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Summer Time Smoking?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Question for you more experienced guys around here...

Need to give you a little background first though:

* Live in Houston, TX area. Rather warm here.
* Have access to MES and a 3'x3'x6' smokehouse made of corrugated tin, with fire/charcoal/wood chunks on tray on floor.

I made a few batches of smoked sausage last winter with my father-in-law. Smoked them in his smokehouse for probably 12-14hrs. Weather was about 50F that day. We smoked em at night to keep temps cooler.

He has stated that he only smokes during Jan/Feb when the ambient temps are 50-60F. Temps inside the smokehouse are probably 100-120F. Almost a cold smoke I guess. Sausage comes out partially cooked. Inside half is uncooked.

What concerns if any are there with trying to smoke a batch of sausage in this manner when the ambient temp is in the 80s or 90s? Any?

I use a cure in the mix, am not cooking the sausage all the way through. Mostly just want to get a smoked flavor into it so I can finish the cooking at a later date. Usually either grill, smoke, or boil/steam the links later.

With the MES, If I'm keeping my smoker temp at 170-180F and getting my links up to 155F or so I question whether the ambient temp even matters. That being said, I'd hate to ruin a batch of sausage, or end up with food poisoning. :)

May end up building a smokehouse in my back yard, but not going to bother if I can only use it for sausage a couple months a year...

So, any pointers?

post #2 of 5
In my opinion the ambient temps are only an issue if you let your meat sit around in them for too long. I make sausage just about year around, but I am pretty conscientious about keeping my meat as cold as possible while handling. Aside from the safety issues, it grinds better if still a bit frozen, mixes and stuffs better too. If you have enough cold storage, or the means to keep it cold until it goes into the smoker, then go for it. If you are getting your links up to a full 155 internal temp. and are using a cure, then they are cooked and ready to eat after pulling.
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

Summer Time Smoking?

What about if they were pulled before hitting 155F? Say you pulled regardless of internal temp, based on desired level of smoke? And ice bayjed after pulling off to get temps back down quickly.

Meat stays cold during grinding and stuffing. Is allowed to get closer to 50-60F just prior to smoking to help dry casing somewhat, then smoked at 130F for an hour or so until casing is somewhat dried/tacky. Then heated to between 150-180F in the MES.

Am just not sure how much if any that the ambient temps matter since the meat is getting into and above the bacteria compatible temps during the smoking process anyways...

Am hoping his whole winter only thing is a back woods kinda of thing from the old days.

post #4 of 5
I smoke all summer long in my MES. I pay no attention to the outside temp. I set the smoker @ 135-140 and smoke for 2.5-3 hrs, then raise the temp to 175-180 to finish and cook until internal temp of sausage is 152. I haven't had a problem getting my chips to smoke when it's warm outside (burner not being on as much as it would if it was cold outside) if that's what you're concerned about. If it is a problem, you could get a smoke generator. There is one that several people are happy with in the Electric Smoker forum.

Like Ken said, I don't think it matters if you pull the sausage out before 152 since it's cured and as long as you freeze/store the meat properly and fully cook it before you eat it.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

Summer Time Smoking?

Thanks guys. Was hoping that was the case. Will try it out this weekend or next. :)
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