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Thread: Will Auber controller help with temp throughout the cabinet? top-bottom, front-back,

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2022
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
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    7

    Default Will Auber controller help with temp throughout the cabinet? top-bottom, front-back,

    I am new to using my 1400 having only smoked a handful of batches of summer sausage and ring sausage, one batch of which just went into the dumpster. I have been finding that when loading all 5 racks with sausage (spaced to allow smoke to get around all sausage) that even when rotating racks and moving up and down levels in smoker that I get inconsistencies in doneness. I like to make around 15-20 pound batches as to reduce the cleanup time on grinder, mixer, and stuffer. This leads me to needing to smoke in two sessions already and I do not know if sausage would keep long enough to do so in three. Please let me know if I could.

    I do think my sausage has been fairly consistent in moisture, etc and I have stuffed it one day, put in fridge overnight, take out very early like 4 am, hang for 2-3 hours to get to room temp, then up until 2am next day waiting for it to finish. This makes me irritable and crabby or so my wife says.

    Having already thrown away $50 worth of product and several hours of my time, I am curious as to wether the digital controllers would also aid in consistent temperatures throughout the cabinet top to bottom, front to back, and side to side, I would think that without the temperature swings, the temp would also stay more consistent throughout. Granted the element is in the same spot but if held consistent I think it would reduce the need to rotate and raise/lower levels.

    I truly believe that if I were to use this over and over that in time I would master it without any modifications whatsoever. I just get frustrated as I end up doing this all myself and end up staying up all night waiting for my sausage to get done as I need to finish once started.

    Am I better off only smoking 5 pounds at a time and doing the extra cleanup? I really want to figure this out as I bought smoker primarily to do summer sausage, ring sausage, jerky, and beef sticks. The rest of my family does not care for smoked foods. I realize most people that use these primarily make foods other than sausage.

    I would likely have $250 in the wifi controller and am unsure if I would gain enough from it.

    Also, would running jerky dryer fan help or hurt trying to keep temperatures more equal inside cabinet?

    I have tried to read all sausage and temperature posts on smoking-tex and other smoker and meat processing forums, yet have not found results specific to what I am doing.

    While I hate to unnecessarily spend money on controller, I hate even more to throw meat away because i took it out too raw or too done as tired and just ready to go to bed as it has already been a 2o hour project.

    any advice appreciated.

  2. #2

    Default

    I bought my Smokin Tex 1400 back in November 2021 to make snack sticks and summer sausage as my Traeger does not start low enough temp wise. The temp cycle on the Smokin Tex definitely can make it a little more challenging at times for sausage making, as precision is helpful to avoid fat rendering thatís starts to occur at smoker temps above about 180 degrees. After doing research, I found using a sous vide (I bought an Anova) is a great investment to pair with your Smokin Tex. The sous vide gets your product done faster, is very precise, and makes a more plump product (see Meatgistics forum regarding sous vide). Basically, I smoke my sticks/sausage to around 130 degrees internal on the Smokin Tex. I track smoker temps with Ink Bird Grill WiFi Thermometer. I donít have to move any hanging rods or racks as I keep smoker door closed till Iím close enough to 130 degrees internal. Then at around 130 degrees internal, I pull product off smoker, vacuum seal, and finish in sous vide for an hour or two to get to an internal temp of 155 to 160. Note, Iíll do two hours in sous vide if adding encapsulated citric acid (cure accelerator) to my sausage to ensure it all releases into the meat. After that, I cool them down in something cold and then fan dry for a little bit before putting in fridge. Iíll let them continue to dry and bloom some more in fridge before eating or vacuum packing over the next day or two.

    Besides the sous vide, another important thing I learned about making sausage is to use a binder which aids in getting great protein extraction. This leads to a better product especially when it comes to meat properly binding to casings. From the forum research (e.g. Meatgistics forum) Iíve done, you can think of using binder as an insurance policy as it aids in protein extraction and helps prevent fat rendering out. I use PS Seasoningís Non Fat Dried Milk (NFDM) or Waltonís Sure Gel (preferred choice but NFDM is good, too). There are other binders out there too such as carrot fiber and soy protein. Itís really up to you/your meat texture preference, but Iíd highly recommend using a binder if you are not doing so already.

