So, I lost my "virginity" today as a smoker. Two weeks ago I bought a MB propane XL unit on sale at Gander Mountain. Seasoned it twice, and finally got around to stuffing 18 lbs of venison summer sausage last night. One batch of regular summer sausage and one batch of jalpeno. Thanks to several on here for help through that as well!!
All went OK today. I started out around 140F for a couple hours. I started the smoke after 30 minutes and continued it for about 3 - 3 1/2 hours. I may cut this back a little next time :) Then I moved the heat up to 180F. At the last 1 hour I had to bump the heat up to 200 as the internal temp had stalled at 140-145. Then it took about another hour to hit 165F per the LEM instructions. But, I'm not 100% the door thermostat is correct. I'll be buying another electronic probe to serve as chamber temp soon.
The sausages were stuffed well and full. I also used hog rings to securely bind the end. But, I may go the 12" log length in the future as they hang fairly low in the smoker. And, I did notice the bottoms of a few getting a darker tint to the fibrous casings. I assume this was due to the heat.
All was going directly to plan until I pulled them out and immediately put them into a LEM meat lug bucket of ice water. They began to shrivel quite a bit. After they hit 120F, I dried them off and hung them back in the "cooled" smoker for a few hours. Now the reside in the fridge and will go into the freezer tomorrow.
I cut two of them open and saw the meat was a nice pink. Taste test proved that I had succeeded!! Yay for me. I was truly worried about ruining 15 lbs of venison.
So, why did they shrivel so much? You'll notice in a few pics that it was either at the bottom or even in a "ring" fashion around the sausage. Did I overheat them and render some fat out? Or, was it just the excessive heat at the bottom?
Thanks for all help.
Edited by Craig Sexton - 12/30/15 at 7:34pm