Have been planning on doing this for months with a friend. He was going to be doing 10 lbs of garlic and 10 lbs of Italian (both moose/pork blend). Ended up delaying by a week because of harvest. Or what was supposed to be harvest. Decided to just giv'er this past weekend and get it out of the way. Weather turned pretty crappy Friday, so had some hiccups in the process due to rain and ambient temp drops, but other than that a really productive day.
Decided to use a hot plate, as the hot links will be used for grilling and the andouille and kielbasa require proper handling and cooking process to turn out right. The hot plate just gives me that much more control on temps etc, and given how the weather has been, I figured it was for the best.
Started out by picking up a sausage rack for the WSM a few months ago. Has been sitting there unused until now. Sad, I know. Been really itching to put it to good use. Friday seemed like a good enough day to do a test fit and plan how it was all going to work, what with the hot plate in the bottom and all that.
Next up was mixing up the slurries. This was a lot of fun. Shopping for all the spices etc and buying a case of beer. (It's cheaper to buy a case than to buy 4 for just the sausage, right?) made for a bit of an adventure during the day. Followed by mixing it all up. This pic was from the hot links mix. Weird colour what with all the cayenne and fun stuff in the recipe. Honestly, the beer was an interesting choice, but definitely worth it flavour wise in the end.
All mixed up and ready to go (hot links batch). Someone commented in another hot links thread that the mix "even looks hot". Can't say I disagree at all with that assessment. On to the next batch.
All of the meat mixed and ready for an overnight rest in the fridge. 10 lbs of kielbasa (bottom right 2 bags), 5 lbs of andouille (bottom left bag), and 5 lbs of hot links (top bag). The andouille has red wine in the recipe and here it is probably the most obvious.
Friend checking on his 2nd batch of garlic in the smoke (right). He smokes his for about an hour and then into vac bags/freezer for grilling later. Had the propane grill going in the middle for test batches and lunch. Might as well make a whole day out of it!
This all got stuffed into 38/42 casings. My preferred size. Works better for links, and worked really well for this project overall. Sorry no pics of stuffing, but hands were full so to speak. Got the WSM up to 95° and ready for the casings to be dried. The andouille is coiled on the middle rack, and the kielbasa is hung. This ended up causing a minor issue in the end, but more on that later.
Colour starting to change. You can actually see the andouille taking on a lot more colour a LOT faster than the koob. The andouille ended up being done before the kielbasa due to the lack of the water pan in the cooker. Personally, next time, I would find a smaller pan for wood chips and put the water pan in. Would have made this whole process go much better. Regardless, very happy with results. Ended up using a blend of pecan/cherry/apple for this. 2:1:1. (100g, 50g, 50g). Really love pecan and what it does flavour wise.
All finished cooking. Actually had a hiccup with the hot plate not getting hot enough to cook. The andouille ended up hitting 150, but the koob didn't get above 140. Ended up moving everything to the oven to finish cooking at 170°. Honestly, the ambient temp dropping to 50°F really didn't help my case, however, at that point, the oven would have been no different I don't think. They didn't take as much colour as I would have liked, but that would be due to not enough smoke. (The Mrs. is not a fan of what most would call good amount). Regardless, really happy with the results.
Vacuum packed and ready for the freezer.
And of course, obligatory close up 'bear-style' of a Texas hot link. These things are so dang good. Yes, heat, but FLAVOUR. Lights out! I could eat a dozen of these in a sitting. They have so much flavour despite the high level of hot ingredients.
Overall, whole day was a smashing success, despite the minor hiccups. I would make any of these recipes again. So worth it, and so much cheaper than buying store bought stuff. Doesn't even hold a candle to this stuff. Thanks for taking the time to read! Thanks to Willie for his hot link recipe as a base. And thanks to dward51 for the kielbasa recipe and help along the way.
Happy smoking all!