Summer sausage in the e-WSM (lots of Q-View)

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by dward51, Sep 25, 2015.

  1. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member


    This was a week of firsts in my BBQ kitchen this week...

    1)  First real smoke with the e-WSM after adding an Auber PID controller.
    2)  First time I've used an Eastman Outdoors kit for summer sausage.
    3)  First time I've used the grinder with a stuffing tube on the 2nd grind (I've always had a manual crank stuffer, so I just never tried this).

    I've been wanting to use the Auber PID in a real smoke since I bought it earlier this month.  Between work and my daughter moving (and getting the house ready for her), I've just not had time.  Well, this week, it's time.  The subject of this smoke will be summer sausage.  

    I had some pork butt I had previously deboned, trimmed, cut into strip for grinding and frozen in a vacuum packed bag.  After thawing for 2 days in the fridge, time to grind it up.  I'll actually be making 3 recipes from this pork so it will be a multi-step grind  (one recipe calls for course then medium grind).

    First course grind (using the Kitchener #12 standard plates).

    Made 3 pounds of Italian sausage (sorry no pics).  This was the recipe that called for a double grind.  Add spices, mix by hand for about a minute then grind through a medium plate and stuff.  I also used the grinder stuffing tube for this with collagen casings.  First time I've stuffed on the grinder and I would much rather use a real stuffer (ie, my Kitchener 5lb).  It worked, but I will probably not do this again.  I've always had a crank stuffer so I had just never tried this before.  Ok, cross that one off my list and forget about it....

    For the summer sausage, this was a last minuted decision.  Of course I had no casings and the closest place with them in stock was the local Gander Mountain.  They had LEM casings for 15lbs for $13 or a complete Eastman Outdoors 15lb kit with spices and cure for $15.  The LEM casings were in the typical sort of sealed display bag.  The Eastman was boxed and contained very heavy and well sealed bags for each component. Aside from the price, my logic is the Eastman casings must be in better condition as they are sealed better.  So $15 Eastman kit it was.

    First order of business was to break the 15lb mixtures of cure and spices into 5lb batches.  Using the 1/100th of a gram scale this was a breeze.  Each bag contained 3 ounces, so the math was also easy (it was a tad over 3 ounces).  Then I made small vacuum bags from the tail end of a food saver bag to keep the extra spice and cure fresh.  Yeah, I should have taken pictures, sorry.

    Used 4 pounds of 90% ground beef from Sam's Club (ground that morning according to the label), and 1 pound of the freshly ground pork butt.  The remainder of the freshly ground pork butt was made into fresh sage breakfast sausage patties.  Again, no pictures.  What was I thinking?

    Mixed the cure and spice mix with a little water and then into the 5 pounds of beef and pork.  Mix by hand and let sit in the fridge overnight for the spice flavors to meld.

    So here we are today.   

    After a breakfast consisting of the sage sausage, eggs, toast and a banana, it was time to stuff the summer sausage casings.  I pulled two casings out of the pack (5 casings total and listed for 15 pounds, so this should be plenty).  Then after filling them with water to wet the inside, the casings were put into a tupperware container of water to soak for at least 30 minutes to soften.  Meanwhile, I prepped the 5lb stuffer.  After the casings softened, I drained them and loaded the stuffer container.  Stuffed with no problems, casings were nice an pliable (for fibereous).

    Tried to gauge 2.5 pounds in each, but I missed that mark.  Stuffed.

    [Not to get too far off topic, but some people complain about meat left in the bottom of their stuffer.  As I have the nylon gears, I'm cautious with cranking towards the bottom of the run, but the Kitchener 5lb leaves very little meat.  Except for the horn area, there is less than 1/16" of meat on the bottom (as evidenced by the round area where the base of the air valve sat).

    Used what was left in the stuffer (mostly from the tube) to do a test fry.  Good mild flavor which is what I was looking for.  This is maybe 1/4" thick so you see how little was left, and most of this was from the tube.

    So into the e-WSM they go.  Casings are drying at 115* for 2 hours. Then I will add a pellet tray and smoke for a few hours at 130* then step up in increments to finish.  PID controller is doing it's job just fine.  No more chasing the temp with that dial analog unit on the element.

    More to come.....

    Last edited: Sep 25, 2015
    disco likes this.
  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Cool! I have an electric element (brinkman 1500) I've been wanting to run in my GOSM for sometime. Was going to build a PID but just don't have the time. Have been looking at the Aubern Plug N Play may have to pick one up.
  3. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The Auber "plug & play" unit I bought is their WS-1500EPM.  They just came out with this unit this summer (June 2015). $135 (with probe) and built like a tank.  I could not build one this nice for that price, and it can also be programmed in steps so it's perfect for sausage smoking and snack sticks (which is what the e-WSM is all about).  By steps, I mean X temp for Y minutes, then step up to X1 temp for Y1 minutes, etc...   So you can program in the entire smoke process and not touch a thing.  Rated for 1,600 watts and unlike their prior model, this one has a SSR on a heat sink instead of a dry contact relay (SSR is better).  The case is all metal and very solid.

    Back to today's smoke....

    2 hours in.  Time to throw on some smoke.  I will be using a mix of hickory pellets and oak bourbon barrel pellets on these.  Dried the pellets in the convection oven at 180* for about 20 minutes before putting in the pellet tray.  As I'm in GA and it's raining, it's humid, so pre-drying is a must.

    Thin blue smoke & Auber PID set at 130* for the next 3 hours.

