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OK, I'm gonna come out and say it, I get tough casings smoking sausage in the FEC. The lower and slower I go, the worse it gets. My guess is the dry environment.

This happens to both my collagen and natural hog casings. I've offset this before by the ice bath after smoking, which helps, but this is not always practical when serving brats or other sausage straight from the smoker.

1) has anyone else experienced this? If so, what have you done to offset it?

2) Has anyone experimented with a pan of water in then FEC to provide moisture, if so, what kind of pan and where did you put it and did it help?

Thanks, Bill
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So, tell me about your exact steps (see my points below).

Are you taking cold casings into the smoker or room temp?

What temp are you smoking at? Hotter temps can mean tougher casings. That's why a lot of recipes call for a stepped temperature with room temp for the starting sausage.
Last edited by Former Member
Yes, the sausage is normally cold when entering the smoker. I begin the FEC as low as possible and nudge up to around 200 until the desired internal temp of 153-160ish. This happens with collagen casings and natural. I soak the natural but not the collagen in water prior to stuffing. I did find on the forum how someone hangs them in the FEC for about an hour with the FEC off and puts a fan on them to dry them out first. I can try that, but I'm assuming that most of the bitter creosote taste that develops on wet sausage is normally a result of the electric smoker rather than the cleaner FEC smoke.
Interesting. I was going to post this but never got around to it for some reason. The last batch or two of store bought brauts. I think they were Johnsonville had tough casings after smoking. Seems like it occured the last few times I have smoked them. I usually smoke awhile then move them to a grill to finish. The last couple I just left them on the smoker to about 180. I wonder if the high heat finish was a better option?
I did 15 pounds of store-bought brats one time about three years ago or so. I smoked them real low nudging them up to 180 or so until internal of 160. Immediately after smoking, I dunked them in an Ice bath until they were under 60 or so internal then dried them good and vac sealed them. I kept them fresh for a couple of days, sold most of them, but some I'd just take out and eat like cold hotdogs. Man, you could not even tell there was a casing on them and a complete pink smokering all the way thru. That was some good eating. But I just have trouble with the ones straight out of the smoker to the plate.

Smokin, give me a holler when you come this way.

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