Meat Processing Equipment - 104 Smokers
Meat Processing Equipment 104 Smokers
Attend this entry level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!
What Are The Main Functions?
Smokers are designed to cook food, usually at lower temperatures for longer periods of time, while imparting a smoked flavor at the same time. They do with wood chunks, pellets, sawdust or charcoal as the smoke sources, some also use the wood as the heat source.
How Do They Work?
Vertical Smokers -
Vertical smokers have a heat source, usually, gas or electric, at the bottom of the smoker and the pellets or wood chips sit on top of the heat source causing them to smolder and smoke. There will be one or more dampers on the bottom of the smoker and one at the top to allow smoke come up from the bottom and out of the top, drawing the smoke up and over your product. The one disadvantage to these units is that they are not suitable for grilling, they really can only be used as a smoker.
Offset / Barrel / Ceramic -
If you like Charcoal and wood smoking then a Ceramic, Barrel or offset Smoker like the ABS Pit Boss might be the best way for you to go. These work great for smoking large amounts of meat at a time or large cuts of meat. The Pit Boss has a rotisserie inside it that keeps the meat moving to make sure everything gets the same amount of smoke and prevents you from having to worry about any cold spots in your smoker. These smokers can range anywhere from basic to very advanced with electronics monitoring the amount of air flow and rotisserie. These types of smokers provide the most classic smoke flavor as they use wood chunks and/or charcoal as both the smoke and heat source. In my opinion, the only disadvantage to these types of units is the cleanup and setup required.
Pellet / Combo Smoker -
A pellet combo smoker is a good choice for someone who will do some smoking but always wants to be able to easily grill on the same piece of equipment. These use wood pellets and can smoke at temperatures as low as 150° or grill up to 500° or more. They have a hopper with the pellets on one side, an auger that feeds those pellets down into a heat source than then burns the pellets to act as the heat and smoke source. A chimney will be set off to the opposite side from the hopper to draw the smoke out of the grill area. The advantage to these units is the ease of use, just hit a button and they are ready to go. The disadvantage would be that you are not going to pick up as much smoke as you would with a wood smoker and you generally won’t be able to start below 150°
How Important Is It?
Smokers are an essential part of the homemade sausage and meat snack making process. For commercial processing, a good smokehouse is where I would recommend you spend more money as you can make it back faster than on almost any other piece of equipment. For home processors, a quality smoker will give you a much better-finished product and make your entire process more enjoyable.
People without a way to smoke can absolutely still make Summer Sausage, Snack Sticks or really any other type of meat snack. You can cook all of these items in an oven and you can add smoke flavor by using Hickory Smoke Powder. Of course, a smoker is preferable as it will give you a more authentic taste.
Should You Buy One
Absolutely you should get a smoker. If you don’t think you will smoke enough to spend the money on a dedicated smoker you can get a pellet combo grill to replace your propane smoker! Meat that comes off of a pellet grill/smoker has a much different flavor than meat cooked on a propane grill.
Best Choice For Beginners
The Weston 30" Vertical Smoker is an inexpensive and easy to use vertical smoker that, with some practice, will let you smoke almost anything you can think of!
Make sure that you are using the correct fuel source for you vertical smoker. Some, like the PK-100, need to use sawdust only and pellets can create issues.
Specialty Sausage 102: Making Lebanon Bologna
Attend this entry-level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!What Is Lebanon Bologna?
