This was the 3rd time using my new MES 40, the second time using the A-MAZE-N smoker and first time trying to smoke sausage. For this trial I decided to smoke some Andouille, Kielbasa and Chorizo. The recipes I used were from a combination of Charcuterie (Ruhlman & Polcyn) and Garde Manger (CIA).
I wanted to get the day started off with a nice cup of french press coffee. I realize that it’s not smoking related but if anyone out there likes real good, very fresh roasted coffee I can’t recommend Intelligentsia (Chicago, LA) or Gimme! (Ithaca, NY) enough – they are terrific!!
Coffee now done I assembled the ingredients. The pork shoulder was nothing special – just from our local supermarket.
The pork has been cut in strips, seasoned and ready for a bit of time in the freezer to firm up before grinding. On the right is the Kielbasa on the left is the Andouille and in the back are some ribs I just removed from the smoker.
Setting up to begin grinding. The grinder attachments were just removed from the freezer and I have a bowl of ice water under the Kitchen Aid bowl to catch the ground pork. For some reason I did not get any photos of the mixing or stuffing process. But, I used my Kitchen Aid stand mixer for the primary bind and a 5 lbs vertical cylinder sausage stuffer I just bought from Northern Tools. It worked so much better than my Kitchen Aid stuffing attachment.
After stuffing – time to let the pellicle form. The goofy looking sausage in the lower right hand corner is a mix of all the leftover clumps of different meat mixtures that were left in the stuffer.
In the smoker ready to go. For this batch I used the A-MAZE-N for the smoke and the MES just for the heat. I used what appears to be a pretty standard process:
I set the smoker to 120 F.
Loaded 4 lanes of the A-MAZE-N with Hickory dust.
Lit both ends of the A-MAZE-N.
After 4-5 hours turned smoker temp up to 170 F – 180 F
Remove sausage from smoker once internal temperature reached 150 F.
Here are the sausages removed from the smoker after about 6 hours. I plunged them into an ice water bath to cool and then placed them on the racks to dry.
I was not too happy with the uneven color and believe that it was because I did not give the pellicle enough time to properly form or that I had a piece of foil directly over the A-MAZE-N and that somehow disturbed the smoke flow. I tend to think it’s really due to the lack of a good pellicle.
A close up of the sliced ends – Andouille, Kielbasa and Chorizo.
A little snack with a Negroni. The Andouille is on the left, the Kielbasa in the middle and the Chorizo on the right. The holes in the Andouille were where I had the thermometer inserted.
Overall I was very pleased with the result. I would however change a few things for the next time. The Andouille needed to be a bit spicier – I will bump up the cayenne in the next batch. The Kielbasa was terrific as is and the Chorizo needed more paprika flavor so I will also increase that. All three were pretty moist, especially considering that I did not add any additional fat other than what was on the shoulder, but the next time I will take the temp to 145F instead of 150F.