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Thread: Snack Sticks/Sausage Using Smoker and Sous Vide

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    Default Snack Sticks/Sausage Using Smoker and Sous Vide

    After determining my Traeger smoker was not adequate temperature wise for sausage making (needed something that started lower than 165 degrees), I bought my Smokin Tex 1400 back in November 2021 to do make snack sticks and summer sausage.

    Even then with the Smokin Tex, Iíve still have had some ups and downs. However, after some tweaks (e.g. adding a meat binder and also using a sous vide to finish) I will say Iím happy with the results with room for more improvement.

    As part of this post, Iíll go through my process for making summer sausage and snack sticks in using Smokin Tex paired with the sous vide.

    I usually use prepackaged seasoning from places such as PS Seasoning, Waltonís (Excalibur), Curleyís, Owens etc. Iíve also followed a couple recipes from Duncan Henry on YouTube who runs a butcher shop in Canada. I usually shoot for a lean to fat ratio of 80/20 to 75/25 for my ground meat as Iíve read/heard numerous times fat is a flavor carrier.

    I tend to mix by hand where Iíve learned the hard way that using a binder (e.g. Non dried fat milk, soy protein, sure gel, carrot fiber, etc) is critical for protein extraction in sausage making. If you donít use a binder, make sure you mix it super well so that itís very sticky. From what I have heard in researching forums (e.g. Meatgistics forum), using a binder is like having an insurance policy that can help against casing slippage or fat out. I also add cure #1 (e.g. speed cure or sure cure) since Iím starting the cooking process at such low temps which helps prevent botulism for instance.

    After mixing, I stuff right away into casings (collagen casings for snack sticks or fibrous casings for summer sausage). After stuffing, Iíll let them sit overnight in the fridge. Note, if Iím using a cure accelerator (e.g. encapsulated citric acid), Iíll skip the resting overnight in fridge phase and go right into the smoker.

    After resting overnight in fridge, Iíll pull sausage out and fan dry for a half hour or so at room temp while Iím getting the Smokin Tex ready. Iíll then add the sticks/summer sausage to the Smoker and heat the sausage with no smoke for half hour/hour at around 120/125 degrees. This drying and heat process helps the sticks/summer sausage to better take on the smoke. Note, I found that hanging meat on a rod instead of a grill grate seems to work best in terms of cook time. After that process Iíll add usually around 2 oz of wood to the firebox which I may add slightly more or less than that depending on the load of sausage Iím smoking.

    With smoke Iíll start to bump the temp to 130 and bump up 10 degrees every hour. I use an InkBird WiFi thermometer to monitor temps in the smoker and with the meat. From what Iíve noticed, a usual cycle runs at 30 to 40 degree swings which precision is more ideal for snack sticks and summer sausage but you can still make it work fine without something such as a PID controller. I just try to avoid my temp swings going over 180 degrees as thatís were you start to have fat melting and potentially rendering, which you donít want with your snack sticks and summer sausage. Note, Iíve had to play around with my dial via calibration and through temp monitoring but once you get a feel for that, it goes pretty decently.

    Iíll smoke the snack sticks/summer sausage to close to 130 degrees internal temp which takes around 4 to 5 hours of smoking which I donít do any rod moving/shifting during the smoking process. At that 130 internal temp, Iíll pull the sausage off and bring them inside where Iíll vacuum seal them and finish them in my sous vide that I set up at a temp of around 158 degrees. I vacuum seal the sausage, as it helps with keeping the meat from floating up (definitely monitor this) and I donít want any particles getting into the sous vide heating unit. The sous vide is very precise and can plump up your sausage (i.e. remove some of those wrinkles encountered in the smoker). I will submerge the vacuum sealed snack sticks/summer sausage into the sous vide for an hour and then check temp. If Iíve hit that 155 plus internal temp, I know Iím good to remove the vacuum seal package and cool down the sausage in cold water/ice/fridge. Note, if I added encapsulated citric acid in my meat, I may keep the sausage in the sous vide for a little bit longer to ensure all the capsules melt so the citric acid can release as that gives the sausage some tang. Total cook time pairing the Smokin Tex with sous vide is half the time it would have been without the sous vide plus the snack sticks/sausage are more plump.

    After cooling down, Iíll fan the snack sticks/summer sausage for a little bit before putting in the fridge to dry and bloom for a day or two before eating and/or freezing.

    If you have any questions, Iíd be happy to help. Thereís also others Iíve noticed on this forum that have been successful at sausage making, which theyíd be happy to lend a hand, too Iím sure.

    Anyway here are some pics. Happy smoking!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 89999170-4ACE-49B8-B012-8B4F62C5E970.jpg   4EEAFDD2-4314-487D-9E87-C0FB49969D12.jpg   99A6C06B-A184-4FCF-BE6B-FDCEC1F7A247.jpg   F5E7EE05-7BFA-4F8A-ADBB-DE725829A5AC.jpg   ED7C42EC-7BDD-4C76-91F2-C6C94B68E510.jpg  

    Last edited by SmokinSkog; 04-04-2022 at 12:54 AM. Reason: Grammar

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