• Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

Smoked Kielbasa - Rendered fat under skin/casing? Sausage newbie (Updated thread title)

tropics

Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
13,702
5,417
Joined Jun 25, 2014
I don't see anything wrong with these pics.
The hanging could be better.
Please post the ones that show the spots.
Richie
 

DanMcG

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
5,117
1,087
Joined Feb 3, 2009
You're making it really hard to help ya, seeing that everything seems to be textbook procedures.
the only thing I saw in your answers was you mentioned not stuffing tightly. I think your pic's later today might help. I was assuming you're talking wrinkled or casings that are seperated and loose from the meat (with liquid under casing)...but I'm thinking thats not the issue.
Your other sausage look top notch!
If you think the water got inside during the cold waterbath from the pricking the casings,maybe you should consider a cold shower to bring the temps down.
 
Last edited:
22
11
Joined Feb 16, 2020
the only thing I saw in your answers was you mentioned not stuffing tightly
Just re-read my response and I may have worded that poorly. I stuffed them pretty tightly. They werent like inflated balloon/drum tight, but they were pretty full and firm. I was trying to say that they were so full and tight that I was worried a few times when twisting/linking them that they would end up bursting from the pressure of twisting (luckily didn't happen), so it's not like they were soft or under-filled. A few of the links I'm sure I could have squeezed a little bit more in, but most of them were about as full/tight as I would want to get them.
 

indaswamp

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
4,877
1,657
Joined Apr 27, 2017
Like Dan, I'm scratching my head here too....

If you have a MES, what are you using for smoke? Did you possibly get a flare up with a temp spike maybe???
 
22
11
Joined Feb 16, 2020
Like Dan, I'm scratching my head here too....

If you have a MES, what are you using for smoke? Did you possibly get a flare up with a temp spike maybe???
I'm using the Masterbuilt "cold smoker" side box accessory thing. Though instead of having the cold smoker inserted directly into the side of the MES, I run the smoke through about 2 feet of dryer hose first. This helps cool the smoke down a little bit and allows a lot of the nasty tar to condense inside there instead of in the smoker, and also gives me a little flexibility as far as positioning the whole setup. My temp datalogging setup keeps a record of the temps recorded by my 5 chamber-air TCs, and none of them showed any unusual spikes or anything. Just the expected dips when I'd open the door to check on things, followed by a brief overshoot of a few degrees when it recovered from the door opening, and then oscillations of a few degrees as the heating element cycled on/off around the setpoint.
 

chopsaw

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
6,175
2,852
Joined Dec 14, 2013
You mentioned 10 % water . Seems like alot to me . I follow Marianski and Poli formulas , but when it comes to the liquid , I will measure out what they have listed , but add slowly while mixing . When the sausage comes together I stop adding liquid . I agree that your method is good . I would be suspect of to much water / didn't get a good bind . Just a guess .
 
22
11
Joined Feb 16, 2020
You mentioned 10 % water . Seems like alot to me .
I thought the same thing, its certainly more liquid than I'd been adding in my other sausages. For reference, that same ratio works out to be almost 8 ounces of liquid for a 5-pound batch. that being said, ot really made the mixture come together and bind nicely. I felt like it was getting to that nice sticky cohesive point without emulsifying the meat as much as I was used to, if that makes any sense. once I got it all mixed and bound, it really didnt; seem that different texture- or consistency-wise compared to other stuff I've done? Good point though, wonder if that (using so much water) was the difference that caused this issue?
 

DanMcG

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
5,117
1,087
Joined Feb 3, 2009
10% is standard for most Marianski's recipes. I fill the measuring cup with the 10% but only use what's enough to get what I want
 

tropics

Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
13,702
5,417
Joined Jun 25, 2014
I think you have found your problem it is you opening the door
If you have all those things monitoring the temps,why are you looking in?
Those cycling spikes caused a fat out. JMHO
Richie
 
22
11
Joined Feb 16, 2020
I think you have found your problem it is you opening the door
If you have all those things monitoring the temps,why are you looking in?
Those cycling spikes caused a fat out. JMHO
Richie
Hmmmm, not sure I follow? Opening the door DROPS the temp. After closing it will overshoot setpoint, but only by a few degrees, similar to how the temperature oscillates around the setpoint normally due to the heating element cycling. The highest air temp the chamber saw during the entire smoke was 146*, and that was for less than a minute (for comparison it would typically reach 142 or 143 during normal temp oscillations with a setpoint of 140). I can't image that would cause a fat out (especially since many people smoke their sausage at 150-160 air temp with no problems).

