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Smoking sausage for flavor, not for cure or cooking

 
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sheddcanyon
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Joined: 30 Oct 2006
Posts: 53
Location: Shandon, California

PostPosted: Thu Nov 02 06 12:16 pm    Post subject: Smoking sausage for flavor, not for cure or cooking Reply with quote

I'm entirely new to the science of smoking. I have, though, made some excellent elk sausage with friends who have a good deal of sausage making experience. In our last batch, we stuffed the casings and then froze the sausage, grilling it when we wanted.

I now want to smoke the sausage before freezing it, not to cook it or cure it, but to give it the additional flavor. Is this a smart approach? Or is it better to smoke all the way until cooked?

Should I avoid smoking the sausage before freezing?

I'd appreciate the feedback.
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wnkt
BBQ Super Pro


Joined: 03 Mar 2006
Posts: 1329
Location: Upstate South Carolina

PostPosted: Fri Nov 03 06 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would say heating the sausage up for smoking "just for a little flavor" and not actually curing it or cooking it would have the meat be in the danger zone for bacteria growth for WAY too long.
Dare I mention adding liquid smoke for "just for a little flavor"?
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Mark H
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Joined: 08 Apr 2006
Posts: 200

PostPosted: Fri Nov 03 06 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You have to remember sausage is an emulsion, like ground beef.
If you buy a freshly cut chuck roast, and a package of freshly ground beef on the same day, keep both packages in your refrigerator for 3 days or so, the ground beef will probably be spoiled, while the chuck roast will be a little dark, but OK to use.

Sausage is like the ground beef, it is an emulsion, that can have a very short shelf life. We can season ground meat with salt, and have the salt act as a preservative to an extent, but it's still going to spoil relatively quickly. Keeping this in mind, you have to modify your processing. A bratwurst is not cured, so this is usually grilled quickly. If you wanted to smoke a bratwurst, try to limit your smoking time where the meat is at a temperature where you can grow bacteria. IMO, keeping fresh, uncured sausage at smoking temperatures for 3 hours or so, isn't going to do harm, provided your preparation area is clean. You should be able to get a good flavor on in 3 hours, but you can still be applying smoke as you finish the sausage, that is, bring it up to fully cooked temperature.

Don't forget to cool the sausage in ice cold water, or even a cold spray with a hose. This rapid cooling will keep the sausage from wrinkling, and give you a nice looking product.
Mark H
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sheddcanyon
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Joined: 30 Oct 2006
Posts: 53
Location: Shandon, California

PostPosted: Fri Nov 03 06 5:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I understand both your food safety concerns regarding bacteria. My thought was to smoke the sausage long enough for the flavor, and then freeze it. Then, when it's time to cook, just grill it. Is this going to still create a bacteria problem?

I suppose my other option would be to just freeze the sausage and just smoke/grill when I'm ready to eat it.

I'm afraid of using liquid smoke for fear that the cooking gods may smite me.

Thanks for your advice.
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napper
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Joined: 23 Jun 2006
Posts: 129
Location: Mobile, Alabama

PostPosted: Fri Nov 03 06 6:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are going to keep it in the "danger zone" for any time at all I would suggest you use a cure in the sausage. I know it would affect the taste somewhat (different flavor) but I would not smoke it without a little sodium nitrite in there.

I have had food poisioning ONCE in my life and I do not EVER intend to take any chances.

Just my $0.02
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Mark H
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Joined: 08 Apr 2006
Posts: 200

PostPosted: Fri Nov 03 06 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I apologize, I guess I didn't answer your question.

I reread this, and what it sounds like is you want to make sausage, smoke a bunch, then put it up frozen in smaller packages to be used whenever you have a desire. I think this will work out fine, providing you handle things quickly.

Stuff the sausage, let it bloom for an hour or so at room temperature, then whisk it into your smoker. By letting it bloom at room temperature, it should be dry enough to start taking smoke right away. Give it a good 3 hours of smoke, and remember thin blue smoke, then chill with cold water or a cold water spray. The water spray will shrink the casing down around the wurst to prevent wrinkles. Let this bloom again only for 1/2 hour, (we don't have to let the wurst dry at this point) package it, and whisk it into the freezer.

There are a few caveats here. Make sure your meat is fresh. You don't want to put anything that is distressed into this product. Make sure you grind, season, and stuff the wurst in a continuous operation. If you run out of time, pause after you get the wurst stuffed, and put the stuffed wurst into refrigeration immediately. Make sure you get smoke on it by the next day, and get it into the freezer.
Make sure your work area is clean, clean, clean.
With all these safeguards, you should be just fine.
Good luck,
Mark H
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sheddcanyon
Newbie


Joined: 30 Oct 2006
Posts: 53
Location: Shandon, California

PostPosted: Sat Nov 04 06 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark H,

thanks for the info. We'll give it a try.
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BBQonICE
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Joined: 12 Nov 2007
Posts: 349
Location: Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan

PostPosted: Mon Nov 12 07 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Basic food safe guidelines are to get it out of the "danger" zone as quick as possible. I assume you will smoke at 140 or so for couple hours then cool down then put right into freezer. Usually when we do this we cool down then drop it into a pot of boiling water and take temp back up to 160 for 15 minutes...theirby it is ready to eat out of the freezer.

Regardless we still BBQ it, pan roast it, broil it when we eat it.

Good luck
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