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Sausage newcomer

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

    Made my 1st batch of sausage a few months ago.  First batch was totally forgettable. Dry, hollow, meat in a tube.  Even the dog had trouble choking it down.  Not a good start, but still.  Did a little more research, talked to out local butcher, who makes sausage from scratch.  Gave me a quick sausage 101 class, gave it another shot, better, getting closer.  A bit more research, much better results, wife gave it a thumbs up.  Finally, on the right path.  Best tip I received from our butcher, was to make a small taste patty, after seasoning, Huge help.

Anyway, I make Italian, and 2 smoked sausages, Chorizo, and Kielbasa.  Nice simple recipes, minimal ingredients, make it easy to dial in a preferred flavor profile.

I don't own a smoker, I use a barrel, or what they call a UDS.  Mine likes run at 250-275, but I was hoping to run 50 degrees lower.  I found that using my chimney, as the fire basket, gave me a much smaller load of fuel, that was easy to hold at a lower temp,  I mixed the lump with some apple chunks.  Again, took a run or two to get dialed, but its working great now. Nice thing about sausage, even if it does't reach your own expectations, it's still pretty good.

 

Anyway, here's some Kielbasa

 

 

Chorizo

 

 

 

Hanging out in the barrel

 

post #2 of 10
Looks tasty! What do you mean you don't own a smoker? A UDS is a smoker!

I can get my UDS down around 179-180. But it takes some work and a small fire. The lower temps would give you a better sausage. Anytime you are over 180 you will risk "fat-out". Rendering the fat out of the sausage.

You might consider cold smoking, using your UDS as a smoke chamber and piping in the smoke. Then water bath your sausage to the proper temp. You would need to use cure in your sausage to do that.
post #3 of 10

Your sausage looks great!

 

Nice job linking it!

 

Al

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

    I've used a smoke tube, hanging the sausage in one barrel to smoke for a couple hours, and then done a slow cook in another.  I guess I've been lucky; the sausage have turned out very moist, and seem to have the right fat content.  But, I have a good grasp on the timing of foods I cook in a barrel; I've been using them for a long time.  I did one batch in the barrel, with put cold smoking them, they turned out good.  

 

When you say water bath, is that to cool them down if they are to be wrapped and refrigerated or frozen?  

 

Also, do you hang your sausages to dry at all, before smoking them?  My thought, when I cold smoked, was that that accomplished both.

 

I think my best batch to date, came from an extended soak of the casings, then hanging for a couple hours.as then cold smoked.  A few cooked later that night, and a great snap to the casings.  Th balance were laid out on cookie sheets and were placed uncovered in a chest freezer, once frozen, vacuum bagged.  

 

The biggest challenge in all this, has been the chewiness of the casings, But, after reading the Sausage Sticky, and that coinciding with a long soak of the casings used that batch, has me hopeful.

 

This was the only place, where I read that an extended soak of the casings, to the point described in the sticky.  Excellent info!

post #5 of 10

Looks good,,, Nice looking snausages 

 

A full smoker is a happy smoker 

 

DS
 

post #6 of 10
Those look pretty tasty to me! Like the way you have them tied together...
Assuming you're using a cure, yes, hanging them to dry a bit before smoking is best. Let them get a bit sticky.
The ice bath is just to stop them cooking once you reach your target temp. Actually I just use cold water.
I've found letting the casings soak for at least 4 hours (in the fridge) helps a lot, even if the "instructions" say 1/2 hour or whatever.
After smoking it's a good idea to let them hang out in the fridge overnight to let them finish before packaging.
Welcome to the sausage making "addiction"!
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post #7 of 10
What Dirtsailor was referring to about the water bath was to cook them in warm water after cold smoking.... with the water temp not going over 170`for cooking (same as smoker) ... but to do this cooking method you would need to use CURE #1 or Tenderquick cure in the sausages since you will be cooking at real low temps for hours ... same is true for smoking at low temps...

basically what you are making is a FRESH sausage... which means it has to be cooked reasonably quick since there is no cure in it ...

I have soaked casings for a few days and get really good results... rinsing first inside and out- soak- and then rinse again inside and out ...
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

     Thanks to all that have chimed in, I appreciate the help clearing up some of my questions.  I do use the instacure in any of the sausage that I smoke.  

post #9 of 10

we cold smoke all our sausage, and let it hang to dry overnight in a cool building before smoking, we use cure and its usually winter so the cool building is not a problem.  the dryer the casing the better it takes smoke.  soaking the casing (we use warm water) makes all the difference, we go all day and the last ones are usualy the easiest to work with.

 

 

 

 

 

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post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

   I really appreciate all of you that replied. Thanks for helping a new guy out!  

   I've got some casings that have been soaking since last week, they look exactly as depicted in the Sausage sticky.  Had to reschedule my sausage making to next week, I called in to work tomorrow, so I only have the one day off. Already promised the wife to I'd smoke her half the salmon I caught this week.

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