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Blackhawkxp

Electric Roaster for Sausage

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Starting the next batch of summer and polish sausage this weekend.  I've been toying with the idea of using an electric roaster to finish the sausage from the smoker.  From the limited research i have done it looks like it would speed up the process quite a bit.  The process as i understand it is that you bring the water temp in the roaster to 165 degrees or so and then drop the sausage into the roster and once it has reached an internal temp of 152 degrees you pull it and drop in ice bath.  They claim smaller links like polish takes about 30 minutes to reach 152.  Seems to take hours in the smoker.   Has anyone attempted this?  If so can you chime in on the do's and dont's.  Seems pretty straight forward from what i have read.

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Interesting. I imagine after you get the smoke in them you could finish them off in a lot of ways. 

You are probably right about it speeding things up. 

Is there a reason why you would use that over just putting them in the oven?

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8 hours ago, PurpleFloyd said:

Interesting. I imagine after you get the smoke in them you could finish them off in a lot of ways. 

You are probably right about it speeding things up. 

Is there a reason why you would use that over just putting them in the oven?

I would use the oven

That is what I do when I have multiple batches I have to make. That way I can get the next batch in the smoker sooner

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So, is there any sort of design advantage that would make the roaster a better choice than the oven? 

Would it Cook more evenly, faster or would it be that it's portable and can be done in a basement,garage or other location and not the up the oven?

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turkey fryer works too, biggest deal there is keeping the temp down in the water, also good for blanching sweet corn..

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I have used the wifes oven as well to her dismay. The water bath method seems like it would be a lot quicker with less hot and cold spots for a more even finished product.  I figured the roaster has a thermostat that would help keep the temp more consistent than the turkey fryer.  I think i am going to give it a try and I will let you know how things go.

Here is a post from a different forum on the subject:

Tee asked me to do a write up on the use of a hot water bath to speed up the time on smoking sausage.

For full disclosure, this is not my idea and I learned of the Turkey Roaster idea on another forum.  The first one to bring the hot water bath to my attention was Kirby and he posts on another forum.  When he and his buddies make sausage they are making 60 pounds or more at a time.   Kirby has a large stainless steel tub that he made that is heated by propane heaters that he puts the tub over.  He has water circulation pumps pulling water off the bottom and shooting over the top to keep the water at a constant temp.  He will smoke a load of summer sausage or hot dogs or sausage or what ever road kill he has made up and smoke with heavy smoke for a few hours.  After the smoke he pulls them and puts them on racks and lowers them into his tub to finish off.  While the hot water bath is going he puts another load in his smoker and repeats the process.  He can put up a lot of smoked sausage in a short amount of time.

After Kirby started posting about his hot water bath a few other guys on that forum started doing the hot water bath using a Turkey Roaster.  I don’t know who came up with the idea and if I remember I will be sure to edit this to give them credit.

Why a hot water bath instead of just finishing them off in the smoker you ask.  Well, several things.  First it cuts the time by at least one half.  Second, the sausage turns out plump and juicy.  Third, you can do several loads in a day instead of just one.  

Why does doing the hot water bath speed up the process?  Heck, I don’t know the scientific reason but I would hazard a guess that water is a great conductor of heat verses air.  For some reason, meat that is put in hot water say at 160 degrees will get to an IT of 152 a lot faster than meat that is in 160 degree air.  You can have hot and cold spots in your smoker and that too will tend to keep the meat from coming to IT.  Water will cover all surfaces of the meat and be consistent which helps drive the IT up.

It is just like having your house temp at 78 degrees and having a tub of water at room temp, the tub water will feel cooler to the touch than just sticking your finger in the air.  When you finish a long smoke in the smoker it is suggested that you plunge the sausage in a cold water bath to take the temp down to around 100 degrees to stop the sausage from cooking and then to let it bloom at room temp for a few hours.  I don’t use any ice in my cold-water bath as I just fill a tub with cold water from the faucet and it is pretty much at room temp.  When I pull sausage from the smoker with an IT of around 152 they go into the cold-water bath and they loose the heat pretty fast.  They loose it faster then if you just lay them out or hang them at room temp and let the air-cool them down.  So the process for cooling is the same as for heating if you get my drift.

If you decide to do a hot water bath please very carful not to let the water temp get above 165 degrees or you will fat the sausage out.  Also remember that probes are not waterproof and you will short a probe out if you get the lead in the water.  Don’t ask how I know this.  You can use a food grade sealant to seal where the lead goes into the probe and this should take care of a potential problem.

I don’t use the hot water bath on all of my sausage as I am kinda old school and like to finish my summer sausage in the smoker then do the cold water bath and then bloom and fridge them.  When I am making Kielbasa or smoking other sausage that have been stuffed in hog casings I like to do the hot water bath as I have found that the casings don’t dry out or become tough.   If I am using collagen casings I don’t hot water bath them as I have had them get loose and peel.  I have had good success with using cellulose casings with the hot water bath and after blooming them and in the fridge over night the casings peel right off and I have a great skinless dog or skinless sausage.

