skipdiggidy When doing summer sausage or snack sticks or really any cured sausage like product I run the first hour without any smoke and I have the dampers pretty much wide open, this is just a drying phase. For starting temp it will change a little depending on the diameter of the product but I usually start out at 120°. Then I close the dampers down most of the way and start adding smoke at that point.
It has always seemed to work very well for me. Starting out adding smoke is going to cause the water evaporating from the casing to retain the smoke, then when it evaporates your casing has a strong smoke to it but it hasn’t really transferred to the meat.