First time making pepperoni meat sticks

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netspyman
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Post by netspyman » Thu Oct 09, 2014 22:46

OK took the plunge. I used 4 lbs of ground turkey and 1 lb of pork.I measured the correct amount of spices and cure and added it to the meat and mixed for about 5 min. I then prepped the stuffer by placing it in the freezer for 30 min and then filled the stuffer. I then stuffed them into 17mm casings i had and they are now in the frig to rest until i smoke them in the morning. Here are some pic.

Pic of mixed meat
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Pic of meat loaded in the stuffer
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Casing added to stuffer
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Starting to suff
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All 5 lbs stuffed and ready to put into the frig to rest.
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I will post more pics once i start smoking them this first step was not too hard once i got the hang of the stuffer.

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Post by cogboy » Thu Oct 09, 2014 23:03

Nice job! I think collagen casing are much harder to stuff then naturals . Those stix are looking good !
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Post by netspyman » Sat Oct 11, 2014 04:49

Finished smoking the sticks today. Didn't turn out the way i had hoped as it will take time to get used to my smoker. Here are the final pics of my first batch. They do however taste good.

Loaded in smoker
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Smoke rolling out of top
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Finished smoking
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Cooling in ice water
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Final product Brown looking not red liked i hoped. Maybe because it was turkey?
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crustyo44
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Post by crustyo44 » Sat Oct 11, 2014 05:00

You said that they tasted good. OK, one small battle won, now you have to solve the oven smoking problem.
You can only solve them by smoking more goodies, start with some bacon and watch temperatures, colour and taste. Make notes, don't forget.
We have all been in your position.
When will we see some more photo's and be jealous of what you made.
Keep it up, now you have the bug.
Cheers,
Jan.
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Post by crustyo44 » Sat Oct 11, 2014 05:02

You said that they tasted good. OK, one small battle won, now you have to solve the oven smoking problem.
You can only solve them by smoking more goodies, start with some bacon and watch temperatures, colour and taste. Make notes, don't forget.
We have all been in your position.
When will we see some more photo's and be jealous of what you made.
Keep it up, now you have the bug.
Cheers,
Jan.
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redzed
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Post by redzed » Sat Oct 11, 2014 17:56

Crusty is right, we have all been there and done that. I think I mentioned it already, every smoker is different and it takes time to get to know it. There is obviously uneven heat distribution in the chamber and that is very common. We usually can compensate for that by moving the sausage around a couple of times during the smoking session, making sure that the dampers are open about one third, and that the heat is raised gradually. There is also a tendency for the sausage to overheat and cook at the very top from the rising heat and at the bottom from the electric element. To try and avoid that you can hang the sausage more or less at center height. Others have installed fans to better distribute the heat and smoke in the chamber.

And there are electric smokers that just are not made for smoking sausage. They are fine for ribs, pulled pork, etc. but just not fine enough for sausage. I had one of these a couple of years ago and took it back after several sessions.

What I would suggest is that you get an oven thermometer and check the temp against the smoker's reading, since that may be way off.

Using the same source of heat to smoke and control temperature in a smoker is a challenge at the best of times. Many hobbyists now use a different source for the smoke rather than the pan on the burner. The simple Amazen smoker tray works well, or the Smoke Daddy generator. I have the Smokai generator and just love the way it simplifies the smoking process, while the element in the smoker is used only to provide the heat.

And you can usually make and smoke a good sausage by finishing by poaching. Smoke the sausage for two to 3 hours at 130-135, or until it takes on good colour, then poach it in water at a temp of 170-175 until internal temp reaches 152. And if you will be using turkey again, take it up to 160 for safety reasons. That way your sausage will not over cook or burn.

I hope that you are not too discouraged. Get back on the saddle and go for another ride!
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Post by two_MN_kids » Mon Oct 13, 2014 16:55

netspyman wrote:Finished smoking the sticks today. Didn't turn out the way i had hoped as it will take time to get used to my smoker. Here are the final pics of my first batch. They do however taste good.
Hey netspyman! Welcome to the forum, and congratulations on completing your first batch of sticks. I use a six-shelf Bradley smoker and have experienced that same problem of uneven heat. One attempt to finish cooking sticks even resulted in them being as dry as jerky, which was not what I was looking for.

Now, I rarely smoke to completion in the smoker. Most often, I start with a preheated smoker at 160° F, and drop the setting to 120° after the sausage is loaded to allow the sticks to dry for 30-60 minutes. Then apply smoke while slowly raising the smoker temperature to 150° F. After about 2 hours of smoke, I move the sticks to my kitchen convection oven. With that set at 190° F, it takes less than fifteen minutes to reach 152° F IMT, and no cold spots.

As the snack stick diameter is so small, they cool very quickly without the use of ice water.

Frequently, I only cook them to 145° F, and then hang the sticks with a fan blowing on them to reduce the moisture content by about 30%. I think this intensifies their flavor!

I used to purchase snack sticks from a local shop. They were always solidly stuffed and always wet! I tried for years to duplicate that, but learned from this site that I was paying for lots of water. Now, I think mine are much better than theirs!

Give it another try soon.
Jim
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netspyman
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Post by netspyman » Tue Oct 14, 2014 03:08

Thanks for all the comments from great and knowledgeable people. Well i ordered a dual external digital temperature probe (http://www.ebay.com/itm/291096386022) that will measure the internal temperature of the meat and the smoker itself. I also ordered a small battery operated fan which i plan to place in the smoker to help circulate the heat better to get an even temperature. With the addition of these two items in my smoker i think i can get a more consistent product. My next batch should turn out better. It takes practice and doing thing differently until you get what you want. I don't think my first batch was a complete failure just not exactly what i wanted.
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Post by Bob K » Tue Oct 14, 2014 14:15

Netspyman-

I am going to try to help since I have the same smoker. I am not trying to be negative.

