Hi, everybody. I'm tjrr. I live near Lake Michigan about half way between Milwaukee and Chicago. I have a Cookshack Smokette that's about 14 years old, a Weber kettle circa 1982 and just picked up a Blackstone pizza oven. I also have a #12 manual grinder, a 5# stuffer and various purchased, homemade and improvised meat curing and sausage making gear along with lots of casings, wood chunks, ingredients and spices.
I grew up in southwestern Wisconsin. 40 or 50 years ago that was summer sausage and lunch meat heaven. Every locker plant and little town grocery made its own and most were pretty darn good. Not to mention the cheese curds at all the corner cheese factories. When I lived in Louisville about 15 years ago, I got to missing the sort of sausage I got in the good ol' days. I set myself the goal of making some like it. Added to that is the fact that I avoid onions and garlic, so homemade foods are a big part of my eating. Things sort of snowballed from there. Lately I've been into fermented sausages: Lebanon bologna, pepperoni, salami. I do some regular bbqing too.
I get involved with other fermented and cultured foods as well. I do a lot of bread and pizza making plus a bit of sauerkraut. Recently I've started fooling around with making cheese. It's pretty interesting. I have made pretty good cream cheese, once I figured out not to use cream. But that's a whole 'nother story.
Looking forward to seeing what others are doing, getting new ideas and looking at what y'all are using to smoke in. Long term, I'd like to get or make a larger smoker that can do 18" or so sticks of sausage.