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smoker recommendation for low-temp sausage smoking?

Lorenzoid

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New to the forum here! So please excuse me if I posted this in the wrong place.

I have been making fresh, unsmoked sausage for more than 20 years, and I think I'd finally like to get a smoker. I MAY hot-smoke some, but my main goal is to poach and then cold-smoke. I have done a lot of business with The Sausage Maker among others who sell dedicated sausage smokers, and I have been eyeing up their smokers for years. The smaller units seem to rely on a pan of sawdust on a burner for generating smoke AND heat, but some of the larger ones have external smoke generators (a blower and a sawdust firebox in an enclosure). At least in the case of the smaller units, but for the sawdust pan burner and its controller the unit is essentially just an (expensive) insulated box. So right off the bat, after buying that expensive insulated box whose burner and heat controller I would rarely use I would need to add a cold-smoke generator. Granted, those tubes with the aquarium pumps (Smoke Daddy, Bellas, etc.) are not all that expensive, and I could even make my own, but are there no manufacturers who make a consumer-grade vertical smoker that is specifically geared toward cold smoking or at least being able to control smoke and heat independently? I believe there are vertical pellet smokers that offer the option of a pipe extension to cool the smoke before it enters the smoker, but a pellet setup like that seems like overkill if all I want to do is cold-smoke sausage. Do most people in my shoes just build a DIY smokehouse (using an old fridge or whatever box) and attach a cold-smoke generator?

If all of that is too long-winded, maybe I should just ask what do YOU use to cold-smoke sausage?
 

chef jimmyj

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Adding Cure #1 to the sausage you plan to smoke lets you accomplish the job at any temperature above Freezing. A couple of Wood Dowels through a Cardboard or other Box, and a Maze of Pellets or Dust from A-MAZE-N Products will Cold Smoke Sausage. If you want to Smoke and Cook at the same time 130 to 170°F, then an Electric Smoker is a great choice, The Smokin-It line up would be my current first choice, but some models of the 40" Masterbuilt Electric Smokers are good too, but they still require a Maze of Pellets to make continuous smoke without frequent reloading. Pellet Smokers that will maintain 150 to 170°F will do the job but manufacturers are limited. Most start to smoke at 180+, too hot for Cool Smoked Sausage...JJ
 

olaf

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I'm not a fan of some of the cold smoke generators I had a smoke chief and hated it. It would start out with a nice blue smoke and thirty minutes later the smoker was filled with with thick yellow smoke creosote dripping from the top then would get plugged up with tar every hour, just a mess. People here have had good luck with the mailbox mod for cold smoke. It would make sense to go with an electric smoker then you can do hot smoking as well. DYI is good but there is a lot of planning building and rebuilding I'm in my third rebuild of my smoker.
 

smokerjim

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i have a mes 30, works great with amnps tray and the mailbox mod, you might what the mes 40 though it is a little bigger.
 

Winterrider

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MES 40 user with auber PID. Perfect for sausage (hot or cold) , cheese, fish, jerky,etc. As jj stated Smokin it would be a good choice.
 

tallbm

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New to the forum here! So please excuse me if I posted this in the wrong place.

I have been making fresh, unsmoked sausage for more than 20 years, and I think I'd finally like to get a smoker. I MAY hot-smoke some, but my main goal is to poach and then cold-smoke. I have done a lot of business with The Sausage Maker among others who sell dedicated sausage smokers, and I have been eyeing up their smokers for years. The smaller units seem to rely on a pan of sawdust on a burner for generating smoke AND heat, but some of the larger ones have external smoke generators (a blower and a sawdust firebox in an enclosure). At least in the case of the smaller units, but for the sawdust pan burner and its controller the unit is essentially just an (expensive) insulated box. So right off the bat, after buying that expensive insulated box whose burner and heat controller I would rarely use I would need to add a cold-smoke generator. Granted, those tubes with the aquarium pumps (Smoke Daddy, Bellas, etc.) are not all that expensive, and I could even make my own, but are there no manufacturers who make a consumer-grade vertical smoker that is specifically geared toward cold smoking or at least being able to control smoke and heat independently? I believe there are vertical pellet smokers that offer the option of a pipe extension to cool the smoke before it enters the smoker, but a pellet setup like that seems like overkill if all I want to do is cold-smoke sausage. Do most people in my shoes just build a DIY smokehouse (using an old fridge or whatever box) and attach a cold-smoke generator?

