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I ordered my CS Smokette yesterday and can't wait till its arrival. I have a question though that I can't seem to locate the answer to in the archives.

Over the past six months, I have begun preparing homemade kielbasa and I like to hit it pretty hard with smoke. I generally start (using the offset and pecan wood as fuel) at about 100� and smoke for about 2 hours, then up to 120 with smoke (all wood fire, so of course there's smoke) for another hour, then 130 for an hour, 150 for an hour and finish off at 180 until the internal temp gets to about 158�F.

Different success with different batches and I'm guessing this is because of the temperature variations. The above temp values were given as targets. Lord knows I try to keep the temp even but it's not perfect. That was one of my main reasons for being interested in the CS products -- temperature control.

If there's anyone out there with smoke-cooked sausage experience or with smoke-cured sausage experience, would you please give me a few pointers regarding time, temperature, amount of wood, etc. ? If there's an archive location that covers sausage, please point the way. Thanks and have a great day..... dchem
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I am smoking sausages as we speak. My target is 153 degrees. This particular sausage recipe is hung for about 5 hours, then smoked heavily with 4 oz. hickory at 130 degrees until the sausage reaches 153. About 3-4 hours. Then, showered with cool water to bring the temp down to 120. Then I dip it into hot water to bring my temp back up just a bit and soften the casing. Then it's hung until I reach my bloom. Usually about 2-3 hours with NO drafts. This is Moose Summer Sausage.

I do it your way a lot. You are doing it right. I have hundreds of recipe and nearly every one dictates 153 as the target for a fully cooked sausage. The ones I making now have cured in the fridge for 3 days prior to casing. Smiler I use 4 oz. of wood for a full load in the Model 50.
I just made 20 lbs of franks this past weekend. It was probably a bit too much for my model 50. The middle ones had a different look from the outer ones and the lower ones. I crammed alot of them in. Appearance wise, These would not have passed a professionals look due to the different colored splotches. But they sure taste great. I think if I was going for a more even appearance, I would limit my batch size to about 10-15 lbs. I followed a plan similar to Andi's. Which for me was right out of Rytek Kutas' book. (This is a must have book for the home sausage maker if you don't have it already.) I've made and smoked alot of sausages.
They're really pretty hard to mess up (from a taste perspective) as long as you mixed them up good and cook them to 153.
Originally posted by Andi:
[qb]This particular sausage recipe is hung for about 5 hours

then smoked heavily with 4 oz. hickory at 130 degrees until the sausage reaches 153.

Then it's hung until I reach my bloom. Usually about 2-3 hours with NO drafts. This is Moose Summer Sausage.

The ones I making now have cured in the fridge for 3 days prior to casing. Smiler [/qb]

Andi: I have quoted the portions of your post that I'm not clear about.

When you let the sausage hang for five hours, is that at "room temperature" or is the heat turned on? If so, how hot? I'm assuming they hang for 5 hours in the smoker. Is that correct?

Is there a typo in the temperature? At 130� the sausage would never reach 153. (Not trying to be a smart-ars here, I just need to understand if I'm ever going to do this right).

What is "bloom" and how do I know when it's reached?

I think I understand that you aged the seasoned, well-mixed, ground moose meat for three days in the fridge before casing. Did I get that part right? If so, what does that do? Let the flavors mix well (like a marinating process would do)?

I appreciate anything that you can teach me about making quality sausage. Thanks..... dchem
First thing is to get a book by Rytek Kutas called "Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing". He's the Father of All Sausages!

I used saltpeter in my recipe and cure it in the fridge for 2-3 days. Longer if it ain't red thruout. I had to use one big bowl (Stainless) instead of my usual 5 lb. food grade tubs, because I couldn't fit that many tubs in the fridge. So when I went to overhaul, or mix, my meat mixture, I noticed it wasn't red in the center. By red, I mean saltpeter red! So, I let it go another day.

Hanging simply means drying and "souring". This is desirable on many types of sausages including bologna and Lonesters wienies. Nowadays you can buy a product called Fermento that does this job, but to me that's just one more additive. I hang them in a cool garage pantry with a box fan on them. I don't have to use the fan, and don't for the final bloom, but it speeds the time and keeps the dang flies away! (Cats, too!)

Bloom is is the term used to define the final color. Sausages are hung after cooling to bloom to the desired (YOUR desired) color. The longer they hang, the darker they get.

Showering with cold or cool water keeps bigger sausages from wrinkling. Do it right after removing from the smoker. Don't wait on this one. If you do, and it gets wrinkled, you can do the hot water dip and then the cold shower bit.

Keep the meats and fats really really cold when you are working with them. One for safety, and two, to prevent smearing. That's when the fat globs smear out into the meat. The result will be a dry and poorly textured sausage. It will cook unevenly and not be pretty!

Finely, don't sweat it! If I'm doing a large amount of meat that my skinny arms can't handle mixing in the spices, mix the spices in a pint of ice water. Easy mixing!

I don't get the 130 and not reaching 153 thing. Did I forget to say that I go up after 3-4 hours to 165? It happens. But, really the internal temp of the meat is what counts. The smokehouse temp regulates how long it'll be smoking. I guess, anyway! Go at a higher temp and use more wood! The temps I gave you are for this sausage only. It's a dry fully cooked product. 153-155 is the desired internal temp for most sausages.

As long as we're talkin' sausage, maybe somebody could help with some trouble I had, along with some questions:

I made about 4# of smoked brats a while back from a recipe in Bruce Aidells's sausage cookbook, using hog casing. I ground, mixed & stuffed all in one session without letting stand. They seemed rather wet from the water I had soaked the casing in. Then I kept them in the fridge overnite, hoping they'd dry a bit and since I didn't have time to smoke that nite.

