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Cherry Smoked Sweet Red Chicken Sausage- qview & recipe

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
It’s been too long since my last run of chicken sausage, and we really love this stuff. Today is a twist, while I experiment with some changes to the seasoning blend.

The amounts given are for 2lbs, with a fat content of approx. 17-18%. Use 27oz mostly lean trimmed boneless skinless chicken thighs and 5 oz beef (or pork) fat. Chop the meat coarse and the fat fine, and combine. Mix with seasoning/cure blend, wrap/stuff and cure for 24 hours minimum @ ~35*. Smoke to 165* internal, chill well and slice for cold cuts.

2 Tbls dried Red Bell Pepper, powdered
2 tsp Garlic powder
2 tsp Black Peppercorn, powdered
2 tsp Basil leaves, fine ground/powdered
1 tsp Oregano, fine ground/powdered
2 tsp Onion powder

***The above spices were powdered in a electric coffee grinder***

2 Tbls Morton’s Tender Quick

The above recipe is a combination of my recently developed Red Bell Pepper dry rub and my Sweet Garlic & Pepper Chicken Sausage seasoning blend. I made 3-2lb chubs for this project. My previous runs were 3lbr's.

For today’s smoke, I started cold, using my smoke can mod in the bottom of my Smoke Vault 24, and charcoal briquettes to heat cherry smoke chips. I ran with a 24” vent stack installed, exhaust vent fully opened, and the lower vents were opened approximately 1/3. Temps were under 100* for the first 45 minutes, then, I dumped the coals to the smoke pan and temps climbed to ~150* within 90 minutes. As the coals were burning down, I closed the lower intake vents and added more heat with the propane burner to keep the temps climbing. By the 3-hour mark, I was nearing 200*, and continued bumping the temps slowly to ~225* by the 4-hour mark.

I wanted to start cold to get a firmer texture and more smoke flavor in the finished sausage, as the meat‘s reaction to smoke slows as the meat‘s internal temp rises above 140*. So, this allowed for a longer reaction time with the cherry smoke. It should be a nice, sweet deep flavor for sure.

Here’s the wrapped sausage after a 2.5 day cure…my wife was thawing this meat for another cooking project and it got side-lined, so we needed to do something with it soon, or lose it. Tender Quick to the rescue! Today was my first opportunity to lay the smoke to ‘em:

Just into the Vault:

2 hours of cold smoke:

3 hours, transitioning to a hot smoke now:

4.25 hours...I rotated the grate 180* for more even cooking and added another pocket thermo:

6 hours, and internals are nearing the finish point on 2 of the chubs:

6.5 hours, and two chubs are ready:

Patting off the exterior:

Ready to chill before slicing:

Oh man, that coarse texture looks nice under the outer skin...this is going to make for some really interesting eating. I can't wait to grab a knife, steel and board!

So, I have one more 2lb chub finishing in the Vault right now, which will get the same finishing touches before slicing.

I have a 3lb chub of the Sweet Garlic & Pepper sausage from late last fall thawed in my fridge. This was hot smoked as I recall, with charcoal fire in my GOSM. I will use this for color, texture and flavor comparisons when I get one of the Sweet Reds sliced.

Finished pics and a review to follow ASAP.

Thanks for checking out my new version of chicken sausage!

post #2 of 4
I'm watching................(tapping his fingers...)
post #3 of 4
Looks really good can't wait for the rest of the pics and review!

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

Another keeper...gonna do this recipe again!

During comparisons of the two, I found a very subtle but noticeable difference in the flavors. The Sweet Garlic & Pepper recipe has an ever so slight bitterness (from the paprika and/or green bell pepper in that recipe), and the Sweet Red, well it is sweeter and smoother. Textures are very similar as I used very near identical processes and the exact same equipment to prepare the meat/seasoning mixes.

The overall consensus here with eager taste testing by the family is that they (we) all like this Sweet Red a little more. I mentioned that this tastes slightly less salty and sweeter, probably due to the absence of the paprika and green bell pepper, and my wife said she did notice those spices were missing...it is a nice change from my original recipe (which is pretty good eating also), and I'll make this Sweet Red again for sure.

OK, how about those pics? I took different angles and distances, so you can get a good feel for what this really is all about...notice the seasonings...red bell pepper in specific, and the coarseness of the chopped chicken meat.

The Sweet Garlic & Pepper is above (wider chub), the Sweet Red is below:

This is done without a dedicated meat grinder, meat mixer or stuffer, so if your looking for a way to make sausage without all the equipment, here's a good method to try. Food processor, kitchen-aid stand mixer, plastic wrap, a bit of fridge space and a smoker...that's it.

Thanks everyone! Enjoy!

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