I've been making summer sausage in the kitchen for years, but my old hand-me-down recipe called for the sausage to be rolled into logs then baked in an oven at 160 for many, many hours. Frequent turning was needed to keep it round, ie. no casing was used.
So this year I decided to take some initiative, bought some casing and read some of your reviews and stuffed some 10 lbs of sausage in fibrous casings. Used the same recipe that called for liquid smoke... only to worry later on that I might get too much smokiness from the liquid smoke and the real smoke.
Sausage came out great, same tasty stuff as always. But that is it... except for the very bottom end of the sausages (in relation to how they were hanging in the smoker) there is no smokey flavor from the hickory. In the bottom half inch I can definitely taste the smoke. But the rest of it tastes the same as if I baked it in the oven.
I started the sausage in the smoker at 120 for 2 hours to dry the casing a bit, then did a progression from 150 to 180 with smoke coming from the smoker solidly for about the first 3 hours. I make the meat mixture days before and store it in the fridge. I stuffed the sausage the morning of the smoke. Smoker is a MES 40. Casing was the "Smokehouse" brand, 2"x10". Managed to stuff 10 ounces in each sleeve (using Kitchenaid by myself (ohh fun!)) and tied them off.
I like the casing over the uncased I previous made. Makes it easier to transport for family and friends and has a nice look. No rotating the sausage every 20 minutes was also nice change to smoker -vs- oven. But any tips/trick to increasing the smoke flavoring?