If all of that is too long-winded, maybe I should just ask what do YOU use to cold-smoke sausage?
Hi there and welcome!

Oh do I have the solution for you.
Look on Craigslist.org or Facebook and get a used Masterbuilt Electric Smoker 40 inch digital one (MES40) for like $40-50. Take it to a car wash and wash it out good to clean it.

Get an A-Mazen-N Pellet Smoker (AMNPS) tray which will burn pellets or dust and produce perfect smoke for up to 12 hours unassisted!!! $25 or so

Go to a hardware store and buy the parts and assemble a "mailbox mod" and hook it to the MES. $25-$35 worth or stuff to make it.

Then you have a setup similar to this:
full?d=1507243376.jpg


Below is MES40, my version of a mailbox mod but you would probably want one farther from the MES, and AMNPS:
full?d=1507243376.jpg


THIS IS IMPORTANT!!! You can use a fan to blow horizontally over the vent hole to keep a draft going while cold smoking.
If you don't have a draft going the smoke will linger in the smoker and become stale and make the food taste horrible. Good smoke has oxygen in it and keeps flowing.

I built a contraption to do cause draft "sucking" air up from the vent and out of the smoker. I built it using a computer fan in a cardboard tube blowing upwards and I set that over the vent hole to draw air out and keep it circulating and it solved my stale smoke issues when cold smoking :)
full?d=1513909750.png
 

Murray

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I have a MES 30, mailbox mod, Amazn Oval tube and a PID. Most of my smoking is cold smoking and with the PID I can control cabinet temperatures as low as I want. A huge plus in the winter especially since the lowest temperature an OEM MES will go is 100F.
 

Lorenzoid

Newbie
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Joined Jan 29, 2021
Thanks, everyone! Great ideas.

The pellet mazes haven't sounded like the best solution ... until now that you tell me of the "mailbox mod." I saw that mentioned in another thread but I didn't search for a pic/description. That is brilliant. Yes, it seems to me that the key to convenient and controllable cold smoking would be to have the smoke generator external to the cabinet, and a blower forcing the smoke through a duct.

With the mailbox mod, the cabinet could be anything--yes, even a cardboard box (though I like the trash can). However, I would go for something sturdier and tall enough to hang a lot of sausage. MES 40 sounds like a good unit, or that really solid looking Smokin-It.

By the way, any reason TSM smokers aren't more popular? You'd think those Polish guys in Buffalo were the sausage gurus.

Another question: pellets or sawdust? Pros and cons of each?

Thanks!
 

tallbm

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Thanks, everyone! Great ideas.

The pellet mazes haven't sounded like the best solution ... until now that you tell me of the "mailbox mod." I saw that mentioned in another thread but I didn't search for a pic/description. That is brilliant. Yes, it seems to me that the key to convenient and controllable cold smoking would be to have the smoke generator external to the cabinet, and a blower forcing the smoke through a duct.

With the mailbox mod, the cabinet could be anything--yes, even a cardboard box (though I like the trash can). However, I would go for something sturdier and tall enough to hang a lot of sausage. MES 40 sounds like a good unit, or that really solid looking Smokin-It.

By the way, any reason TSM smokers aren't more popular? You'd think those Polish guys in Buffalo were the sausage gurus.

Another question: pellets or sawdust? Pros and cons of each?

Thanks!
There is nothing "wrong" with the TSM smokers at all and I think they look good. I think the issue is they cost a pretty penny where the MES is much less expensive.
Also the TSM smokers don't go very high with temp and many of us smokers want to be able to smoke more than just sausage and bacon.

The solution of a rewired MES40 with a PID controller, plus the AMNPS, plus a mailbox mod means we can pretty much smoke anything we can think off. I even went as far as to replace my safety high temp switch with one that allows me to do short 325F smokes for poultry smokes. This is just a me thing and I dont ever go over 275F except for these faster poultry smokes to get good skin.

So for less money you can an electric smoker that can do it all and do it all extremely well!!!
If you reclaim a used or malfunctioning MES40 and do the simple repairs and rewire job you get a super great deal on price overall.

That's all I think it comes down to.
The main thing is you do what works AND makes you happy :)
I still say the best electric is a cheap or free MES40 u rewire, use a PID with, and do some of these other things like AMNPS + mailbox mod. It's just super performant and amazing :)
 

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