefer. The recipe is flexible like that. (Most of our family recipes are very flexible. Sometimes you just have to improvise with the ingredients you have available). The key ingredient in this recipe is curing salt. I use the Morton Tender Quick brand. I have a difficult time finding it at our local stores in Arizona but you can order it online or ask your grocer to special order it for you. I stock up when I go to Ohio. I usually find it on the bottom shelf in the salt aisle. It runs just under $5 for a 2 pound bag and it will last for a very long time since you only use a couple of tablespoons per recipe. I store it in a glass jar. You can sometimes find curing salt at hunting supply stores but you will generally pay a lot more money for it. You might also be able to find it at specialty meat markets. Ask your butcher!

I have my second summer sausage in the oven right now. The one I made for Christmas Eve is long gone and we are wanting one that is a little spicier for New Years Eve. I really wanted one with some jalapeno and cheddar cheese blend but my mom doesn't like that flavor so I tamed it down a little. Just don't tell her I added a little chipotle chile powder! :) I even take a baggie full of my custom spice blend when we go on vacation to a condo that has an oven. It is so simple to make and it is a great snack for evenings or protein breakfast on the go! Sometimes we just want a light dinner of summer sausage and cheese after a big lunch or a tiring day of sight seeing. I like it because I know it doesn't contain gluten like some of the lunch meat, it is more economical and absolutely delicious!

Summer Sausage Recipe:
  • 2 pounds of raw ground hamburger or game meat (you can substitute ground chicken or mix in some ground pork if you prefer)
  • 2 tablespoons of curing salt (I use Morton Tender Quick)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Liquid Smoke
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder NOT GARLIC SALT! (I add at least 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper (I add at least 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 cup water (I sometimes add BBQ sauce or broth instead for extra flavor!)

The above recipe is my dad's original basic recipe. You can add other spices like I do or add finely chopped cheese and jalapenos which we sometimes will do too. In my version today I followed the above recipe but also added the following spices:
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. chipotle chile powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder or finely crushed onion
  • 1/4 tsp. ground mustard powder
  • 1 tsp. beef bouillon (gluten free)
  • 2 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
Mix all the ingredients together well. (I just mix it with clean hands so I can mix all the spices together really good). Roll into a log shape. Wrap in foil or plastic wrap. Refrigerate about 24 hours. Remove plastic wrap or foil. Bake in either a broiler pan or a cookie rack on top of a cookie sheet with edges so the meat drippings will drain and catch in the pan so you don't cause a fire in your oven!) Oven temperature should be 300 degrees. Bake 70-80 minutes until lightly golden. Cool and wrap in plastic wrap or foil. Store in refrigerator. (It will keep several weeks in your refrigerator!) Slice & serve!

This is the brand of curing salt I use
Ready to mix all the spices and curing salt together!

All mixed up and rolled into a log shape

For great appetizer you can serve with gluten free crackers and cheese or use the summer sausage slice to top with cheese ball, cheese spreads or any other topping instead of crackers. It makes a great presentation on a platter! I love this recipe because not only is it absolutely delicious but it is great to serve guests because everyone can eat it...even your gluten free guests!

One of the summer sausages ready to slice. It has ribbons of spices throughout!

Summer sausage and cheese plate

I use the summer sausage in in place of a cracker for cheese balls for a fun and elegant appetizer

I have been asked to share this recipe many times. I decided to add it to my gluten free blog since it is easy to make and it reminds me of my dad during the holidays. He is greatly missed and this appetizer reminds me of him.

Happy Holidays!

Gluten Free Casually


  1. I'm new to this - But forget the cooking i want the dog!!
    Janet/Surprise. az

    1. Glad you enjoyed the pictures of my dogs. I know it's cheesy but...they are my blog dogs! LOL