I opened the door a few times towards the end of the smoke to monitor how dark the sausage are getting. My last batch the feedback from my family was that it was much too smokey for their tastes so i was monitoring the color to get an idea of how much smoke the meat had taken on.
 

chopsaw

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
6,175
2,852
Joined Dec 14, 2013
Opening the door DROPS the temp.
Yes , but can also cause whatever's in there to condensate or sweat when the cooler air hits the surface of the meat . Looses moisture and extends cook time .
 

tropics

Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
13,702
5,417
Joined Jun 25, 2014
RS I had 2 MES and neither was anywhere near close to the set point when they cycled.I hope someone can help you get it figured out.
Richie
 
22
11
Joined Feb 16, 2020
RS I had 2 MES and neither was anywhere near close to the set point when they cycled.I hope someone can help you get it figured out.
Richie
Yeah mine is the same way. It has about a 9* F bias compared to what I'm measuring with my temp logging setup. Luckily its a pretty linear bias (i.e. the offset is 9* at 50*F, and still 9* at around 225*F). So I just account for this when putting in the setpoint (e.g. When I say the chamber was set to 140*F, I really had 131*F programmed as the setpoint on the chamber panel, which resulted in the actual temperature oscillating between 138* and 142* degrees when at setpoint). I've debated bypassing the crappy factory controller and wiring in a Watlow F4 PID controller I have laying around... but it seems a little silly to put an $800 controller on a chamber I think I bought for $120. At that point I should probably just built my own larger more capable chamber from scratch.
 
22
11
Joined Feb 16, 2020
So i got most of the batch vac-sealed and in the freezer before I remembered to snap a picture. Still had one half-pound link I left out for dinner, and it was one of the ones that had the "grease bubbles". You can see where the grease had pooled up (the skin looks a little srinkled and deflated) before i squeezed most of it out (when I thought it was water under there I pricked and drained them). I was worried all the fat from inside the sausage would have been rendered out, or it would have affected the flavor/texture a lot. Luckily it tasted amazing and the texture was exactly what i hoped/expected. So other than a few of the links looking a little less than perfect, it seems mostly a non-issue. Still not really sure what happened to cause it in the first place, but oh well. Next time around I'll pay extra close attention at the various stages to see if I notice qnything, and if so where in the process it happened (smoker, water bath, etc).

I really appreciate all the feedback and responses guys, it's been really helpful to a newb like myself. I research and read a lot to try to do things the "right" way based on the knowledge of you more experienced guys, so it's good to get feedback on what I actually managed to do right and where I can improve.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

JC in GB

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
1,628
903
Joined Sep 28, 2018
  • I'm following the Marianski recipe (with a few tweaks to adjust for my tastes) which calls for 10% by weight cold water. I used a slurry of crushed ice and water.
  • I mixed pretty well by hand before stuffing and had a solid bind (a chunk of mix pressed into my palm would stay put and not drop when I turned my hand upside down). My first few batches of sausage a month or so back I definitely under-mixed and had not enough bind, so I know what that looks/feels like and I think this time it should have been fine (seemed similar consistency to other sausages I've done that had a nice firm bind).
  • I've heard people talk about fat smearing, and from the descriptions I don;t think I ran into that? But not 100% sure since this is still fairly new to me. I ground my meat/fat after it had been on a tray in the freezer. The fat was very hard, the meat had that barely/almost frozen firm-but-not-rock-hard texture. I froze my solid-metal grinder body/auger/cutter/plate too so it was ice-cold. When the fat came out of the grinder it was nice and firm and crumbly, not soft and pliable.
  • I stuffed them fairly full. They weren't drum-tight, but was a little concerned i might have a blow-out when twisting/linking them, so they weren't loose or soft. There were a few small air bubbles that made their way in here and there but nothing significant.
  • I had soaked and rinsed the casings, changing water every 30-40 mins, for about 4 hours before stuffing. The water was room temp (~75*).
  • I dont have a RH meter in my smoker, so I'm not sure. I'm in Florida, so ambient humidity was 70-80% over the weekend. Now, on paper, if you heat 70% RH air from 75*F to 140*F, and add no additional moisture, the new RH would be around 12%... but the combustion products from the wood chips smoking and evaporation from the sausages would both definitely add some water to the air, so really it would have to be a total guess.



