Drying sausage is a great way to preserve meat, but it also adds a new texture and consistency. It rehydrates well in soups and does well on its own if you're planning a long hiking trip. The process of drying sausage is actually dehydrating it--taking the excess liquid out of the meat. Dehydrating can occur either in an oven or in a dehydrator. Test that the method you use can maintain the temperature well over a prolonged period of time as a drop in temperature can increase the chance of bacteria living on in your sausage, particularly if the meat was hunted and not purchased in a supermarket.
Things You'll Need
- Cutting board
- Cooking thermometer
- Plastic bag or glass jar for storing
- Oven or dehydrator
- Lean sausage
Preheat the oven or dehydrator to 145 degrees Fahrenheit one day in advance. Leave it on for 8 hours and test its temperature regularly with a cooking thermometer. If it loses heat, don't use it to dehydrate meat. It will not kill off the salmonella or other bacteria potentially living in your meat. If your equipment holds its temperature, proceed to the next step.
Lay the sausage on a cutting board. Slice it into 1/4-inch strips.
Preheat the oven or dehydrator to 145 degrees Fahrenheit. When the oven or dehydrator has reached the right temperature, lay the strips of sausage on the rack or slats.
Dehydrate the sausage for four to 10 hours, checking on it regularly. When the sausage is pliable but not brittle, it is ready.
Put the sausage in a plastic bag or a glass jar and leave it open. Let it continue to dry for 24 hours before sealing.