  4. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Ok, since I did not post photos of the making of the Italian sausage which I mentioned in my first post, here are photos of the cooking of the Italian sausage for pizza tonight.  Hmmmmm.... fresh Italian with lots of fennel and anise flavor.  I'll slice them up for the pizza with homemade crust, etc....

    And now back to our summer sausage smoke.....

    After 3 hours on the smoke, pulled the pellet tray and cranked the PID up to 165*.  Nice color change in the casings!  Well, they looked darker and richer in real life than in this photo.

  5. mrbeef

    mrbeef Smoke Blower

    That's looking good!
  6. I really need to become better acquainted with Auber products. I was going to go watch some cable news and fall asleep but you've lured me into another shot from the jar and another beer or 2 to research this....
  7. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I have absolutely no complaints about this Auber unit.  Of course it did not hurt that I work in Atlanta and we had a meeting about 1/2 mile from their office and retail store.  So I 'had' to stop in and buy one, right?

    Here is my take on Auber vs home brew using Chinese eBay parts.  I paid $135 plus local sales tax for this.  It is in a very thick and solid anodized aluminum case, has a good sized finned heat sink, a SSR and the PID all in one.  Fit and finish is top shelf stuff.  It came with a RTD sensor with a 6' wire length.  Out the door for right at $145 with tax.  Plus I get Auber's warranty and tech support.  Compare this to a MYPIN TA4 PID (or at least a PID marked as a MYPIN, coming from China, who knows if it really is a MYPIN).  Same for a no brand sensor, and again the SSR may be marked as a branded one, but on eBay and from China who knows?  Then I have to find a comparable case, heat sink and all the other fittings.  Then machine the openings (assuming I was the same level of fit and finish), and once it's all together, hope the China parts are first quality and actually work.   If they don't then the fun really starts.

    Like I said, for the price, I cannot argue with this Auber unit and would recommend it to anyone looking at a similar unit for a Brinkman element, Bradley, MES, etc....  It is probably the best way to get into quality PID controlled smoking for the lowest price (absent rolling the dice on a eBay home build - and I've done my share of this).

    They also have a model for a little more that has the the dual probes for pit control and meat temp. As I'm working with sausage and snack stick with this controller, I did not see the need for that option.  I have other remote temp units I can use if I need them.  But for sausage and snack sticks it's more of a X minutes at temp Y and then step up to X1 minutes at temp Y1, etc...  Oh, I almost forgot! The Auber is step programmable as well.

    Ok, back to the smoke.....

    I mostly do snack sticks in the e-WSM and after about two hours it dawned on me that 165* is not going to cut it with these thick summer sausages.  They are way thicker than the 17 to 19mm snack sticks I usually work with. Cranked the heat to 180* to finish.  Interior temp on the Thermopen is right at 140, so I'm on the way.  I'm starting to think I should have started these earlier today.  Oh well,,, Good thing it's Friday night and I'm off until Tuesday.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2015
  8. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    And done.....

    Took longer than expected to reach the 152* mark (actually 154* as I fell asleep waiting on them to get done). Pulled them and into a cold water bath, then wrapped and into the fridge overnight.

    Cut them this afternoon.  Texture is great, good firm and even.  Color is great.  The taste is mild with correct amount of smoke. Great mouth feel. Although this was a stock spice mix, I think it needs a little something like more onion or garlic for just a little more flavor (but it was their mild smoked summer sausage).  But for a mild summer sausage this is better than most store bought I've had, so I'm pleased.

  9. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Nice job on the SS wish there were more pics of the Italian Sausage and recipe 

    Yea I would eat that


  10. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks great!

  11. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    This is the Italian sausage recipe I used.  Two changes.  I cut the pepper flakes back to 1.5gms per pound and added 1.5gms per pound of anise seed. I also lightly ground the seeds and pepper flakes to partially break them up.  You need to let the sausage sit overnight for the flavor to develop before cooking.  There is huge a difference between the taste of a fry test made from the stuffing remainders and the sausage that has sat overnight (you can also smell the difference).  The fennel, caraway and anise were lightly ground with the pepper flakes to basically crack the seed.  I think the flavor development overnight comes from the seeds absorbing moisture from the meat and rehydrating somewhat.  Use a good 1/100th gram digital measure and you can easily scale this up.

    It's the recipe in post #6
    reinhard likes this.
  12. driedstick

    driedstick Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    D51 - Them theres some mighty fine lookin snausages!!! Nice job! [​IMG]

    A full smoker is a happy smoker

  13. How does that work? ;) isnt this Auber model for electric smokers?
  14. reinhard

    reinhard Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Great work on everything.  Put a lot of effort in this thread and your results on the sausage shows.[​IMG]Reinhard
  15. Sorry I'm late   Nice job, looks great  [​IMG]

  16. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yes it is.   I made a mod to my WSM which I call the e-WSM.  I had an extra door and bought a electric element which I installed in my spare WSM door.  I can use the WSM as normal, or swap out the door and use it as an electric e-WSM for more control in smoking snack sticks and sausage like the ones in this post. When I want to use the WSM like normal on charcoal, I just put the other door back in.  This way I have the best of both worlds and there is no permanent modification to the WSM body.  Smoke source in the e-WSM is a Amazen pellet tray.

    Here is the thread on the e-WSM build with more info and lots of photos.

    Here is the thread on the upgrade of the e-WSM by adding the Auber PID controller.  I'm very satisfied with the performance of this setup.  The analog dial on the element was a little hard to set with precision.  With the PID, I just crank the analog dial to full on and let the PID manage the temps.  Holds them rock solid at the set point.
  17. Amazing! I will check your thread out :)
  18. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Great looking sausage!



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