Best Smoker for Cured Sausage?

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by perdurabo, Dec 30, 2013.

  1. perdurabo

    perdurabo Newbie

    I've started making my own sausage using a 1hp electric grinder and a LEM stuffer.  I've got a copy of Rytek Kutas' book and have been doing my homework as much as possible.  I've made some fresh pork and venison breakfast sausage but I really want to try my hand at making smoked link sausage.

    I currently own a custom built wood fueled smoker thats a 55 gallon drum set vertically with dampers at the bottom for smoking fresh meats like brisket, etc.  However, all of the recipes I have seen for smoking cured sausage say that you should not exceed 165 degrees when smoking sausage.  Since temperature control on the wood fired unit is not very controllable, I need some other kind of smoker to make sausage with.  I see lots of these small electric units that look like dorm fridges, but reading the comments, they seem to have trouble keeping smoke going at low temperatures.  I've also seen these cold smoke generating units like the Smoke Daddy that can produce lots of cold smoke at low temps, but from what I understand you need SOME heat to get the sausage up to 152 degrees or so internally, so that doesn't help me much either... plus it looks like the Smoke Daddy is a PITA to get started and to keep clean.

    Is there a way to easily convert my 55gal drum vertical wood smoker to electric or propane in such a way that I can precisely control the temp to produce smoke between 160-165 degrees?  Would it be easier to buy a separate standalone propane or electric smoker for this?  If so, which ones would be the best at making sufficient smoke at low temps like 165 degrees and that wouldn't need constant attention to keep at the right temp?  As for fuel, I have access to LOTS of free mesquite and post oak on my own land (Im from central TX, we prefer to smoke with post oak and grill with mesquite), but making it into small chips would likely be a PITA, so something that can smoke well with larger chunks would be ideal.

    Many thanks in advance
  2. I would get a Masterbuilt 30 or 40 inch.  They have great customer support and issues you might have, one phone call or email and they have the fix on the way. 

    I own a 30 inch MES and the one issue I did have with it so far, one phone call and 3 days later the new fix was delivered.

    Temperature control on electric smoker is a no brainer, I have done many smokes at 100 to 120 degrees and higher, with no problem.  My MES came with remote, it works great.
  3. I use hot plates in my smoker when doing sausage and it works like a charm. Get a amazen pellet smoker from Todd here on SMF and youre good to go. Todd's customer service is second to NONE he will take care of you. You can get a dual thermometer from him as well if you dont already have one.

    Hope this helps!

  4. steevieg

    steevieg Fire Starter

    I got a 30" MES just for the purpose of smoking sausage and drying Jerky.  Works like a charm.
  5. coffee_junkie

    coffee_junkie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Great outdoors smokey mountain smoker (big block) propane smoker with the needle valve mod. That thing will fit 30 lbs of sausage at once and the needle valve mod will allow for good control. The other thing I would do is purchase an AMAZN Pellet tube smoker. There are other mods you could do with this setup to make it a great smoker for sausage - among any other BBQ you wish to make.
  6. Here's some Venison (TOP) and Wild Boar Sausage (BOTTOM) I made last weekend for a buddy of mine.


  7. perdurabo

    perdurabo Newbie

    Down here in TX pelletized wood is pretty much nonexistent, or at least I've never seen it in stores.  Down here there's pretty much no use for pellet stoves for heating.   I have nearly 30 acres of mesquite and post oak that I can just pick up for free so I'd prefer a solution that lets me use my own wood.
  8. I hear you! So it is in Hawaii I was kinda stuck until I found this awesome site and Todd's smoke generators. Im in the same boat as you my friend although we dont have Oak as you do. Mostly just Kiawe (mesquite) and some fruit woods.  I've found that its very time consuming doing sausage using wood fires due to temp control. You dont want to get temps up too high or your fat will render and leak out of your sausage ruining it IMO.  I'm not saying it cant be done been doing it for years just that it's a little more time consuming.

    Once I moved into a  townhouse complex I wasnt allowed to use wood so that's when I began looking into other methods that still allowed me to smoke my foods.

    Goodluck on your search and be sure to let us know how it turned out.

  9. perdurabo

    perdurabo Newbie

    In addition to the drum smoker, I've got an old Sausage Maker 20lb aluminum smokehouse (similar to "little chief" smoker), except that the burner and rheostat are bad and sausage maker doesn't sell replacement parts for it.

    I could just use one of the AMAZN Pellet tube smokers but I would still need a source for heat.  Are there generic hot plates out there that have either a thermostat or rheostat that could be operated from OUTSIDE the box that i could just drop in the box with the AMAZN smoker?  Whats the best way to get <165 degree heat in a generic box smoker?

    Can you just throw one of these things in the box, run the cable through the bottom and turn it on?  Seems like youd be screwing up your sausage constantly having to open the box to fiddle with the control knob:
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2013
  10. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


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