I've made my own oven-dried beef jerky many, many times, and it's turned out brilliantly - great texture, great flavour, and not the slightest risk of food poisoning. Now, there's a few other things I have in mind, but I need some tips and advice from others. I'm looking to either:
Cold smoke some ordinary bought sausages of different types that contain raw, uncooked meat, but with sodium nitrite. After (of before) smoking them, I will be pricking and steaming them in a stove top steamer to melt out all the fat. To those that think this can't/shouldn't be done, I've done this many times before with sausages, prior to grilling them, and the results are fantastic. The only concern I have with cold smoking is the risk of food poisoning, particularly botulism. Any advice here? (At the moment, it's Summer in Australia, so it's quite hot.) In terms of ease of method, the cold smoking would be the easiest for me to do.
I'm looking to hot smoke (not bake or grill) the same raw, bought, pricked sausages, where I want most/all the fat to be melted out. I am likely to use a small Weber BBQ like this:
I can easily load it up with heat beads/wood charcoal to one side, but I'm concerned I may put in too much wood charcoal/heat beads, and it will simply become a smokey oven, which I want to avoid. I'm looking for some sort of guide as to how much charcoal/heat beads I should put in a small hot smoker of this size. The other thing I've noticed is that some people put a bowl or tray of water in their smokers; what is that about? Anyway, any advice with this type of set up?
The other thing I'm looking at doing, aside from the sausage smoking, is hot smoking a lean cut of pork, such as a Scotch Roll (I think that's what it's called?). It's basically one, long, cylindrical-shaped piece of pork that's quite lean, and has one thick layer of fat covering it, which is easy to remove, if desired. I plan to salt-spice rub it, then hot smoke it. I'm likely to cut it into thinner "cylindrical" portions to reduce hot smoking time. Again, any advice here, in regards to fuel quantity and smoking times?
I really would appreciate some advice here, but I'm hoping to hear more than "Just put enough heat beads/charcoal to get some heat going" or "Just leave it in long enough for it to be well smoked" - that doesn't provide me with any more detail than I already know. I'm hoping someone has experimented with a hot smoker roughly of this size, and maybe able to give me some accurate pointers. If there's some sort of scale-guide, in regards to fuel quantities and/or smoking times, that would be ideal. Thanks all.