When to start smoking process

  • Hi, i’m new at this! Making snacking sticks, they talk about the heat and how long, but at what point do i start the smoking process? Thank you!

  • Walton's Employee

    @dubepa I like to start smoke at the beginning of the second stage, the first stage is going to be drying mostly. For our smoke schedule that would be once you increase temperature to 140°, this should give you a nice finished product!

  • @jonathon thank you much appreciated

  • Power User

    Couple smoking tips:

    Like @Jonathon said first step is drying, don’t use any liquid like a water bowl. Crack the smoker door to let moisture out. Once they are dry to the touch they are ready for smoke.
    I like mine with more smoke so I keep wood on pretty much the whole time.

  • @parksider Is the door to stay open the whole cooking time? Is just opening the top ports not enough? Seems like it would be hard to keep your temp correct with the door cracked.

  • Walton's Employee

    @hinoon No, the door should not stay open the entire time. I think what @Parksider is referring to is cracking the door if your smoker/oven won’t start as low as 120° or so. Once that is over close the door for sure. If he is talking about just to get more airflow for the initial drying phase then it will depend on your smoker. I find that opening my top and bottom vents is enough but that may not be the case for everyone.

  • Power User

    @hinoon Sorry for the late reply, job gets in the way of my hobbies sometimes… That correct, just crack the door on low setting to help let the moisture out. If the casings aren’t dry they won’t take the smoke and you’ll end up with very ugly sticks. The water will wash the smoke off. We live in Rochester NY and it’s cold here…so if the sticks come out of the cooler they will sweat. Just dry them out an you’ll be good to put the smoke to them.

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  • P

    I do it all the time. Still remember my mom saying it’s not a good idea. I’m sure if you are buying a nice steak and intend it eat it as a grilled T-bone you might notice some flesh cell break down (texture change). If you are going to use it in sausage you will not notice any difference. Made brats last night. Once frozen pork and elk. Refroze the brats. I do it time and time again.

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  • E

    Here is a link to a website that has a handy Excel spreadsheet. It is, as it says a free non-commercial site.
    As for Waltons dropping the ball, I vote they are doing a great job.
    I think for all of us there are general guidelines, but unless you have a temperature and humidity controlled environment, both for the preparation, cooking (if you cook them) smoking, hanging etc, the results are bound to vary from batch to batch.
    Personally, I am searching how to get my home made smoked and dry cured pepperoni to the exact texture and firmness of Margarita pepperoni from the store.
    Through trial and error I have the flavor where I want it, but not the texture or firmness. I know time, temperature and humidity are all crucial, but the best I can do is in the basement and then subject to the environment that is there.
    I figure as long as I am not killing anyone or making anyone sick I am making progress. Thanks Waltons for all of the great information so far.
    Having said that, it would be nice to have your chart in an Excel spreadsheet.

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  • K


    Thanks Jonathon! One question tho! You eluded to 178 being high for a temp! Don’t you guys recommend setting the temp at 175 during the final stage to completion to internal temp? Three degrees shouldn’t make that much difference should it??

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  • K


    Sounds reasonable. Thanks for your input. Pulling the meat at 152 will make a big difference I bet! Thanks again.

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  • @Kinger Thanks for the information. Your process, other than going to 178, is on in my mind. The only thing I do differently is an ice bath for 20 minutes. Showering for 10 minutes, if you are running a cycle and a fan in your smoker can work, but I still think an ice bath would bring it down faster and more. Last time I did thick summer sausage it was down to 110 in 20 minutes, I also tried showering it at 2 minutes on 2 minutes off for 20 minutes and it was only down to 136 (ish) but i did not have a fan running on them.

    One more thing you might want to try, if you are stalled towards the end you can finish them up by putting them in a vacuum bag (I have done then hot, right from the smoker, some condensation in the bag but it still gets a good vac) and get some water going at around 165, it should get up to temp in under an hour depending on the thickness.

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