  • Its the standard Masterbuilt Electric Smoker. But I have modified mine with a small circulator fan for more even temp distribution, and I have the "cold smoker" attachment that I run through a length of dryer hose before going into the smoker box so that I can control smoke independent of chamber temp.
  • Sausages were hanging
  • For the pork, I used a 4.5mm (#8) plate for grinding the fat, and an 8mm (#8) for grinding the lean meat. I also had about 20-25% by weight ground chuck (80/20 blend) which was store-bought pre-ground. Not sure what grind they used but it seemed pretty fine
Have you mapped out the controller hysteresis for your unit? The MES stock controller has a good deal of set-point hysteresis. I had a friend who had a MES that would fat out his sausages quite often. I replaced his stock control with PID unit and the next batch came out perfectly. It sounds like you have a great control and monitoring set up so diagnosing this should be easy enough.......right? :emoji_wink: :emoji_grin:

JC :emoji_cat:
 

JC in GB

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
1,628
903
Joined Sep 28, 2018
Yeah mine is the same way. It has about a 9* F bias compared to what I'm measuring with my temp logging setup. Luckily its a pretty linear bias (i.e. the offset is 9* at 50*F, and still 9* at around 225*F). So I just account for this when putting in the setpoint (e.g. When I say the chamber was set to 140*F, I really had 131*F programmed as the setpoint on the chamber panel, which resulted in the actual temperature oscillating between 138* and 142* degrees when at setpoint). I've debated bypassing the crappy factory controller and wiring in a Watlow F4 PID controller I have laying around... but it seems a little silly to put an $800 controller on a chamber I think I bought for $120. At that point I should probably just built my own larger more capable chamber from scratch.
You can get a REX C-100 controller and SSR off Amazon for less than $20. Only downfall is the REX C-100 only reads in Celsius.

JC :emoji_cat:
 

campfire218

Fire Starter
45
18
Joined Dec 9, 2016
Have you verified your thermometer is correct? Test it in a cup of ice water and a pot of boiling water to make sure it is reading close.

Fat out is most certainly from getting it too hot somewhere during your process.

Masterbuilt and other electric smokers have wild temp swings built in to keep the element heating longer. It's the only way they can get good combustion when burning chips. Before I did my pid conversion, my MES 40 would drop 15° below my setpoint, turn on the element and shut off at 225° (or wherever it was set) all the leftover heat from the heat shroud and element would cause the temps to spike another 10-15° past my setpoint.

My process for smoking sausage has evolved over the years. After stuffing, I will dry the casings for a couple of hours. Put directly into a 140° smoker for an hour to continue drying the casings. After the hour is up, I light the A-maze-n tray and let it go for 4 more hours. Vacuum pack the links leaving extra length on the bags. Drop into sous vide bath to whatever the finish temp of the sausage is. Let them sit for a minimum of an hour, then remove the links from the bags and save the bag for resealing later. Put the sausage on a cooling rack and bloom overnight. Then re-seal the links in vac bags before freezing.
 

Latest posts

Hot Threads

Top Bottom
  AdBlock Detected

We noticed that you're using an ad-blocker, which could block some critical website features. For the best possible site experience please take a moment to disable your AdBlocker.