Lebanon Bologna was originally made by the Pennsylvania Dutch in the 1800’s. Traditionally it is a dark bologna, similar to salami in appearance and texture and it has a tangy flavor. It is often eaten as cold cuts and it can be slow cured and cold smoked or smoked using more modern methods. We are going to be making a version today that will not be slow cured or cold smoked as that makes it more difficult for the average home user.Meat Block
If you can you should cut the fat off of your pork and grind your pork fat separately through a 3/16th plate twice. Then grind your beef and lean pork through a 3/8 plate and then through a 1/8 plate. Keep ground pork fat separate. Making sure EVERYTHING but especially your pork fat is cold before you grind it is very important here for particle definition.Meat Mixing
Place lean meat in the mixer. While mixing add Lebanon Bologna seasoning, Sure Cure and Ice Cold Water. Mix for 5 minutes. Add ground fat trim, sodium erythorbate and mix for 3 more minutes. Lastly, if you are using Encapsulated Citric Acid add it during the last 60 seconds of mixing. If you add the Encapsulated Citric Acid too soon you could break the encapsulation and release the acid into the meat too soon.Sausage Stuffing
Stuff your meat into fibrous casings that have been soaked for at least an hour in water that is 80 - 100° so the casings are pliable. These casings are tough and durable so don’t worry about blowouts just stuff them fully but make sure to leave enough room to get a hog ring on the open end. When stuffing larger diameter casings it is important to choose the largest of the stuffing tubes that your casing will fit over and make sure you are gripping it nice and tight, we want these casings packed nice and solid.Note
You can also use Fibrous or Non-Edible Collagen casings, we chose this as it had the capacity we wanted and it presented the product well.Thermal Processing & Smoking
To smoke start them out with 125 for 1 hour, then 140 for 1 hour then 165 for an hour and finally at 180 until the internal temperature reaches 155°.Cooling
Place it in an ice bath or shower for 20 minutes to bring the temperature back down and then hold at room temperature for 2 hours and then move to a cooler or freezer before vacuum packing. I let this sit in a refrigerator overnight before slicing to make sure the temperature was brought all the way down.Wrap up
All in all, this is very similar to making a salami or even a summer sausage, the main differences are separating out the pork fat from your lean and using the correct ratio, seasoning, and casings. The fried Bologna sandwiches were very good!Additional Tips Removing the fat cap before you break down your pork butt is easier sometimes, it all depends on how it looks before you start cutting into it. I put very little smoke on this as I didn’t want that to dominate the taste so I filled my smoke tray about 1/4 of the way full. I am glad I did it this way as it allowed for the Lebanon taste to come through more. Other Notes
I added X-Tra Hot Red Pepper to this to help give it a nice zip and to cut some of the sweetness. I used it at a ratio of 3 oz per 100 lb of meat and since I was doing 10 lb that means I used .3 of an oz.Watch WaltonsTV: Specialty Sausage 102: Making Lebanon Bologna Shop waltonsinc.com for Cured Sausage Seasoning Shop waltonsinc.com for Meat Grinders Shop waltonsinc.com for High-Temp Cheese
Specialty Sausage 101: What is Specialty Sausage?
Attend this entry level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!What is Specialty Sausage?
As much as you might love bratwurst, summer sausages and snack sticks sometimes you want a sausage that is a bit more unique. It might be a recipe you tried once in another country, one that your grandparents used to make or something just sounds really exotic like blood sausage. Recipes and knowledge of how to make these types of sausage are often passed down from generation to generation.
For whatever reason, these types of sausages have fallen out of favor and are sadly relegated to the specialty stores of the home processor. Maybe opinions have changed on the type of meat used, the way it is cooked or the seasoning or spices used in the original seasoning. The good thing about this is it gives you the opportunity to “rediscover” plenty of types of amazing sausages.Types of Meat Required
Sourcing the meat might be a little harder for this than a normal sausage but a quality butcher should easily be able to get you pork liver, trim and even pork blood that you will need to make some of these. Others like Lebanon bologna and some landjaeger only require a mix of pork and beef and a special seasoning.Casings
Many specialty sausages will also require a special or a specific casing to be used. Braunschweiger has a special plastic casing specifically for the production of that product and others like landjaegar simply require that you use a natural casing like hog or sheep intestine.Smoking
Smoking and cooking will also be different with a lot of these sausages, a normal smoke schedule might not work for your needs on these products. We will be making Landjaegr, Lebanon Bologna and Blood Sausage in the 10’s and then go for some even more out there products in the advanced classesShop waltonsinc.com for Jerky Seasonings Shop waltonsinc.com for Vertical Smokers Shop waltonsinc.com for Weston Dehydrator 160L Pro Series
Weekly Blog Post - PreThanksgiving & Specialty Sausage
Find out what's going on at Walton's and Meatgistics this week. We will have a loose schedule for soon to be released videos, what we are working on long-term and maybe a few quick tips and tricks that are on our mind!What Videos are being released soon?
