Im evaluating some products from Frisco Spices so I pulled a bunch of venison trim out of the freezer as well as pork shoulder trim. I used 16 pounds of Venison and 9 pounds of pork shoulder and gave it a few days to thaw in the cooler.
I ground the meat last night through the 3/8 plate.
I grind the night before the smoking because cure (Sodium Nitrate) is added to the meat and it needs time to cure the meat.
These sticks will also have mixed in with the meat some dehydrated and crushed Jalapeno as well as high temp cheese.
This is the cure/salt. It normally pinkish in color.
I mix the seasoning and cure and jalapenos with 3 cups of water to better distribute it with the meat. Trying to mix dry seasonings with ground meat never works well and you end up with pockets of over seasoned as well as pockets of underseasoned meat. The cheese will be added later.
After seasoning and mixing the meat is packed tightly so there are no air pockets and then covered and removed to the cooler overnight so the cure can do its work.
This morning I preheated the smokers and then ground the meat a 2nd time. This time through a 1/8 inch hole plate.
The cheese is added right before stuffing.
Its kept frozen until its poured over the meat and then mixed in with the meat for even distribution.
Then half is loaded into the 100 year old Enterprise stuffer and the wife and I get to work.
I normally use 19mm collagen casings but this package came with 21 mm so they will finish out a littler larger in diameter than my finger. Larger diameter just mean more time in the smoker.
The stuffer tube I made will work for as small as 18mm (3/8 of an inch
Collagen casings are edible but unlike natural casings do not need to be rinsed in water. They are used right from the package. I turn the crank and my wife regulates the fill to make sure they are not underfilled and so they donít burst. Collagen will split and burst if you try to get them too full
The lengths are coiled during stuffing. Its just easier to manage them that way.
I start with the smoker preheated to around 100F and all dampers open. The coils are then straightened out and since my smoker was built with lots of head room, I cut them into 66 inch lengths and pinch the center where they will hang on the smoke sticks.
For these sausages I will use a mix of Hickory and Pecan chunks.
After one hour of dry time I add the wood chunks to start smoking. Less in more when it comes to smoking sausage. You donít want soot or ash so a little smoke is all thatís needed.
Throughout the morning and afternoon I slowly raise the temp to 180F. I have a remote probe in one stick of sausage so I can monitor the batch. When they get to 170F the door is opened and they are allowed to cool in the smoker.
The distribution of cheese and jalapeno flakes looks good.
When cool enough to work with, they are removed from the sticks and then cut into manageable lengths. They then are placed in the cooler overnight and then vacuum sealed. 25 pounds of meat with the water, cheese, spices and jalapenos came out to 30 pounds of pre-smoked sausage. The final weight of the finished product was 20 pounds.