First smoke done, now advice needed for next attempt

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by pipelinegypsy, Jan 10, 2016.

  1. pipelinegypsy

    pipelinegypsy Fire Starter

    Hello everyone,

    I am totally new to smoking. My first attempt was yesterday and I think it could have gone much better, so I am hoping someone can tell me where I went wrong. Yesterday I did some Andouille and today I am doing some venison links. I have a Masterbuilt 30in electric smoker. I let my sausage hang out on the counter while I got the smoker ready, then put it in resting on the racks, mostly in coils, but not touching one another. I would have preferred to hang them, but couldn't figure out how to do that and fit them all in. I let them go at 130 degrees for 1 hour with the damper fully open, then added 1/2 cup wood chips and some hot water to the water pan, and kept them at 130 for 2 more hours, damper closed. There was still some chips left after 2 hours, but I added another 1/4 cup anyway, and increased the temp to 140. I increased it by 10 degrees every hour till the sausages reached 155 degrees. I never added any more wood, but it continued to smoke the entire time... smoke time about 7 hours I think. I couldn't be happier with the taste (patting myself on the back for my first recipe). The smoke is a little heavy, but I was hoping for that since this sausage will be used mainly for adding to dishes... gumbo, jambalaya, red beans & rice, and the like. So I am hoping for some help with the following issues/questions...
    • I am confused about the adding of water. From what I gathered it's best to use it BUT, if the reason for putting the sausages in alone for the first hour is to make sure the casings are dry in order to absorb the smoke, why add the water when you add the smoke as that will only make the casings moist again? 
    • I made some fresh brats earlier in the week and after grilling them, the casings had that perfect "snap" and were easy to eat. After smoking this Andouille, the casings are thick, tough, and chewy. Is that just how they will be? I used natural hog casings, the same kind for both.
    • My biggest issue with this smoke is the unevenness of the cook/browning. The parts of the sausage that was on the outside of the racks came out nice and brown, but still moist and tender. The parts on the inside barely changed color at all. As I said before I would have preferred to hang them but didn't see how I could fit them all in. Are there any good pictures out there that can give me an idea of the best way to do this? And would hanging them have prevented this anyway? All of he links were very loosely coiled, with at least 1/2 inch between all the pieces. I will try to add a pic. 
    Thank you in advance for any tips and advice Y'all can offer!! 

  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Tasty looking sausage.

    The method you used is pretty close to what I do. I do not use water in any of my smokers. I prefer the results I get from a dry smoke chamber. I prefer to hang sausages when smoking.

    I usually will stuff the sausages and then let them bloom overnight in the fridge.

    For the first hour I run around 130, no smoke, all vents wide open. At hour two I add smoke and 10 degrees. Once again all vents wide open. If it's really windy I close down the lower intake vents, but always leave the upper exhaust vent wide open.

    I increase the temp 10 every hour until the pit reaches 180. I apply smoke the entire time. I continue until the IT of the sausage reaches 156.

    After smoking I allow them to cool and I hang them in the fridge for a few days to mellow before serving or packing.

    As for the snap of the casing, fresh grilled sausages will always have the snap. The smoking process creates a different texture.

    You don't mention what's in your recipe, hopefully cure is one of the ingredients. It is required for this method of smoking.
  3. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

  4. pipelinegypsy

    pipelinegypsy Fire Starter

    Thanks for the comments guys. dirtsailor2003 I did indeed use a cure... prague #1, 1 tsp/lb. Thank you tropics for the pics on the rack. When I did my venison sausage today I sort of fashioned a "rack" by weaving some butcher's twine on the top rack and tying the links to that. I didn't gets pics this time, but they all came out MUCH better. The next thing I want to work on is the texture of the meat, but all in all I think my first attempts were pretty successful. I'm so glad I have lots of room in my freezer cuz I am really going to enjoy filling it up with my latest obsession!
  5. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I hope this is a typo ?? the actual ratio is 1 tsp per 5 lbs of meat....please tell me it's a typo....
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2016
  6. bfilipowski

    bfilipowski Fire Starter

    Omg! Pleas be a typo!
  7. pipelinegypsy

    pipelinegypsy Fire Starter

    Well that was embarrassing... LOL Take it easy guys, yes that was a mistake! I should know better than to post anything after a few glasses of wine haha. I guess in my mind I was thinking 1 tsp per recipe because, having the cure in mind, I wrote all of my recipes to be in 5lb batches. Sorry to give you such a fright. I did get a pic this morning so I will post it. Let's see... what's next? Tasso maybe?? Hmmmmm...

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