Rookie Questions on Smoker Sausage

  • Traeger

    I agree with Samspade, too hot.

  • Team Orange Masterbuilt Sous Vide Team Blue Power User

    tombilliodeaux also did you have a leave in thermometer in the meat? It just seemed to long to hot.

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    tombilliodeaux Also consider the relative humidity in your smoker and airflow. If it was dry out and you had a lot of airflow within the smoker then 5 hours at 180 is going to be a problem for the skin of the sausage. What did you stuff them into? natural and collagen are fairly close but there are differences and there are differences within collagen as well. I’d guess you got some case hardening from either overcooking, or over-drying the outside of the sausage too quickly. New smokers can take a little bit of time to get used to!

    Adding a pan for humidity is good, but it is not going to a ton on its own. Here is some more information on doing that I love this hack but we need to do an actual video on it now that we are (hopefully) better at doing videos!

  • Yearling

    For what it’s worth, I use the Auber PID controller in my old Cookshack analog smoker and it gives me great temperature/time control. I’ve been battling tough hog casings all along, but less so since I’ve used the following: Temp 115 for 45min; 140 for 60min; 155 for 60min; 170 until internal temp reaches 140 degrees. Then into the sous vide cooker at 165 for one hour, then into a water bath to cool down. It’s a bit of a process, but the casing turns out much less tough (but still more tough than my wife and I would prefer - we like a snap, but not “tough”). Still trying to improve on it, so any suggestions much appreciated. The sausage I make is smoked Keilbasa. I do use a pan of water for humidity.

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    mikesr Makes sense that finishing it in water would help prevent the casings from drying as much and since you are getting better results with that I would say adding more Relative Humidity for the time it is in the smoker would help even more. I still think finishing in Sous Vide is the way to go, but by preventing them from drying out as much in the smoke phase you should be happier with your product.

  • Yearling

    Thanks Jonathon. I’ll try more humidity on a batch of wild duck/goose kielbasa that I’m going to put together in the next few weeks. Do you add humidity from the very beginning, or do you wait some time to add it?

  • Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Regular Contributors Power User Arizona

    mikesr from the beginning I would say. The goal is to keep it from drying out. Adding humidity also makes things cook much faster, so there is less time to dry out. Then when you hit the “stall” around 140f, where meat temp doesn’t rise because it is losing as much energy due to evaporation as it absorbs… well, a high relative humidity fights that also. Thats why many will wrap a brisket with foil or paper at that point to get them rapidly past that stall.
    Anyhoo, your stated cook schedule looks about perfect so you probably know all that. You may not know that the USFDA FSIS really pushes high relative humidity for all cooking in it’s Cooking Guidelines for Meat and Poultry Products, requiring a RH above 90% or you have to meet alternative methods. And 90% is a lot, more than a pan of water gets you, usually a sealed oven or steam injection. Not required for meat in sausage casings, but while reading their case studies, I did see several pros mention they got better case texture, less tough, by cooking sausages up at very high RH anyways. Just a datapoint I read that supports what Jonathon said above.

  • Yearling

    Dave, That’s great info. I’ll make an even greater effort to maximize RH in the smoker. Thanks!

  • Power User Cast Iron Canning Green Mountain Grill Iowa Sous Vide American BBQ System Regular Contributors

    mikesr said in Rookie Questions on Smoker Sausage:


    Ain’t nothing wrong with an OLD Cookshack smoker!
    Heck I’d take it off yer hands!

  • Yearling

    I’ll let you know if I ever decide to offload, but now that I’ve mated it with the PID controller, it’s doing everything I want.

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