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First time making Hot Dogs - Everything is a learning process

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by HowlingDog, Apr 14, 2019.

  1. HowlingDog

    HowlingDog Smoke Blower

    So, since I seem to be having some success lately (with bacon, breakfast sausage, Polish and Italian sausage) I thought I would try hot dogs. Ordered some items from SausageMaker.com such as spices and collagen casings and assembled everything yesterday:

    For meat, I used what I had on hand, which was a small chuck roast, a tri trip and a flank steak. Ground twice using small plate, mixed by hand and stuffed in 26mm collagen casings:

    Ended up making on 4lb batch with hot dog seasoning from SausageMaker and a 3lb batch from a recipe I found using what seemed to be common seasonings.

    Into the smoker:

    Done in about 3 hours. Used the A MAZE N tube with apple and hickory:

    The purchased seasonings definitely tasted more hot dog like. The recipe batch was pretty ok, just a little different than what I was expecting. I am looking forward to trying in a day or two since I have noticed they do get better with age!

    Had some good learning moments, which I think is great!! First, I need to be more patient with my temps. Started out great at 141F but I got a little impatient and added more heat too early so temps ran up faster than they should have. Second, I knew I used lean, too lean meat. If there was 10% I would be surprised. I used what I had. The texture was fine, but I could tell the rich flavor of extra fat was missing. This was my first use of collagen and while they filled very easy, when I did the cold water rise/dunk, they got a bit soggy. All in all I am pleased with the effort and each time I learn a bit more about the process and why the experts do what they do.

    Hope ya enjoy the pics!
  2. gmc2003

    gmc2003 Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Not an expert, but your dogs look yummy to me.

    Point for sure
  3. crazymoon

    crazymoon Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    HD, Good looking dogs, I'll be over for a BBQ! :)
  4. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Your hot dogs look great!
    I use TSM hot dog seasoning too, and we really like it.
    The last batch I made I just used pork butt, ground twice thru the small plate & they were the best tasting hot dogs I have ever made. I did use sheep casing though, a little harder to work with, but gives a nice bite.
    chopsaw likes this.
  5. indaswamp

    indaswamp Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hot dogs look great. I should really make some homemade hot dogs so I know what they are suppose to taste like. I never really was a hot dog fan.
    I'm not an expert, but will help you out any way I can. Keep at it, doing is the best way to learn at this...
  6. HalfSmoked

    HalfSmoked Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Nice first try and seems it was a great learning curve for you.

  7. Hawging It

    Hawging It Master of the Pit

    Homemade anything is always better. Nice job!
    indaswamp likes this.
  8. chopsaw

    chopsaw Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Looks good . I use Wiener sausage from TSM . Makes a great hot dog . Don't care for collagen , but have used hog casings , and started using the peel off cellulose .
    So you know you need more fat , and some temp patience . Here's a tip I picked up from Poli's site , if you get some shrinkage .
    Take a pot of water and bring to a simmer .
    Dip a couple at a time in the simmer for 60 seconds or so . Take out and dry off . Should plump back up and removes any surface grease .
    These were the first hot dogs I did as a test , and used the simmer to bring them back .
    Before , and After ,
    135.jpg 136.jpg
    Depending on how lean they are , might or might not work . Give it a try on a couple .
    fullborebbq and indaswamp like this.
  9. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Those Dogs look Great, Dog!!!
    I could go for a few of them right now!!
    Nice Job!

  10. HowlingDog

    HowlingDog Smoke Blower

    Thanks Everyone! It is a fun learning process. Will try them tonight to see how they have aged. What is funny, to me anyway, is that everyone else likes the meats and sausages I make more than I do. I know a guy who hates eating fish, but loves fishing!! He will go on multi day boats and catch big tuna, and give it all away. The thrill is the catch for him.

    I think I want to explore a consistent heat source, perhaps a propane burner coupled with the A MAZE N tube. I will wander over the propane smoker section and see about burners and needle valves and how to keep a consistent low temp. And a better way to stuff. I love the hand grinder, but the stuffing can be a challenge. Its all learning, and that is what I like.
  11. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    I believe the most consistent heat source would be an electric smoker, including low heat for sausage smoking.
    An MES with an Amazing Smoker is a Match made in Smoker Heaven. IMHO

    fullborebbq likes this.
  12. I have used a lot of different smokers, before giving up on the electric I would suggest looking into a PID controller for your brinkman. I think you will find new limitations with a gas unit as well. I know on the smokers build forums there are some pretty bright and helpful people that could likely help you get that electric unit humming along perfectly.
  13. indaswamp

    indaswamp Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I use propane. I modeled my smokehouse off what my uncles use as well as what was used at the restaurant. The best of course is all wood splits, but the propane is a trade off with very little compromise. You still get that all wood smoke, with great smoke rings but you get the even heat from the propane. My smokehouse is 2.5' X 2.5' X 6.5' tall....36cu.ft. of space. I use an 18,000 BTU propane burner. When I smoke sausages, I drop 4 penny nails in the outer ring of jets in the burner so I can run 1 row of jets a little higher flame to help prevent flame out. I also half the BTU's down to 9,000. With this set up, I can keep the temps. steady from 80* to 200* (+-3*)... It makes stepping up the temps. very easy for smoking sausages.
    I use a needle valve from Tejas smokers. It's $24 bucks, but it's the best one out there...specifically made for smokers and has a very fine adjustment on it....you can really dial it in tight to your target temp.

    FWIW- Volume inside the smokehouse makes it easy to control the temps...bigger is better....
    fullborebbq likes this.
  14. fullborebbq

    fullborebbq Meat Mopper

    Great info!!!!!!!