Venison links not taking smoke

  • We have been processing a variety of venison sausages for a few years with great results. For the first time, however, we had an issue with the casings taking on the smoke. They remained opaque white on many of the links and patchy on others.

    The sausage was mixed with 50% pork, seasonings, just under 4 liters of water and carrot fiber per 25 lb batch. We used the 32-35 mm tubed hog casings, stuffed the links and stored in refrigeration overnight. The sausage was then hung in smoker running through a drying cycle at 100 for about 2-2.5 hrs until tacky and no longer sweating, then smoked at about 160. After two hours of smoking most of the links appeared to be sweating some and white. The sausage reached temperature and was removed, ice bathed and hung. After the second batch of this issue, I hung the third batch of refrigerated links to air dry some prior to adding to the smoker. The third batch took the smoke better, but was still not up to par. It tastes good, has a nice texture and deep red color. The casings look unappealing, however.

    In previous batches we have not used carrot fiber. The meat was mixed with seasonings, water and set in meat lugs to cure overnight. Then sausage was then stuffed and run through the same process in the smoker. I am wondering if one of the changes we made might have caused this issue; carrot fiber, too much water, the stuffed links being stored overnight? Or am I having issues with my smoker?

    Thank you for any insight!

  • Walton's Employee

    @KellyJordet I spoke with our application specialist about this and he says if you are really getting a tacky surface then the issue is most likely your smoker no producing enough smoke. He also said that a possibility is that the outside is too dry and doesn’t recommend that you dry them for 2.5 hours. We’d also recommend that you not jump right up to 160° instead step it up in stages. Start at 120 for an hour then 140 for about and hour then to 160 and finally at 175 until it reaches 160°

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