I didn't get a lot of response on the Roll Call, so I thought I would repost over here...
I have been making barbeque or cooking over charcoal for years. Mostly cooking products you buy. Last couple of years I have been experimenting with making sausage and smoking it. I was thinking of building a smoker, or buying an offset box smoker that I could also use for barbeque. My hunting buddy made a smoke house for cold smoke last year. We use that for smoke, then poach or bake/barbeque for cooking. We want to do hot smoke this year.
My sausage has been well received, so I would like to share the process I have been using and see if I am doing something stupid. Every time I tell someone my process or read a book, it seems like I am doing some things differently, not necessarily wrong though. I am curious what some of you experts think about the little differences and if they are important for the final product.
I am just going to describe the basics. If you have questions, ask. Again, I am very new at this and would appreciate any feedback. Also indicate if you have a preference for doing things some way, or if it is a really critical step for quality of safety.
How I make my sausage:
I do what I call a 40/40/20 mix. 40 deer, 40 pork butt, and 20 fat. If I can’t find fat, I just add more pork butt. Cube everything up and put it in the fridge to get nice and cold. Then I dump everything into a big cooler. (It’s probably important to note that by everything, I mean everything. I hear a lot of people say you should grind separately and hand mix your spices after the grind. I would like to hear your thoughts on this since I do it all at the same time.) Then I add spices and cure. Mix, a lot. Back into the fridge. Take out 25lbs at a time, course grind, back into the fridge. Now, I do hand mix my cheese and Jalapeño at this point if added. Don’t want them getting mashed up in the grinder. Keep it in the fridge for about four hours. Take out, stuff into natural casings using a manual stuffer. I tried this with the grinder, but it just doesn’t seem like you have much control. It takes longer, and it seems like the fat always gets mushy. Hang sausages until the casing is dry. Maybe an hour. Put in the smoker. Smoke at about 110 degrees. We have a puck feeder on the smoke house. I think it drops one about every 30 minutes. It doesn’t seem like a lot of smoke, but after about six hours, the sausages start to look red and the cheese and jalapeño can de clearly seen through the casings now. They look pretty. That’s when I take them out. Cold water shower, dry, and vacuum pack. I always write on the bag that they are raw pork and venison, and provide cooking instructions for poaching or baking to 160 degrees internal. Personally, I poach it, then put in the barbeque to get the color back, not necessarily for cooking.
This year, I want to hot smoke and have a fully cooked ready to eat product for give a ways. I want to think about doing some smaller batch “proper” cold smoke ready to eat product.
I want to build my own smoker.
This is a great forum and I have 1000 ideas already.
Thanks for any tips or feedback.