Well I have been wanting to do some smoked sausage reminiscent of what I used to eat in Texas and Tennessee - rich mahogany color, juicy, somewhat coarse, with a nice crack when you take a bite.
I wanted to keep the flavor profile pretty simple so I did up a spice mix of:
Coarse ground pepper
Ready mix cure - which replaced the salt content as well
I used 6lb chuck beef, 2lb pork shoulder and 2lb pork belly. Most of the big lumps of fat were removed from the belly, but the natural marbling was left.
My butcher was kind enough to cube up all the meat, grind it through a 10mm plate, mix in the spices, grind it again on the 10mm plate and put it in hog casings.
After he did his part it was my turn. I let them air dry for a couple of hours and then threw them on the JB with a tube of oak, hickory, maple pellets for extra smoke.
I started it at 150f for 30min, then 160f for 30min, and left it at 170f to finish. Total time was about 5 hours until the sausage was 154f internal.
I took them off and gave them an ice bath until they were down to 100f. You can see in the below picture the grate marks, or rather smokeless marks, left by the grill because the sausages were laying down and not hanging. Doesnt look as nice, but did not seem to affect the quality.
Then off to bloom for a couple of hours.
They tasted great, and were smokey and juicy. I know its a bit of a tease, but I havent uploaded the pic of the sliced sausage to my computer yet so that will have to wait for another post.