Problems this batch of snack sticks.

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by craddock, Dec 1, 2013.

  1. So we had a frustrating experience yesterday.  Made 18 lbs of SS in two different variations.   This batch was done in a new MES 40 and we hung them from the top rack.  The problem was seamed to be excessive steam.  It just billowed out of the vent like it was being pumped.   The window showed it just sheeting up from the very bottom of the smoker.   We used sawdust which was very fine that I had never used before and the Humidity was high for the Season we are having in Wisconsin.   After 7+ hours in the smoker the SS were very pale with certain exceptions that took on more smoke and got drier(ends).  It was a fairly spicy recipe that had no heat in the finished product.  I smoked them further today and dried them to kick the heat up.  I learned long ago I could take a batch of sausage and have widely varying spice levels depending on how it was cooked.  Mild to spicy out of same batch and have people swear it is not the same.  Anyway,  This batch was mostly pale, translucent casings that failed to take on smoke.  Overly moist.  The Jalapenos didn't seem cooked and the casings had no snap.  I doctored them up today and am fairly happy with the second smoke.   

    The smoker was clean at the end of the smoke.  The racks, the window, the walls,....  zero smoke on them.  Looks brand new.     The steam was just flying out of this thing.  Today in another mes I had just TBS like normal.   I get some steam doing jerky at times  until it dries but nothing like this..    One other difference than normal is we ground, mixed, stuffed and smoked without letting the meat sit over night.  I know this is a no-no to some people put I have done this with Summer sausage with no ill effects and there are plenty of people that do not let it sit.  There may be other debatable issues with this technique but would it cause problems creating excessive moisture and lack of sausage taking on smoke?  

    I would appreciate any and all help with this event!     Thanks.  

  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    From our description, I am assuming the water pan had water in it.... and lots of water..... And you had the smoker temp fairly high.... over 180 ish....
    Did you have cure #1 in the recipe....

    We need a whole lot more information to help you out....

    The sausage NEEDS to sit in the refer for 24 hours for the cure to work and the seasonings to meld with the meat and take on the flavors for a great sausage... before going in the smoker...
  3. Dave,

    I understand that sitting in the fridge will help drive the seasonings in and do certainly  get the debate about the the cure.  I have done it both ways on Summer Sausage and Many Many others have stuffed and smoked right away without getting sick.   My last batch of Summer Sausage was fantastic and was enjoyed my many including kids and never sat overnight and was handled after like Cured Meat.   However I will take your advice that this is not an acceptable practice an I realized I realized would be brought up as eluded to in the OP.   Thank You.  I can start a new thread on that if needed?

    Zero Water in pan and the Smoker never got over 180 indicated except at the very end when it was set for 175 out of lack of patience    .This was happening throughout the process as we ramped the temperature up throughout.  Condensation on the window throughout much of the process.   The smoker would overshoot the set temp quite a bit.  This is also judged by the built in reading  Which come to think of it the meat probe was reading about 15 degrees high of all the other thermometers we had so the smoker may have been off as well.  Still this was happening when it was set at 145ish.  So even if we add 15 to that it was well below 180.  .  No fat out.  Maybe steam is not the right word.  It was dark outside for most of the process but I could clearly see the stuff sheeting up the window in large amounts and coming out the vent steady.  Nothing like TBS.  .  Maybe I should have my buddy join this thread to relay his memory of the event as well.  Two heads are supposed to be better than one right?
  4. No thoughts? This was cause strictly because I didn't let the sticks sit? It was the first time I ever had an issue with either sticks or Summer Sausage. Never seen a clean smoker after that long of smoke

  5. Second picture is thru the window of smoker with the door open. Never had that happen on my other smokers
  7. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    as far as the smoke goes... did you put the sawdust in the chip tray or use a smoke generator ? If in chip tray, the element doesn't get hot enough to make it smoke (at the low temps).... as for moisture, did you mix the meat really wet for easier stuffing ?
  8. I used about 2 cups of water for a 9 pound batch.   I usually use about a cup per pound if I am using #1 cure to help distribute evenly.   I also notice your in Florida and you don't list a MES in your signature.   Have you had problems with an MES smoking in the winter up North?  You may have read on here other complain about not being able to smoke at low temps and that is very true in warm weather but in the winter I don't have much of an issue.   I definitely  believe in the AMZPS and been telling many others about it and was hoping to win one(I have sold several of them by word of mouth and don't even have one.  hypocrite I guess).   I did a batch of Summer Sausage and a batch of Snack sticks previously in the last few weeks plus 3 batches of jerky at low temp with good smoke.   Still pretty light at 120 but by the time it is at 140 I get real good TBS.  The element was red hot many times as was very visible through the window and it burned everything in the chip tray I believe.  Maybe it was a humidity problem.  I should have tried to take a video of what was happening.  This was the first smoke in this particular model MES however. 

    Since no one knows I guess it will remain a mystery and move on. Doing my first deer shoulder tomorrow.  Been meaning to for years but never ended up with doing so.
  9. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    We know now..... You finally told us what you were doing and your recipe......

    2 cups of water to 9 #'s meat..... that's 10% water....... plus the water already in the meat....
    1 cup of water per pound.... that's 30% water....

    Wet meat, exuding water, can't take on smoke.....
  10. I didn't mention that because it wasn't a variable.   A.C. Leggs that I started using on my first batch 7 years ago calls for 3lbs water per 25 lbs .  Excalibur called for 5 cubs per 25# for their snack sticks.  I had been using 2 cubs per 10#  this year without problem and many recipes on this site call for that.    The Casings did not sweat that much in the initial drying period and it required all we had in strength to crank the stuffer so it didn't seem any wetter than any other batch I made (this was a variable as I usually use my motorized stuffer if doing at my place).    So I failed to mention the constant as I have never uses less.   Also the Smoke/Steam was sheeting up from the very bottom of the smoker as I have mentioned(below the meat_).  Why was there so much moisture Down there?  Did you look at the pictures of the Smoker?    You think it was that clean because the meat couldn't take on smoke?     Could you explain that better for me?   I don't want to have this happen again down the road.

  11. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The smoker could have been saturated with moisture..... smoking meat needs to be done in a relatively dry environment.... with lots of air flow... Could be the humidity in your area was higher than normal during that smoking period.... Smoke doesn't stick to wet things.... If anything, it will make acid rain... The meat surface needs to be fairly dry... Not so dry the casing harden... there are happy mediums to everything... Perhaps, "blooming" the sticks in the refer would have solved some of the "odd" things that happened... Refers are a dehydrator... there are refrigeration plates that remove moisture from the refer and dispose of it through a drain and evaporation pan .....

  12. I did just check another manufacture PS seasons and they only recommend 3 cups per 25# for beef sticks so yes I have always been much higher than that. Yet didn't have a clean smoker before. I hear what your saying but why this the only time this happened and other manufacturers calling for that much water? edit. I posted this before reading your latest post. I will guess that the humidity was higher as it was an above freezing day with snow on ground and this coupled with not letting them sit caused this. I am very aware that it was the moisture that caused it to not take on smoke and I am sorry if I seemed to be asking that. Casings were dry when smoke was first applied. The original post mentioned the problem seemed to be excessive steam as I just have never seen this. They were in the smoker for 7-8 hours doing this. Thanks for the help. I am back to the humidity that i mentioned might have been a contributing factor in the OP. Perhaps I wasted everyones time than here. This new mes smoker will not work unless in very dry conditions. My other one worked fine the next day. Have a great day
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2013
  13. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    no need to feel this way... we are all here asking questions... trying to figure out why this or that happened with a particular smoke....

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