AndouilleHere is my recipe for Andouille and it has never failed me. You should only need 1 pan of sawdust its all i never need. There is a happy balance on how moist the casing should be to dry the smoke will not penetrate to wet it doesn't stick. I am adding a response (following the recipe) I received from Kansas State University in regards to smoke. Even though the question was in regards to cured and smoked meats it applies to smoked sausages as well.
5 lbs pork shoulder (butt) about 75-80% lean. Add pork fat if necessary.
10 tablespoons crushed and chopped fresh garlic/chopped garlic (about 15 cloves) 1.83 oz 1/2 cup
3 tablespoons medium grind black pepper
3 tablespoons kosher salt
4 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
0.42 oz 2 Tbs.cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 cup ice water
1 teaspoon Prague powder or Instacure #1
38 - 40 mm hog casings or 6’ beef middle casings
1. Cube meat into 3/4" to 1" pieces and chill to near freezing and grind one time through 1/2" plate.
2. Add herbs, spices and to meat and mix well and grind through 3/16" plate
3. Stuff into casings you can leave the casing as a long rope or tie into 12” links with butchers twine refrigerate for 24 hours.
4. Remove from refrigerator hang in smoker add pecan or hickory chips and smoke for 1 hour at 130’
5. Poach sausages in water or add to jambalaya or gumbo.
6. For fully cooked sausages bring smoker temperature up to 170‘ F. and smoke until sausages reach an internal temperature of 154‘ F.
You actually have two different questions that need to be addressed.
The reason for this is that a smoke ring and smoke are two different
things. Smoking is generally used as a surface treatment to add smoke
flavor and smoke color which is brown. The smoke ring on the other hand
is a chemical reaction similar to the curing process that results in a
pink ring being formed underneath the skin of the meat product.
If we think of smoking as a process to impart smoke flavor and a brown,
smoke color then we can think of it as purely a surface treatment.
Smoke particles have numerous large molecules involved that are unable
to penetrate the meat product very far. In addition, the amount of
smoke applied is directly related to the amount of moisture present on
the meat surface. As the meat is smoked it will continue to adhere to
the surface as long as there is moisture present. However, as meat is
cooked along with the smoking process the meat surface generally dries
out limiting the adherence of any additional smoke. So to increase
smoke deposition on the surface you need to make sure you get more
moisture on the surface. Be careful though as too much water will
impede some of the other browning reactions that are occurring and you
may end up with too much smoke on the product. This is a very important
point because one of smokes constituents is acid, and if you get too
much acid on the surface it will result in bitter flavors. Thats why
most people (bbqrs) and the meat industry only smoke meat for a limited
time period. The point being is more is not better.
Secondly, the smoke ring is formed as wood is burned giving off nitrogen
dioxide. This nitrogen dioxide produced is water soluble and will
attach to the outside of the meat product and be converted to nitric
oxide. Nitric oxide is the same compound responsible for the pink color
in cured meats. Nitric oxide is much smaller than other compounds found
in smoke and is therefore able to penetrate the product. However, as
mentioned previously at some point during smoking the amount of water on
the surface is dried off limiting the amount of nitrogen dioxide that
can be absorbed and thus limiting the amount of pink ring formation that
Additionally, the only way to get more smoke into the center of a
product is to add liquid smoke. In fact, this process is done on most
food service bacon and a great deal of frankfurters that are made here
in the U.S.
Finally, I don't know of any research available documenting different
rates of smoke application on fresh vs. cured or pork vs. beef. Again,
smoke application has more to do with water availability and how the
cooking process is regulated (humidity and temp).
I hope this helps
Terry A. Houser Ph.D.
251 Weber Hall
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506