Next day I smoked at around 175F, laying them on racks until they seemed nice and done. Trouble was that the sausage was about its original diameter outside, but had sort of big cracks on the inside. Also, it was almost impossible to peel the casing. I had expected the diameter to shrink.

Any clues? Were they too cold/wet when I began smoking? Is it OK to smoke on racks or should I have rigged up some way to hang?

Should I have dried at room temperature before smoking? This idea kind of scared me a bit; maybe those fears are unfounded.

Sausage-making seems like a lot of fun, guess I should get the Rytek Kutas book.
That does seem strange, TJR. I'd have to see the recipe to really give you any advice. If the recipe called for hanging, and you didn't...well?

I got some bum casings not too long ago. They were for Slim Jims and either too hard or too soft after soaking. They would tear everytime I tried to put them on the horn. Called the 800 number and the guy said that soaking them for an hour in 80-100 degree water was crucial. I had done that. Even tho the package said, rinse and stuff.

Without knowing your grind, and your recipe, sometimes "shocking" the casing is needed. A hot water dip, a cool shower.

Was your mix ice cold when you cased it? Smearing may have occured if not. See my explanation of smearing.

Gosh! I wish I could be more help! I was a little worried about my "juiciness" factor in my Summer Sausage, but last night I took some, lightened it with an egg, stuffed green peppers, and put a short smoke on them. Covered in a tomato sauce and finished in the oven. They were juicy! Yay! Good to fry up some of your mix before casing to test it out. Smiler PS: Always rig a hanging set-up if you can. Just don't let them touch each other. More uniform that way. But, laying them on racks wasn't the problem. I'm thinking on it...maybe try and elaborate somemore?

My first thought was your problem is in the stuffing process. I've made many hundreds of pounds of sausage and have never seen cracks on the inside. I have however seen voids from air pockets that get in between the meat. What process did you use to stuff your casings? Did you notice any air pockets while stuffing?

Don't give up. My sausage is getting better everytime I make a batch. There is actually an art to getting great sausage and I'm still learning. Which brings up:

Also, Thanks Andi for the tip on the casings. I've always felt that my skins were a little tough. I've never let them soak for more than 5 minutes in cool water. I'll try your method next time!
I've had good luck with the DeWied hog casings. They are supplied dry with salt crusted all around them. I soak them for an hour in warm water, then move them to cool water and flush each by sliding one end over the faucet. I was told never to freeze these things but instead to keep the unused casings in their plastic pouch in the refrigerator.

I use collagen casings (manmade, dark brown and papery) for my slim jims. It will run like panty-hose if you over-stuff it but other than that I love this casing material. I use it dry and crank out ropes of slimjims with little effort or problem.

To all, and particularly to Andi, thanks for taking the time to teach a newbie. I'll be back with more questions I'm sure..... dchem
Mine were DeWied! They were packed in a solution. Glad you told me not to freeze them. I was about to. I repacked them in an airtight plastic tub used for salmon roe. Should be good to go until I can figure out what gives with them. Since they weren't sized? I'm thinking my stuffing horn was plain too big, and it's not the casings fault at all! Too bad my grind wasn't a Slim Jim grind...but, I'll sure try them again for my Salmonwurst Sticks! And...have some other casings standing by... Big Grin
Sounds like I may have made a few blunders - not getting the air out and not hanging to dry. I think I'll just try again, following directions much more closely. Guess sausage making is more like baking than cooking - deviating even a little can give really poor results until you know what's what.
Originally posted by Andi:
[qb]Mine were DeWied! They were packed in a solution. I repacked them in an airtight plastic tub used for salmon roe. [/qb]

All I know about this stuff is what Julie at AlliedKenco has told me. If you buy the dry DeWied, you leave em dry and refrigerate them as opposed to freezing them. I bought a couple of hundred feet of sheep casings and she said to store them in the fridge in brine. I made up a 10 to 15% salt water brine and have been storing them for about four months. I bought them to make hotdogs and then found out I'd have to emulsify the meat. I don't have the facilities for that so I will some day get around to making some LittleSmokey type breakfast links. Wouldn't happen to have a recipe for such breakfast links would ya? Have a good one..... dchem

A food processor works great to emulsify the mixture. If you don't have one or want to take the time, I sometimes grind the meat twice through the fine plate. Once before the spices are added and once after.

It will give you a slightly different texture than a conventional weinie that you buy at the store, but an excellent sausage . My kids go to birthday parties and places where the parents serve store bought hot dogs and they won't eat them. They were raise on "real" hot dogs.

Give this a try, you won't be disappointed.
Let us know how your first batch turns out!
Good point, Lonster. I use my food processor to "pre-grind" my meat. It goes thru my grinder without me having to clean the plate of those stringy thingies. Sometimes I use it for the entire process, except the stuffing. Invaluable!

DCHEM: The casings I bought from DeWeid were packed in a salt solution, not dry. They are double-bagged in plastic. Kept them unopened in the vegie crisper (with years of exposed film I haven't gotten around to developing), for almost a year. The salt had settled to the bottom of the bag. No biggie, I just whooshed it around to reintegrate. They are repacked in a good way now, so I'm not worried.

Do you mean the Little Smokie Cocktail Sausages? I don't know what Little Smoky Breakfast Links are. But I want some! Maybe something I can't buy up here? Explain, please? Smiler

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