    And one other thing I found helpful is hanging your product seems to help with cooking time. I bought some some stainless steel rods to hang my sausage. I can only do about 10 to 15 pounds max in the Smokin Tex 1400 as I donít want my sausage touching as I want smoke penetrating all of the sausage.

    Iíve thought about purchasing the jerky dryer for the pre smoke drying phase but fanning them pre-smoke for half hour at room temp and then another half hour in Smokin Tex with low heat (120 degrees) and no smoke has worked just fine. After that, I add two to three ounces of wood and smoke away. I will say having the jerky dryer would help for making jerky, too but my Traeger has convection so that works for me, too.

    Additionally, regarding a PID controller, Scott Wallace of Smokin Tex steered me away from the PID from Auber as he said it shortens the life on heating element. He said they have considered offering a retrofit PID controller themselves and might someday offer one soon.

    Anyway, hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.
    Last edited by SmokinSkog; 03-30-2022 at 04:55 PM. Reason: Grammar edits/Added More

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2022
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
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    7

    Default

    Thank you so much for the detailed reply. I too purchased my 1400 for similar reasons. My Louisiana grills pellet grill with side cold smoke box would not go low enough in main compartment, but not get warm enough on cold side. I tried the hot plate with wood pellets in cast iron skillet method to heat instead of using the grill itself for heat but got frustrated trying to regulate temperatures. I soon found out that as nice of grill as I have, I simply did not have the right tool for the job.

    I was hoping to follow the KISS method and do a complete product solely in my smoker. Since I have an Anova Sous Vide machine, I may try that route with part of my next batch. I do not know if I can use it in a really large pot and do a full batch at once. The sous vide machine has only been used a handful of times as well so I am basically new to all of this. I do believe a great suggestion and will definitely give it a try. It truly does make sense to add the smoke flavor, then cook to exact desired temperature sous vide. I would assume I would remove from vac bag to hang to bloom, then vac pack again.

    I bought many ingredients to make sausage off various online recipies, including the nonfat dried milk, mustard seed, curing salt, etc but ended up buying some LEM Backwoods seasoning to try on my first batches of summer sausage. Maybe I should add the dry milk to the seasoning or go all in from scratch next time.

    As far as shortening life of element with a controller, if element would still last a few years, I would rather replace element and simply consider that a small price to pay and a good tradeoff for maintaining consistent temperatures.

    I am considering trying to hang my summer sausage next time. I see home depot has zinc and aluminum rods but do not know where to get stainless steel rods. Is it necessary to get the stainless for food safety or would zinc do just fine? Also, the bottom right of my smoker seems to be hotter than upper based on the sausage on rack there got done way before others. If hanging I am afraid that the bottom end would get done way before the top causing inconsistencies on same stick. I still need to place thermometers throughout to figure out my hot spots.

    Again, there will definitely be a learning curve to overcome for me. I believe that I have a great product that I just need to figure out. I appreciate the help given by Dix, Scott, and all of you on the forums. I hope someday to look back and laugh at the troubles that I am having. I am likely doing something wrong that I am unaware of. I think my sausage going in smoker is consistent in moisture and temp, etc but may find that they vary a bit causing isssues as well. Living in the desert now, I do not have the luxury of the cooler areas that I did when processing meat in South Dakota winters. I’m sure that hanging overnight in cool garage works better than storing in tub in fridge overnight before starting the smoking process the next day. I am scared to hang too long at 75 degree room temp before smoking. I think I went 3 hours last batch then 120 in smoker for first hour before added wood. Every step now is a bit different.

    Questions:

    What to use to hang summer sausage? I see that local home depot has threaded stainless stock, but only zinc or galvanized rods. They also have some square tubing but not in stainless. I would think that I may have issues strings catching with the threaded rod or scuffing up my rack tracks, but then again may help keep sausages in place. Ace hardware also has lengths in stainless threaded but only 1 foot lengths in rod form. Would aluminum rod be fine? Do you set them on top of rack tracks or fit into channel?

    Thanks again for the help.

