Finishing sausage with sous vide?

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cyberslick18

Newbie
Original poster
May 19, 2011
4
11
Hey all, I'm curious what your experiences are with trying to finish sausages with a sous vide water bath?

I tried my hand at making a basic kielbasa over the weekend, and when everything was said and done, my sausage came out and the fat had definitely rendered resulting in a greasy mouth feel and a cross section that looks like a hot dog and less like a quality kielbasa.

Working backwards, I realized my Traegar smoker set to 180 degrees is simply too hot. I can get a cold smoke canister, but I don't believe I'll be able to get my meat to 154 degrees in the smoker, and my convection oven only goes down to 170 degrees (and probably ends up being hotter as well).

So that leaves me with my sous vide machine.

I had read some people just put the meat directly into the water without vac sealing, which I tried, but after around 15 minutes the water began to show that fat was definitely leaching out and the casing texture was a bit odd.

If I vacuum sealed the sausages and put them in the sous vide, how would I check the internal temps?
 
I finish all of my sausages either in SV or in a pot on the stove top. In SV I set the temp at 151-152* and go directly into the water. On the stove top I heat the pot into the 160’s then remove from heat and put the sausages directly into the water. If the pot cools down close to 150 I simply put it back on the burner until the water is back in the 160’s. My sausages come out of the smokehouse around 130* IT so the water bath finish doesn’t take long.
 
Do you do anything special to clean the SV after that? I could see some grease getting on it. Of course you gotta clean the scale off occasionally.
 
Do you do anything special to clean the SV after that? I could see some grease getting on it. Of course you gotta clean the scale off occasionally.
I don’t really have a grease problem to begin with, I see more cloudy water from some of the smoke washing off the casing. I just rinse the unit and dry it. When I clean it I do my normal routine with equal parts water and white vinegar.
 
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If I vacuum sealed the sausages and put them in the sous vide, how would I check the internal temps?
Use the Baldwin chart and go by water temp and the size of the casing to get the time in the water . I use a temp of 140 if using SV and go by the time on the chart for the size . I go in with no bag for these , because they are almost finished and the time is short .
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Pot of water on the stove at 175 ish , start to finish is 30 minutes for a hog casing sized sausage . Heat your pot , then back the heat off until it settles in . I keep a some water next to the pot to control the heat . If it gets to high I add some cool water . Electric stove .
Bockwurst . No cure . Cooked start to finish on the stove top . No bag .
It easy to keep the heat close for the 30 minute poaching time by adding water .
Gas fired cook top might be different .
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After 30 minutes sausage IT was 160 .
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IF I go unbagged in the SV , I clean right after like this .
Small flower vase with a vinegar / water mix . Run for half hour or so , then
rinse .
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Chopsaw: What is the baldwin chart?

Also, why did you use 170 degrees? Is that the temp you used to serve them for eating immediately?

Your cross section of the first sausages is exactly what I was looking for and missed with mine. As an aside, do you remember what size grind you used for those?
 
What is the baldwin chart?
Baldwin wrote a book on SV cooking . A lot of info to look at .
This is the chart I go by when using SV . Adding an hour or so to the time won't hurt , and helps as a safeguard . Look it over . This is just one chart . The web page has a lot of info .
Under charts , it's 5.1

Also, why did you use 170 degrees?
That's following directions for poaching sausage from Marianski's website .
176 for 30 minutes . You could eat it right away , or reheat , grill or whatever for later .
Poaching on the stove is the way I like to do it .

I smoked and poached some Knockwurst . Vac'd and froze , then grilled them at a later date .
Comes out really good .

what size grind you used for those?
90% of what I do is one pass through 1/4" plate . Additives aide in the texture of the sausage .
Sodium erythorbate , binder like NFDM or potato starch , right amount of water , correct percentage of salt and proper mixing .
I don't follow recipes for liquid or binder , I add it slowly as I mix , and stop when the mix comes together .
One pass , 1/4" plate .
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I'm no expert on the subject . This is just what I've learned , and where I've landed watching what the long time members were doing when I joined in 2013 .

Also , these were done on a Weber SmokeFire pellet grill . I think cook temp that day was 200 average . Low as I could get .
I pulled them when they hit 152 . Only took a couple hours if that . So it can be done , you're just not going to get a long smokey cook . I actually like them like this the best .
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I just did 2 1/2 pounds of cured Chorizo rings that I froze uncooked .
When I want to use them , I'll thaw and hang in the smokeFire and cook to 152 .
 
IF I go unbagged in the SV , I clean right after like this .
Small flower vase with a vinegar / water mix . Run for half hour or so , then
rinse .
View attachment 688563
I use a 1.5 pint wide mouth Mason jar with a 50:50 mix of water and vinegar. My tap water leans to the hard side and one bracket in my SV circulator must be made of aluminum, it cleans it up nicely.
 
