I thought I'd try and make my own venison sausage, so I bought a smoker, read a ton of threads on this site, and gave it a try. Here is what I did: - questions at end.
60% venison, 40% bacon ends and pieces.
Spices and casing from a kit purchased at Gander Mountain.
Mixed spices and meat by hand (forgot to add water, not sure if that matters).
Immediately stuffed casings and left them in the refrigerator for about 2 days.
120*, vent wide open, no water, no smoke for 1.5 hours.
150*, vent 1/4 open, water, smoke (4 times) for 5 hours.
165*, vent closed, water, emptied wood from smoke tray, 3.5 hours.
I have a Masterbuilt 30' electric smoker. I opened the door 4 times during the process. (added water, emptied wood, etc..)
I had an internal thermometer inside one of the sausages the entire time, and it never got over 137.5*. I'm not sure why. According to the posts on this site, after bumping the temp up to 165*, it should have only taken 2 hours. After 3.5 hours, I was afraid I was overcooking it, (maybe the thermometer was wrong). I took the sausages out, put them in an ice bath for about an hour, dried them, left them lay on the counter for about 6 hours, then into the refrigerator.
1. Is this safe to eat?
2. Any ideas why the temp didn't get to 152*?
3. Do I need to take the wood out of the tray after every round of smoke?
4. How much water is supposed to go in the water pan?
Please shoot holes into my process, any help would be appreciated. I'm not sure what I'm doing, but I'm already hooked on this smoking meat thing. Thanks