We just released our Pre Thanksgiving Sales that will be good through Friday so you should absolutely check that out. You will also see that we have reduced shipping on orders over $5 all week.
ThanksBlackMonday - This is the “fun” video that we do every year! This year we split it into thirds so the first round of sales will be good from 11/19-11/26, the second round starts on Black Friday (11/22) and ends on Cyber Monday and the third round is Cyber Monday only!
Specialty Sausage 101 & 102 - In these two videos we will be going over specialty sausage as a category and then showing you detailed steps on making Lebanon Bologna. Ours came out amazing so if you are planning on making any this year watch the video for some tips on how to make a delicious Lebanon Bologna!What Projects are we looking ahead at?
Specialty Sausage 103: Landjaeger - We made Landjaeger or a version of it at least! It came out tasting excellent but the appearance wasn’t exactly what we were going for, for more details keep an eye out for this video in the next few weeks.
Specialty Sausage 104: Blood Sausage - We haven’t made this year and it is going to have to wait until at least after Thanksgiving but hopefully we will get to it soon! We are excited about this as it’s a true odd-ball in America and we want to see if we can make some improvements to it!What’s on our Mind?
It is almost Thanksgiving time and I’m going home for the first time in years! Like everyone else, I am excited to see family and friends and eat delicious food! Don’t forget to take a few minutes this Thanksgiving to really concentrate on what you are thankful for. For me, a huge thing I am thankful for is this job, I really love what I do here! I mean, who wouldn’t love talking, filming and answering questions about meat processing all day!New Products
The Talsa K50 Bowl Chopper and the Talsa K80 Bowl Chopper are two brand new choppers from Talsa. These are large commercial pieces of equipment that allow you to do everything from a rough chop to an emulsification of your meat products. Either of these machines will work on everything from pulled pork to hot dogs!
Just so you know, in case you were looking for it and couldn’t find it, the ingredients are listed on the products web page. Just scroll down and click the “Additional Info” tab and it will show up.
The W Summer (4550300082) might be the most mild of all the ones you listed. That doesn’t make it bad at all just a very mild flavor
Summer 107 (4550300032) Similar to H, contains mustard seed but I don’t think it is whole.
Summer Sausage Seasoning (4550300012) Very similar to the 107 in flavor, has whole mustard seed.
H - Summer (G4550300070) is our best selling Summer Sausage Seasoning, contains whole mustard seed. If you are looking for a peppery seasoning this is the best one to use for a base and add some black pepper. This would be the basic summer seasoning favored by most employees and customer.
Another option, if you are making 100 lb batches or don’t mind breaking down the seasoning into smaller batches, would be the Ton’s Summer Seasoning (4550806642) It has a very good flavor and is pretty peppery if I remember correctly, I pepper is listed higher in the ingredients list than any of the others… Of all of the basic Summer Sausage seasonings (excluding ones like Jalapeno and Habanero BBQ) this is the second best scoring one amongst employees.
@tincuptom i can only speak to the H summer sausage seasoning, but it has a lot better taste than the backwoods. Not a lot of pepper (you could add more I am sure) but it is a good solid flavor profile. I did not use the ECA for the tang, but plan on doing it this week in a batch. You can’t go wrong with the H seasoning!
I have been in search for a summer sausage seasoning with black pepper but couldn’t find one. I’m new at this so the H Summer Sausage is the only one I have used so I can’t give you any comparisons with the other 3, but you mentioned black pepper so thought I would share my first experience.
So I used Waltons H Summer Sausage and mixed in about a quarter cup of fine black pepper. I liked the results and several others did as well. It had a light pepper taste and I probably will add a little more in the next batch for a slightly stronger flavor. I used 25 lbs of venison and 4lbs of beef fat to keep it on the leaner side. Good luck, Bob