I have tried an internal fan. What will happen is the fan will get gunked up and cease to work.
You also would need a fan that runs very slowly because of the confined area.
On convection ovens the fins are on the inside and the motor is external also the fins are smaller,and the air is forced out the sides parallel to the walls.

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Like Jim said with this type of smoker you are better off smoking at lower temps and finishing in the oven or by poaching. An Amazin smoke generator fits right next to your existing pan and works well. Also remove the sawdust/pellet pan

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Just prop open the chute for better air circulation.

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Collagen casings do not like to get wet, That is why they crinkled,Better off cooling in a cooler or fridge.

For better color let them "bloom" at room temperature for an hour or so, hanging or on a wire rack before cooling.

P.S. That smoker works well for BBQ and Cajun injector has some really good injectable marinades on their website. http://www.cajuninjector.com/
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Post by netspyman » Tue Oct 14, 2014 20:22

Thanks for the reply Bob. I have a cheap cold smoker already and plan on building a cold smoker with the same principle as the smoke daddy. The smoke is not my problem it is the heating. I will most likely finish it in the oven as suggested. My next batch will be done with pork and beef so it may work better. I do have one question is it better to leave the meat mix sit overnight in the fridge then stuff the day i smoke or stuff and then leave in the fridge? This first batch i stuffed and then left overnight in the fridge. I did notice that the color was different where they were laying on the cookie sheet.

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Post by crustyo44 » Tue Oct 14, 2014 23:00

Hi Netspyman,
I have an external ventury smoking attachment that pushes the smoke by an small aquarium compressor.
I changed to a bigger compressor with 2 outlets and 3 speeds. The second outlet pushes the smoke around the inside of the smoker by way of a small plastic hose and a 3/16 piece of brake tubing. Select the air pressure/speed that suits you best.
Saves having a fan and cabling inside the smoker.
It works great!!!
Good luck,
Jan.
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Post by redzed » Thu Oct 16, 2014 17:25

netspyman wrote: I do have one question is it better to leave the meat mix sit overnight in the fridge then stuff the day i smoke or stuff and then leave in the fridge?
Difficult to say which is "better" since both methods are acceptable. Sometimes it just comes to how you manage your time. And some guys just grind, mix, stuff, set/dry for a couple of hours and smoke. Nitrite works fast, especially if you have a finer grind but you still need to condition the sausage before smoking just to make sure. Read Stan Marianski's explanation here: http://www.meatsandsausages.com/sausage-making/drying

Stuffing the day before and setting in the fridge is OK, but ideally the sausage should be hung, rather than laying on a tray, since it may lose shape and dry unevenly. And if left too long, it may actually dry the casings too much and toughen them. Your frost free fridge is actually a dry environment with that fan kicking in regularly to prevent condensation. And you can't transfer it to the smoker directly from the fridge. You have to hang it at room temp for 1-2 hours to let it warm. Placing cold meat in the smoker will cause droplets of water to form on the casings and prevent it from taking on smoke uniformly.

Leaving the prepared farce in the fridge overnight will definitely condition it, but it will be slightly more difficult to work with, since the the mass will have stiffened considerably by then. A stiffer farce may result in air pockets in the sausage and if you are making a small diameter sausage like snack sticks, turning that crank on the stuffer can be a chore.

I still like to make sausage the old fashioned way, take my time and work carefully through each step. I have ruined more than one batch when I was making sausage and trying to do other things at the same time, or tried to take short cuts. I cut my meat into 1 -2 inch cubes, weigh it, add the appropriate amounts of salt and cure mix with the meat and refrigerate for 24-48 hours. On the evening before the day that I will be making the sausage, I weigh out and prepare the spices. This sometimes takes a while since I have to calculate the exact amount for the weight of the meat, peel garlic, and toast and grind some of the spices. I also place the grinder tray and auger assembly into the freezer before going to bed. In the morning everything is ready and I grind the the meat, mix and stuff. Cured chunks of meat grind much nicer than uncured meat. The meat is much stiffer and there is none of that watery exudate, since it was all absorbed back into the meat. The sausages then dry at room temp for a couple of hours. In the meantime I preheat the smoker and clean up. In following this routine, my sausages are usually ready by evening.
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Post by netspyman » Thu Oct 16, 2014 17:58

Thanks for the reply Redzed. I was planning on cubing my pork shoulder i just got and your suggestion of adding cure to it first is a great idea. Do you mix it with water and just mix in by hand? Not sure how the get all the meat to get cure with it being such a little amount of cure that needs to be added. I will do a lot of what you say because it makes since and will help me create a better product.

NETSPYMAN
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Post by Bob K » Thu Oct 16, 2014 18:24

Netspyman-
Combine the salt and cure together, much more volume to get a more even distribution. No liquid needed.
redzed wrote: add the appropriate amounts of salt and cure mix with the meat
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Post by rgauthier20420 » Thu Oct 16, 2014 19:47

Something I've done the last 2 times making a sausage that is to be slow smoked was have 1/2 cup of cold water per 5 lbs blitzed in the Bullet Mixture until mixed well and then pour that over my minced meat. I'll hand mix it really good and then cover it in a damp paper towel and then lid and into the fridge. It's produced a nicely cured product and the meat remained the appropriate color. It's how I did the CW's Polish Kielbasa. There are picture in the recipe thread of the resulting links.
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