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Hey all, I'm curious what your experiences are with trying to finish sausages with a sous vide water bath?
I've done Summer sausage and various smaller diameter links, but I used bags. So many others are finishing without bags, I'm giving that a try next time.

Prior to getting a SV, I used a Nesco tabletop roaster for finishing hot dogs and sausage. The dial is not super accurate, so I used a cable thermometer to monitor water temp, moving the dial to find the sweet spot.
 
I had my first try at using my SV for this last batch of pork jalapeno cheddar summer sausage. I used the SV because the last batch of sausage I made in my MES40 fatted-out (ugh!)

My SV is an Inkbird. Not sure why, but I checked the temp of the water against my 2 calibrated thermometers and the Inkbird was reading about 10F higher than the actual water bath...so check your water bath temp!

These were big fibrous casings (3-inch). I actually bagged these before putting them in the SV due to the time they would be in the water at 140F because "I was afraid" I might lose some smoke flavor. The bag leaked. As such, they were directly in the water the whole time. No issues. Not bagging going forward.
 

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All good information. I’ll only add to the OP about fat out. In my experience most of the time someone has a fat out issue it can be linked back to process. Things to watch for.

1) The cubed meat must be very cold before grinding. Right around 32* or par frozen. If not this will give poor particle definition and can cause fat smear which will stop the bind on protein extraction.

2) Your knife and plate on the grinder must be sharp and flat. If not this can cause poor particle definition and fat smear.

3) Once ground you need to keep the mince cold, so place it back in the freezer for a bit if it’s warmed up in the grinding process. Keep the meat cold all the way through the build process. Then add your salt and spices and mix, either with a mixer or by hand, I mix by hand. Mix until your meat batter becomes sticky, you should see long strands of protein and a golf ball sized lump in the cup of your fingers should not fall out with the palm of your hand turned down and gently shaken, sticky.

Then stuff. This process helps bind the fat to the meat and also helps the casing set to the meat. You should not see fat out now in the smoking/cooking process. These steps are critical, at least to me.
 
CBS18, I too use SV to finish my Summer Sausage using Baldwin's chart. I vac seal and go about 4 hours at 140 (2.5 inch dia. sticks), perfect texture everytime. Check out his chart for sizes and times/temps, the product is spot on .
 
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All good information. I’ll only add to the OP about fat out. In my experience most of the time someone has a fat out issue it can be linked back to process. Things to watch for.

Thanks for this list, I definitely tried to keep things cold while grinding, but I probably should have done a better job while actually stuffing.

It was my first attempt ever, and I actually made my own PVC sausage stuffer with a 3d printed nozzle, so that was a process too. I think my nozzle is a bit smaller diameter than it should have been, which I think could have also smeared or "squeezed" the fat as well.
 
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Thanks for this list, I definitely tried to keep things cold while grinding, but I probably should have done a better job while actually stuffing.

It was my first attempt ever, and I actually made my own PVC sausage stuffer with a 3d printed nozzle, so that was a process too. I think my nozzle is a bit smaller diameter than it should have been, which I think could have also smeared or "squeezed" the fat as well.
In my experience the manufacturing process of sausage is the biggest key. No matter how you choose to smoke or finish cooking the sausage, if you didn’t build a quality meat base to begin with you will always have fat out or greasy sausage and the texture will be poor. This is why I mentioned it.

I really doubt that your homemade stuffer had much if any effect on the final product, unless you had a lot of air in the casing.
 
I had my first try at using my SV for this last batch of pork jalapeno cheddar summer sausage. I used the SV because the last batch of sausage I made in my MES40 fatted-out (ugh!)

My SV is an Inkbird. Not sure why, but I checked the temp of the water against my 2 calibrated thermometers and the Inkbird was reading about 10F higher than the actual water bath...so check your water bath temp!

These were big fibrous casings (3-inch). I actually bagged these before putting them in the SV due to the time they would be in the water at 140F because "I was afraid" I might lose some smoke flavor. The bag leaked. As such, they were directly in the water the whole time. No issues. Not bagging going forward.
Just checked my Inkbird and it was 12+..calibrated it down...thanks never thought to check.
 
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Yup we do all of ours directly in the SV, not in bags. Depending on the size of the pot sometimes we need to supplement with the stove burner.

I just go by time (1 hour per inch) and don't worry about IT. We usually set it at 66C.

The only time we get much grease in there is if we poke holes in the casings to get any air out but even with that, the grease in the pot is minimal.

For cleanup the SV goes into a tall pot or mason jar. Add water and dish soap and just let it run for a half hour at 80C.

I have a dedicated SV for sausage (got one on a ridiculous clearance sale), but would have no issue using my main one for sausage. Cleans up nicely.
 
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