In preparation for my first attempt at beef summer sausage, I've been searching and reading a lot of posts here which has been invaluable to me. I have one point of confusion. I've seen two recommended ways to mix and process the meat.
One is to grind the meat, mix in the cure and spices, then stuff the casings. Put the stuffed sausages in the fridge overnight to cure. The other is to grind the meat, mix in the cure and spices cover the bowl with plastic wrap in the fridge overnight, and then stuff the casings.
I assume it does the same thing but is one method better than the other? Are there pros and cons to each? That actually leads me to another mixing question. I've seen some recipes that call for mixing water with the meat, spices and cures. I happen to be trying a spice mix from Excalibur but there is no reference to mixing water. Also many of the recipes I've seen posted don't mention it either. On the other hand, I just watched a Youtube video where he mixed 2 cups of water to 10 pounds of meat. Any recommendations?
One final question comes up in the heating/smoking process. I understand that the first hour in the smoker set at 150 degrees is to dry the surface of the casings so the smoke will be absorbed. The question I have is when, or if, you put water in the water pan in the smoker. I've also seen both ways.
I appreciate the help as I want to do it right the first time so then I can start experimenting..Thanks.