I will mention that if you do use the hot water bath and if you see what looks like water between the casing and the meat DO NOT poke a hole in the casing to drain out the “water”.  It ain’t water!!!!!! It is fat that has rendered and it is under pressure.  I can tell you that poking a hole in a casing to let the water out will shoot a stream of hot grease across the room and if properly aimed it can coat the kitchen ceiling.  Don’t be concerned about the “water” pockets if you get them.  Just let the sausage cool down and fridge over night and the fat will get solid and you can peel the casing and wash it with warm water and all is good.  Or you can just throw on the grill and all is well.  Them little fat pockets between the casing and the meat never hurt anyone.  You generally get them when you stuff and get a fat lump next to the casing and as the meat sets up the fat doesn’t have anywhere to go.

I hope this has some been of some help to those that are willing to try a hot water bath or perhaps never heard of the hot water bath.  

Edited by Blackhawkxp

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You can also steam cook them in your smoker...

FROM CURLY'S SAUSAGE KITCHEN page: Steam cooking speeds up the process of the final cooking stage in sausage making. Makes for a better wrinkle free sausage, using humidity as heat source instead of dry heat.

  • Take a full pan of water and bring to a full boil on stove.
  • Place boiling pan of water and put on heat source of smoker
  • Turn heat to high so to keep water at a FULL BOIL.
  • Close damper you want to keep humidity in smoker.
  • Make sure pan of water does not run out, add more boiling water.
  • Cook sausage to 150 degrees, this will take about half of regular cook time.
  • When sausage is cooked cold shower with cold water.

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The roaster method actually worked pretty well to finish the sausage.  Typically when i would try to finish in the smoker and at times in the oven i would get hot spots where part of the sausage would get burnt or dried out and other spots were not up to temp.  With the water bath all of the sausage is at the same temperature so it is a more consistent product.  I found that i needed to keep the dial on the roaster around 375 to maintain the water temp at 160 ish.  Summer sausage with hi temp pepper jack cheese.

20171117_171247.jpg

20171117_185229.jpg

20171117_185240.jpg

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I have been one of those that would use the oven to finish. I do not care for the smoke smell on my hands when handling the sausage. Did it seems to take the smoke residue off the skins using this method ?

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23 hours ago, Blackhawkxp said:

The roaster method actually worked pretty well to finish the sausage.  Typically when i would try to finish in the smoker and at times in the oven i would get hot spots where part of the sausage would get burnt or dried out and other spots were not up to temp.  With the water bath all of the sausage is at the same temperature so it is a more consistent product.  I found that i needed to keep the dial on the roaster around 375 to maintain the water temp at 160 ish.  Summer sausage with hi temp pepper jack cheese.

20171117_171247.jpg

20171117_185229.jpg

20171117_185240.jpg

Nice job on something I had never considered. I may just have to give that a go this winter. 

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3 hours ago, Jim Almquist said:

I have been one of those that would use the oven to finish. I do not care for the smoke smell on my hands when handling the sausage. Did it seems to take the smoke residue off the skins using this method ?

I'm sorry but I guess i didn't really pay that much attention to the residue.  I usually use a set of tongues to handle them so i really cant say.  The one thing i may do different next time is poke holes in the casings.  I didn't do that on this batch and i did get a bit of fat build up under the casing.  Not horrible but something worth considering on the next go around.

Edited by Blackhawkxp

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When you start slicing some up see if your hands get the smoky  smell on them. Part of the reason I ask is when you get summer sausage from a good meat shop like Schmidts down in Nicollet, MN,  it dose not leave the smell. Just makes me wonder if they use liquid smoke to keep the batches more consistent flavor wise and the skins clear of the smokey smell.

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On 11/22/2017 at 9:28 AM, Blackhawkxp said:

I'm sorry but I guess i didn't really pay that much attention to the residue.  I usually use a set of tongues to handle them so i really cant say.  The one thing i may do different next time is poke holes in the casings.  I didn't do that on this batch and i did get a bit of fat build up under the casing.  Not horrible but something worth considering on the next go around.

Was the fat possibly there because the temp was too high? 

The sausage casings I buy are pre- struck and once my thermostat stuck on the smoker and the temp if the sausage got too high and the fat all drained out. It was quite a mess and the batch didn't end well. 

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On 11/22/2017 at 9:28 AM, Blackhawkxp said:

I'm sorry but I guess i didn't really pay that much attention to the residue.  I usually use a set of tongues to handle them so i really cant say.  The one thing i may do different next time is poke holes in the casings.  I didn't do that on this batch and i did get a bit of fat build up under the casing.  Not horrible but something worth considering on the next go around.

sounds to me like the temp was to high, the fat should not be coming out like that.....

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I normally poke holes in the casing when i smoke them.  I thought i would forgo this process because i thought water would get into the sausage. I am not talking about a lot of fat buildup, there was just a slight film under the casing in spots where I believe some small holes would allow this to drain out.  This was the first time for me trying this method so there is a bit of a learning curve.  Next batch will have holes and i will let you know if there is a difference.

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