Over the past two weeks I’ve made two 15 lb. batches of summer sausage. Both turned out terrible.
On the first batch the fiberous casings (2.4 X 12 inch) were loose, wrinkled, and the casings were filled with fat. About ten percent of the finished weight was lost during smoking–the water basin in my smoker was half full of fat that drained off of the sausages. I determined that I had not mixed the meat enough to get good protein extraction. The sausage tasted okey, but was dry and had a terrible mouth feel–like eating a slice of cardboard.
On my second batch I added carrot fiber (2.4 oz for 15 lb. of meat) and mixed the meat in a bucket mixer until it seemed sticky and it looked like I should have good protein extraction. I smoked this batch in my electric smoker to the exact temperature/time schedule that you have published (1 hr @ 125 no smoke; 1 hr @140 with smoke; 2 hrs @155 with smoke; then 175 until internal temp reached 156 degrees.) This smoke/cook time took about ten hours to get to an internal temp of 156. It was a warm day, not freezing.
After smoking, both batches were cold water showered and chilled in ice water for about 20 minutes.
My second batch also de-fatted and came out terrible. The casings are wrinkled, not full. After mixing and smoking, the consistency of the meat is similar to a hot dog, but dry; and again with a disagreeable mouth feel.
My sweet wife, who supports me in my many and expensive hobbies, is starting to look at me like I’ve grown a horn in the middle of my forehead. She’s muttering about me messing up her kitchen with my inedible food experiments.
Guys, I need help. I suspect my mixing is the problem, although with the second batch I really thought I had the sticky consistency that should indicate good protein extraction, and with the added carrot fiber I was hoping to retain moisture and fat in the product. It didn’t work.
Where do I go from here?