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Any advice on my first sausage attempt?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

New user here, I smoke and grill nearly everything.  I have 2 - 22.5" Weber Smokey Mountain Water smokers, the Weber Ranch Kettle grill and the Weber Gold Grill.  I have not atempted sausage yet and ever since a trip to the Salt Lick BBQ outside of Austin Texas last year it has been in my plans to attempt to replicate.  Just bought a 1 HP meat grinder from Cabella's.  Going to start with a prepackaged Bratwurst kit, but hoping to come up with something similar to what I had in Texas, any tips, suggested recipes? do I brine or not?  Most likely what I make will be smoked (for several hours, not days (pork shoulders smoke for 15 hours)) then finished on the grill.

post #2 of 23


When you get a chance will you drop in at roll call and introduce your self. That way we can all give you a SMF welcome.

Happy smoken.


post #3 of 23

Hello GHatcher and welcome to the fun.  Many good folk here with a load of experience that they are more than willing to share.  If you have specific questions just start a thread and someone with experience will be along soon to offer advice.  Spend some time doing some research on the forums, tons of advice and recipes already available there.  The trial and error method works well.  We will try to help you keep the errors to a minimum.  Texas Hill Country sausage is usually a mix of pork and beef ( approx. 2-1 ratio )  No brine.  Bratwurst ( the kind from Germany ) is not smoked and is a fresh sausage.  Sausage is not usually smoked for hours ( as in 15 ).  Maybe spend some time reading in the sausage forum before you jump in feet first.  Just food for thought.   Have fun.  Good luck.  Keep Smokin!


post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 



For my Brawtwurst, I don't smoke, grill them first to brown, then finish them by cooking in beer, onions and green peppers.  Makes them real moist.


Thanks for the advise, will start browsing for Texas Hill Country Sausage now that I know what style I am looking for.

post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 

My gut was telling me that the Texas Hill Country style is a combo of Pork and beef, not sure of the cuts but thinking pork shoulder may suffice for the pork, not sure about the best beef cuts. Planning on paying attention to my fat content, as I noted some dry sausage down there at other BBQ places. Was thinking it was smoked for a couple of hours for flavor then finished on the grill, although I may be wrong.  Also trying to figure out basic seasonings.

post #6 of 23

The sausage is fully cooked in the smoker and then allowed to bloom and then cool.  Can be reheated on the grill or just simmered in water.  The flavours are already in there after the smoke.  Keep Smokin!


post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the tips.  Now if I have this correct, as my Bratwurst will be fully cooked when I use it, I don't need a cure.  Also, I plan on fully cooking the Texas Hill Country Style in the smoker when ready to cook (I most likely will freeze uncooked sausage and bratwurst until needed) and finish on the grill, as the internal tempurature will be above 140 to be fully cooked on the smoker and I shouldn't need a cure for this one either.  Sound right?

post #8 of 23

I don't want you to take my word for all of this.  I am not the sausage man.  Plenty of folk on here with more experience at this than me.  The cure also adds a slight flavor that is usually in Hill Country sausage.  Hold your nerve and let the BIG DOGS comment and add their advice.  I see you have read the 140 in 4 rule.  Do some research on here and slow down a little. I just don't want you to do anything unsafe and I don't want you to be so disappointed with your 1st attempt that you never try again.  Keep Smokin!


post #9 of 23
One important thing to remember about 'our' sausage is if you get it from a quality BBQ joint it will generally be consistent in taste, now if you get it from a joint that reheats their sausage in the microwave, THAT sausage will generally be drier unless you get I fresh as the microwave will dry out sausage. Salt lick is ok, their mustard based sauce isn't my favorite but their basics and recipes are consistent. If I remember correctly their sausage is a 65/35 blend (I like 70/30 myself) you didn't hear that from me though as those ATX people are secretive about their recipes. As for the sausage general I would refer to nepas. VERY knowledgeable. Pork butt makes fine sausage, if you know what your doing and can trim a brisket properly brisket meat makes good sausage also (see Aaron Franklin) you tube video he is a world famous ATX bbq pitmaster on preparing a brisket...there is actually a small membrane on a brisket that us texans cut out and at the deckle, (thick band of fat) there is a band of ft that you just throw away. Yes throw away! It actually will not render and can't even make a decent sausage out of it. Hill country is all about Fresh ingredients, salt, pepper, jalapeños, high temp cheddar, and grinding. Those are the basic components then every place adds spices in different amounts quantities. Don't be afraid to experiment ex. I smoke and age my own High temp cheddar. Wow that kinda hurt to post that. Anyway, sausage can range to fatty 50/50 to 90/10 or so. It's all about preference... Good Luck and let me emphasize again YouTube Aaron Franklin, Lockhart BBQ, mueller BBQ, salt lick, you can get a lot of motivation!
post #10 of 23
Oh and I would also buy a sausage stuffer! My first was the LEM 5lb vertical stuffer all stainless steel and metal gears their is only one problem with it...I shoulda bough a bigger one! Maybe a 10-15lb one! Good luck again.
post #11 of 23

Backwwods!  Hello my Texas brother.  I'm glad someone else posted here.  MAKIN sausage isn't my strong suit.  I worried I may not be givin good advice.  GHatcher, now that another good Texas boy has posted I reiterate my advice and say do more reading before you jump in head first.  Just my 2 cents. Do as you will.  Good luck.  Keep Smokin!


post #12 of 23
Yep like I always say "The Internet is full of neighbors you never met who have made the mistakes you can avoid...just listen to em"
post #13 of 23
Welcome to SMF Hatcher and were glad to have you aboard......... If you add cure to fresh sausage it is no longer fresh sausage it is now cured sausage. Both fresh and cured sausages can be smoked but they have to be smoked/cooked differently..... When cure is added you can smoke and cook at lower temps for longer periods of time. Fresh sausages must be hot smoked at 180 degrees to 225 to get through the danger zone in a certain period of time. We adopted a 40 to 140 in 4 hr rule here at SMF. I agree with backwoods BBQ about getting a vertical stuffer..... Sausage should be cooked to an internal temp of 160 degrees..................... Boykjo
post #14 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the tips.  My first attempt was a success, at least according to my wife.  Texture was good, but think next run will improve as I will have my meat chilled a little more prior to grinding.  Made a 2 part pork shoulder to 1 part ground chuck using a combination of recipes I found through Google and a couple private messages.  Fat content was perfect, real moist.  Smoked for approximately 2 hours at 225, added some pecan and mesquite for smoke.  Next run, although I liked it i will probably cut back a bit on the Cracked Red Pepper and Cayenne pepper as it may be just a little bit to much heat for most in Central Ohio.

Once again, thanks for all your input and advice.

post #15 of 23
Yea from what I hear...Midwesterners taste buds are pretty bland...the further north you go the worse it gets. Haha
post #16 of 23

sounds great but


post #17 of 23
Haha damn picture junkies
post #18 of 23
Thread Starter 

Here you go.



post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 

post #20 of 23
Hi What Bratwurst seasonings mix did you use. Was it premixed?
Thanks Dan
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