Thanks to those who offered help with my previous questions. http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/176982/summer-sausage-newb-question
So yesterday was the day. I used two pounds of venison burger with an unknown fat content, 2 1/2 lbs. of pork BButt, and rounded it all out with 1/2 lb of lean beef to make an even 5 lbs with a Lem seasoning kit.
I tried to stuff the 1 lb. fibrous casings by hand then figured out I couldn't get them stuffed full enough so used my Weston grinder to stuff the rest good and tight. (I have GOT to buy a stuffer!)
It was cold but I started the MES at 180°, and away we go...
After 3 hours, I checked and realized a couple of things. First, I knew the meat probe was worthless with this unit as it reads about 30 degrees too high. The bad news is, I'm beginning to think the thermostat is off too, reading higher than actual temperature. I also realized why people use an "external" or some type of smoke generator... chips don't smoke at under 200°.
Several more hours and I bump up the temperature. Things look like they are progressing...
Checking temperatures, they just aren't getting there. I'm getting an IT of 120 or so. So I bump up again and wait....
Checking IT temperature it creeps up soooo sloooowly. Understand, let it go until it reaches 160°. I question my thermometer and wait. I check my digital thermometer and I'm at 206° in boiling water (I'm not sure if that is dead on or not @ 2850' elevation.
I bump up temperature some more..... the day wears on.
Finally by about 8 hours I've bumped the thermostat up to about 230°. By now I've lost count of times and temperatures but checking at about 9.5 hours I'm almost at 160° IT. Finally at 9.75 hours I'm at 163° according to the little digital so I leave it 15 more minutes then pull them off and into an ice water bath. I'm fully convinced my thermostat over-reads the smoking chamber temperature and I'm guessing it's off by close to 30 degrees.
I HAVE GOT TO ORDER A MAVERICK!!!!
They look good and are firm so I'm optimistic. The two on the left are the ones I tried to stuff by hand and show numerous air pockets.
I put them in the refrigerator overnight to cool settle. After all day I figured they needed a good night's sleep.
The final test? Success! They taste great (albeit the Lem seasoning is a bit salty for my taste but not overly) The color is good, it's a little harder on the outside but I would expect that, nothing objectionable. Consistency is good. They are NOT greasy like some store bought SS yet have what I feel is sufficient fat content for my tastes.
And the best news, my little girl loves them! I'll nibble on one this this afternoon while the SuperBowl ribs and chicken are smoking! I'll vacuum seal and freeze the rest.
Overall I'm pleased. I don't like greasy summer sausage and these are not.
But I've got to get a Maverick thermometer. Too stressful sticking a thermometer in and out and second guessing which is right. It was apparent to me the smoking chamber temperature is not accurate. I've also got to get a stuffer. Using the grinder is just not the most efficient way to stuff.