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Thanksgiving weekend, great time to make sausage

bladeguy

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So I like to make sausage on Thanksgiving weekend. Works well as the wife is usually looking to get out of he house, so I get the kitchen to myself. Planning a 25 lb. batch of summer sausage, (Rytek's recipe minus fermento, plus ECA), and 10 lb. snack sticks. Snack sticks recipe, not sure what to use yet. Been browsing here, but if anyone wants to offer a recipe as a suggestion, I'd be all ears. Looking to do 2 5 lb. batches on the snack sticks, one milder, one hotter. Hope to post progress and pics later this weekend.
 

SmokinAl

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Wow there has to be 1000 snack stick recipes on here.

Let us know which one you choose.

Al
 

crazymoon

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BG, No suggestions but have fun and show us some pics of your yummy snacks !
 

smokeymose

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I have 5# of 88/12 beef thawing myself for stix on Saturday. The only recipe I use is Big Casino's. I like the heat...
 

bladeguy

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Thanks Disco, for the reminder.......Seems you never know what you are getting into when making sausage until you are neck deep in it. So I started Friday morning early mixing up 25 lb. 80/20 ground chuck for summer sausage. I stuffed it into fibrous casings, and hung it to dry. I then made two 5 lb. batches of snack sticks. I believe the recipe I used is Big Casino's recipe, seem with the red pepper and flakes, some without. Stuffed them in collagen casings, and hung them to dry.

Mean time, I tested my Camp Chef 24" Smoke Vault to see what I could generate for smoke at low temps. I bought an Amaze N Tube just in case I couldn't get smoke. I bought hickory pellets (not the name brand), but had a hard, time getting them lit and smoking. So I had some hickory chips, left the tube on the plate in the vault with pellets in it, loaded the rest of the plate with hickory, set the burner on high, and once the chips were smoking, backed the burner off. Viola, great way to smoke, the chips kept smoldering for hours while the burner was at low temps, and they eventually got the pellets going as well.

So I got the summer in first as I wanted that to get more smoke. All of my puttzing around meant I put it in at 3:00 pm. 3 hours in, I put the snack sticks in also. Kept the temp around 125-130. Around 7, I started raising the temp, and was in the 160's around 10:00. I figured those little sticks would be done by midnight, so I was planning on staying up, pulling the sticks, and then sleeping and having the summer done in the morning. Well, 6 am, I pulled off the first sticks. I went to bed for two hours, got up and pulled the next sticks, and by 10:00, all of the sticks were off. I was concerned they would be dry, and I was right, they are. They just wouldn't move off of 135.

At this point I was dead tired, and I wanted to be done, I feared the summer would be dry also, so I pulled it off and finished it in my Nesco in water at 165-170 degrees. The summer actually turned out good, but not excellent. It has spots where it seemed to fat out, and I'm thinking that has to do with temps varying in the cabinet.

So what have I learned? I like both recipes, but I'm thinking I need to change my method. I could have pulled the snack sticks earlier as they would have been safe, but they would not have gotten over 140 in many spots. How would that affect texture? Any thoughts?

The summer, I had to take to 150 because I used ECA, and I read that they capsules wouldn't melt until then, so although they were safe to eat at a lower temp, I had to get them up higher. Not sure what to do next batch, but thinking about smoking them in the cabinet just long enough to get good smoke on them, and finishing everything in the Nesco after they get that good smoke. To me, though, it feels like I'd be cheating, but then again, one could argue using an iGrill is cheating, one could argue propane is cheating, and the list goes on. I just wasn't prepared for that long of a stall, and I'm concerned my cabinet temps vary enough in different areas as to fat out some sausage, and not allow others to get to temp. Doing less at a time may help also. As always, I'll take anyone's thoughts/criticisms/ideas. At least it is all edible, and so I guess I will have to get to eating and giving it away if I'm going to run another test anytime soon. Ok, enough talk, here are a few pics.


Hanging to dry


Summer sausage


Snack sticks
 

driedstick

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Nice looking snausages and sticks there sir,,,, I still have yet to use the ECA,, can you tell the difference?? 

A full smoker is a happy smoker 

DS
 
 

crankybuzzard

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Looks like a job well done and I'll bet the house smelled great with all that meat hanging!
 

bladeguy

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Not sure if you mean the difference from using fermento vs ECA, or using nothing vs ECA. Versus using fermento, there is a slight difference, although both are good. Versus using nothing, absolutely. ECA gives you that tangy flavor like many summer sausages are known for. This was my first time using ECA, and for summer, I will use it every time from now on, but that is personal preference. Hope my answer was helpful.
 

bladeguy

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Actually, the sausage hanging prior to smoking had no smell to it. I need a better location, though. I hung the pole between the backs of two chairs, and ended up knocking everything to the ground a couple of times by bumping the chair walking by. Nothing a little water wouldn't clean up from the casings, but I did lose a few sticks that way, but hey, that allowed me to test fry more sausage just to make sure it was good!
 

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