There comes a certain time of year when many hunters and home cooks are making summer sausage. For hunters, this is usually in the winter; for home cooks, whenever the fancy takes them.
Regardless of when you are making summer sausage, we’re here to talk cheese.
Should you use cheese in your summer sausage, and which cheese is the best?
The answer to these questions is a resounding yes, and cheddar cheese is best. If you got your answer, thanks for stopping by. If you need more info, here you go:
Best Cheese For Summer Sausage
There is rarely a list made about cheese where cheddar doesn’t make the cut.
While the taste of cheddar is undoubtedly distinctive, it pairs well with a wide variety of ingredients.
Using cheddar in your summer sausage will add another layer of complex flavor.
The sharp flavor of cheddar won’t overpower the rest of the sausage, but you will know it is there.
Not only does cheddar work well with summer sausage it also plays nicely with other ingredients you may want to add to the sausage, particularly jalapeño.
Gouda is another semi-hard cheese that works great in summer sausage, particularly venison summer sausage.
Its sweet flavor compliments the sweetness of the venison, while its high heat tolerance allows it to keep together but still have a creamy texture.
The flavor is mild so as not to overwhelm the venison. This cheese works best on its own; if you are planning on adding chili, then cheddar or Monterey jack is a better option.
I recently wrote an article on the best cheese for venison burgers, and provolone also made it into that list.
While many of these cheeses will overlap for obvious reasons, provolone is one that works particularly well with either sausage or burgers.
Provolone is a semi-hard cheese which is one of the reasons it works well for summer sausage.
Semi-Hard cheeses like provolone melt slower than soft cheeses. This allows the cheese pieces to stay intact in the sausage.
When it comes to flavor, provolone isn’t in your face like cheddar. While sharp, it’s still mild and sophisticated with a nuttiness.
Monterey Jack cheese
If you want something milder, Monterey jack is an excellent option.
Similar to provolone, Monterey jack is a semi-hard cheese. Its flavor is mild and creamy, which compliments summer sausage, especially if you are eating it cold or with crackers.
Use pepper jack instead if you want to spice things up a little.
Pepper jack is a derivative of Monterey jack but with added spices and herbs.
It works exceptionally well for spicy summer sausage without the need for adding chili.
Swiss cheese is comparable to provolone which is why it is another great option for summer sausage.
This is another semi-hard cheese, but it melts faster than provolone.
If you are looking for something a little creamier than provolone but with a similar profile, then swiss cheese will serve you well.
Unlike provolone, swiss cheese is not very sharp and has a milder flavor and more intense nuttiness.
What to Consider When Choosing Cheese For Summer Sausage
While you could use any cheese to make your summer sausages, there are a few things to keep in mind to get decent results.
One of the most important things to keep in mind is the structure of the cheese.
Almost all of the cheeses on this list are semi-hard high-temperature; this is because they will hold better in the sausage when cooked.
High-temperature cheeses will not melt and spread around the sausage when cooked.
This allows the cheese pieces to hold their structure when cooked. Low-temperature cheese would lose its texture and spread around the sausage.
The best cheeses to pair with summer sausage are usually mild, sharp, or a mix of both.
Choosing milder cheeses allows the sausage meat to be the star of the show, and this is especially true with venison, where you’re looking to bring out the sweet earthy flavor.
It also allows for the addition of other ingredients like chilis.
Choosing a strong cheese would overwhelm the dish and be the only ingredient you would taste.