  4. #4

    Default

    I thought about using aluminum rods but some people had concerns over hardiness properties with heat. I mean we all use aluminum foil in smoking/grilling, so I do not see why you couldnít use them. Wooden dowels would work too. I purchased some some stainless steel rods (precut to size I wanted) from a metal fabricator but they are not as cheap price wise as aluminum rods or wooden dowels. I have set the rods in both the channel and above the channel. If you do snack sticks I fold sticks in half to rest on rods. And Iíll use the string to hang summer sausage. Youíll have to experiment with hanging length, noting the middle has the firebox to consider. I do notice a little bit of wrinkling on a few snack sticks (usually ends may wrinkle slightly) in the smoker but since I do use lower temps and only get to 130 degrees internal, the wrinkles are not bad (binder helps keep them plump too). The sous vide can actually plump up your snack sticks and remove some of the wrinkling/makes them look really good. As far as summer sausage, I still have a little bit of wrinkles after cooling but I might not be stuffing well enough which you donít have to worry about blowouts with fibrous summer sausage casing in comparison in snack stick casing (e.g. collagen casings)

    And yes, I pull out the sticks out of vacuum seal bags after the sous vide process to cool and dry. And I wonít cover them in anything in the fridge as they further continue to bloom and dry.

    But yeah, you should be able to smoke your sticks for four or five hours in the Smokin Tex and then put in sous vide. I do the step up temp method in the smoker so it allows the meat to set nicely. The meat should get close to 130 degrees internal but I have pulled them out of smoker sooner (e.g 125 degrees internal) when I noticed a stall which finishing in the sous vide worked just fine. Then with the sous vide Iíll set to about 158 and heat vacuum sealed meat for an hour or two.

    Also note to make sure your meat goes through a drying process before applying smoke first as it allows for better smoke penetration. For me, after stuffing, Iíll put them in the fridge overnight unless Iím using a cure accelerator such as encapsulated citric acid. Then the next day, Iíll set them in front of a fan at room temp for half hour/hour. Next, they go into the smoker where Iíll do a half hour/hour without smoke. After that, Iíll add wood and smoke for four to five hours using the temp step up method. Because of the cycling temps with analog controller, Iíll start at 120 to 125 degrees and bump up a little bit every hour. I watch my InkBird to for temp cycling and internal temp of meat. Temp swings of 30 to 40 degrees are normal which I agree precision would be better for sausage making, but with using a sous vide to finish, this combination of smoker and sous vide has worked pretty good for me. I try to avoid the smoker going over 180 degrees for sausage/sticks which I set my InkBird probe close to the Smokin Tex thermostat probe in back of smoker. Definitely monitor the temp swings as itís possible you might have to calibrate the controller.

    Note, I sent you a PM with my email.
    Last edited by SmokinSkog; 04-01-2022 at 06:56 PM. Reason: Grammar

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2022
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
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    Default

    Thanks for the quick answers. Freezer still full from first attempts but anxious to try more soon before temps here in Phoenix get miserable. If I get it figured out before then I will be a happy man. The biggest problem with trial and error is likely going to be that I will try to eat it all up in short order to get rid of it. We human garbage disposals are like balloons and keep getting bigger.

  6. #6

    Default

    Yeah, you donít want to get blown up eating less than ideal sausage. So do small batches till you get it to your liking. Between screwing up sausage making a fair amount on the Traeger and little bit with the Smokin Tex, I finally got something Iím more happy about. Youíll get there too! And go easy on the wood too (maybe like 2 oz) as you can always add more later

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2021
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    21

    Default Another option. Fan

    I too have noticed wide temp swings , or hysterisis on thermostatÖ..noticed it with my remote weber thermometer.
    Its a rollercoaster +/- 20 degrees Ö. I make pork jerky using avwhole loin and 5 racks and have to rotate or they overcook the bottom.

    I made a drier fan from a 25 dollar 25cfm computer fan and it works greatÖ.115 volt plug inÖ..
    I am considering getting another to use as a recirculation fan inside the smoker.
    I think it would even out everything.
    Good luck
    Greg

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2021
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
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    Default

    Available from amazon

  9. #9

    Default

    Greg- Iíd be interested to see some pics of your set up. I too make pork jerky from the center/lean portion of the whole pork loin but I make mine on the Traeger which has has convection. If I were to make it on the Smokin Tex, Iíd need a fan set up like youíre describing or buy the Smokin Tex jerky dryer.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2021
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    21

    Default

    simple and works well
    just mount it on a piece of wood.....I drilled a hole in the side to insert a temp probe
    works great!Click image for larger version. 

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