This was a week of firsts in my BBQ kitchen this week...
1) First real smoke with the e-WSM after adding an Auber PID controller.
2) First time I've used an Eastman Outdoors kit for summer sausage.
3) First time I've used the grinder with a stuffing tube on the 2nd grind (I've always had a manual crank stuffer, so I just never tried this).
I've been wanting to use the Auber PID in a real smoke since I bought it earlier this month. Between work and my daughter moving (and getting the house ready for her), I've just not had time. Well, this week, it's time. The subject of this smoke will be summer sausage.
I had some pork butt I had previously deboned, trimmed, cut into strip for grinding and frozen in a vacuum packed bag. After thawing for 2 days in the fridge, time to grind it up. I'll actually be making 3 recipes from this pork so it will be a multi-step grind (one recipe calls for course then medium grind).
First course grind (using the Kitchener #12 standard plates).
Made 3 pounds of Italian sausage (sorry no pics). This was the recipe that called for a double grind. Add spices, mix by hand for about a minute then grind through a medium plate and stuff. I also used the grinder stuffing tube for this with collagen casings. First time I've stuffed on the grinder and I would much rather use a real stuffer (ie, my Kitchener 5lb). It worked, but I will probably not do this again. I've always had a crank stuffer so I had just never tried this before. Ok, cross that one off my list and forget about it....
For the summer sausage, this was a last minuted decision. Of course I had no casings and the closest place with them in stock was the local Gander Mountain. They had LEM casings for 15lbs for $13 or a complete Eastman Outdoors 15lb kit with spices and cure for $15. The LEM casings were in the typical sort of sealed display bag. The Eastman was boxed and contained very heavy and well sealed bags for each component. Aside from the price, my logic is the Eastman casings must be in better condition as they are sealed better. So $15 Eastman kit it was.
First order of business was to break the 15lb mixtures of cure and spices into 5lb batches. Using the 1/100th of a gram scale this was a breeze. Each bag contained 3 ounces, so the math was also easy (it was a tad over 3 ounces). Then I made small vacuum bags from the tail end of a food saver bag to keep the extra spice and cure fresh. Yeah, I should have taken pictures, sorry.
Used 4 pounds of 90% ground beef from Sam's Club (ground that morning according to the label), and 1 pound of the freshly ground pork butt. The remainder of the freshly ground pork butt was made into fresh sage breakfast sausage patties. Again, no pictures. What was I thinking?
Mixed the cure and spice mix with a little water and then into the 5 pounds of beef and pork. Mix by hand and let sit in the fridge overnight for the spice flavors to meld.
So here we are today.
After a breakfast consisting of the sage sausage, eggs, toast and a banana, it was time to stuff the summer sausage casings. I pulled two casings out of the pack (5 casings total and listed for 15 pounds, so this should be plenty). Then after filling them with water to wet the inside, the casings were put into a tupperware container of water to soak for at least 30 minutes to soften. Meanwhile, I prepped the 5lb stuffer. After the casings softened, I drained them and loaded the stuffer container. Stuffed with no problems, casings were nice an pliable (for fibereous).
Tried to gauge 2.5 pounds in each, but I missed that mark. Stuffed.
[Not to get too far off topic, but some people complain about meat left in the bottom of their stuffer. As I have the nylon gears, I'm cautious with cranking towards the bottom of the run, but the Kitchener 5lb leaves very little meat. Except for the horn area, there is less than 1/16" of meat on the bottom (as evidenced by the round area where the base of the air valve sat).
Used what was left in the stuffer (mostly from the tube) to do a test fry. Good mild flavor which is what I was looking for. This is maybe 1/4" thick so you see how little was left, and most of this was from the tube.
So into the e-WSM they go. Casings are drying at 115* for 2 hours. Then I will add a pellet tray and smoke for a few hours at 130* then step up in increments to finish. PID controller is doing it's job just fine. No more chasing the temp with that dial analog unit on the element.
More to come.....
Edited by dward51 - 9/25/15 at 4:24pm