We bought a quarter of a cow earlier this year to fill up the freezer, as it's far more economical to buy in bulk than as needed. In the end, we had about 200 pounds of beef, and the cost was roughly $2.60/pound all said and done.
Now, most of that is roasts, steaks, and ground beef, with some stew meat, a brisket, and the heart and some liver thrown in as well (dogs get the heart and liver, because yuck.)
However, also in there were some packages of cubed steak, and none of us in the family much care for cube steak. Not wanting to waste it, I decided to see if I could turn it into some summer sausage for snacking.
Took two pounds of beef (one pound cube steak, one pound older stew meat from the PREVIOUS cow), and thawed them. Ran it all through my meat grinder twice on the smallest blade, then added some seasoning:
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 Tablespoons sugar based meat cure (Morton Tender Quick)
1 Tablespoon Liquid Smoke
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
3/4 cup water
Mixed all of that with the ground up meat (by hand, like you'd do for a meat loaf, so it's well mixed), then let it sit overnight in the fridge.
Then, last night, I took some fiber casings that I bought at the local Rural King Farm and Ranch store in their food-prep section -- they have an aisle that has jerky flavoring, grinders, seasonings, etc. -- and stuffed them with the meat (Poke a few holes in the casing for the fat to drip out... )
Let them hang at room temp for a couple hours, then I put them on a broiler pan (holes down) and into the oven at 170 F for the overnight. This morning, after about 9 hours in the oven, I pulled them out and set in the frigid garage to cool.
Not sure what the end result will be, but it's certainly been a fun project to try.