Summer Sausage Attempt w/ Results & Questions

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Meat Mopper
Original poster
SMF Premier Member
Jul 8, 2007
Wentzville, MO
It's been a long time since I posted plus I really haven't smoked anything "new" to me. I decided to make some venison summer sausage using Walton's recipe from their site and followed them directly to get a baseline.

125 for 1 hour, no smoke, to dry out casings
140 for 1 hour, smoke
155 for 2 hours, smoke
175 til IT of 160, smoke
Throw in ice water for 20 min to cool
Hang for 90 min to bloom (doing that now)

This took about 24 hours for a 25 lb. batch in my MES40, which seems long to me. In addition, 160 IT also seems high. Is 152 IT more appropriate? The fibrous cases wrinkled as well...a couple right around 160 IT and the others seemed to in their polar plunge. I don't think it will affect the taste and don't really care about wrinkled meat, just curious as to why? The only thing I can think of is the water pan went dry at some point while I was fighting to stay awake.

Pics are when they were first put in the smoker and then after the ice water bath. Any info, insight, etc. would be appreciated.

My summer sausage casings do the same thing. It doesn't look pretty but it also doesn't affect the meat. I believe it's just moisture loss from the meat. I heat mine to 152 degrees.  Good looking sausages.
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I've had a few batches do that but for the most part they turn out smooth. I use the step heating method, nonwater in the water pan, and take the chins to an IT of 152-156, no water bath afterwards.

On the ones that have shriveled my pit temp either crept up or I over shot theninternal temp.

24 hours with fifteen pounds of meat using the step heat method seems about right. I've had 10 pound batches take upwards of 18 hours depending on the outdoor conditions.
Typically when I had casings that looked like that it was either the casing I got weren't pre poked and I had air pockets in it or the temp got high and fat rendered out.

I now buy my casings from Waltons INC as they have pre poked casings and I like them better than the ones I have received from a few others sites/stores.
I also use the step method while smoking/cooking  and use Waltons pre-poked casings. I do a cooling bath after they reach temp. (152). Could the cold water cooling bath make the casing shrivel...(meat shrink)??
Thanks for the comments. The casings were pre poked and from Waltons. The only thins I can think of was that they shrunk due to taking it up to 160 IT or the cold water bath. If memory serves me correctly, they shrunk when I plunged them in my little piece of the arctic but I was also half asleep.
Sounds like it was the temp or when stuffed it didn't get packed in quite tight enough. Try 152 next time. I don't always ice bath but I usually go into water even if its room temp. But try it both ways and see. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.