And it’s magnificent!
I know there are others out there. Show 'em off!
Brianzipperdog123 asked about these in the Roll Call thread. I posted the recipe there, but that’s a great place for it to get buried. Plus, I’ve done a couple of batches since and made a couple of changes. I dropped the egg wash and am much happier with the crust on the top of the roll. I also made them larger (8 to a batch instead of 10) to better accommodate fillings and baked a little longer to make up for that. A batch of 10 was closer to a large dinner roll. In fact, I bet dividing the batch into 12 rolls would be about a perfect dinner roll size (and baking more like 12-13 minutes, total).
HARD ROLLS FOR WURST
YIELD: 10 buns or rolls
500 g flour (unbleached all purpose 4 cups) (or sub 100g whole wheat)
313 g water (11 ounces)
10g salt (1 2/3 teaspoons table salt)
3g instant yeast (1 teaspoon)
5g sugar (1 teaspoon)
10g butter (2 teaspoons)
(optional, but not recommended) 1 egg (beaten with 1 teaspoon water for wash
Mix all dry ingredients except salt well and add water until all of the flour is wetted and there are no
Let the dough sit covered for 20 minutes, then knead with bread hook for 3 minutes.
Rest for 15 minutes, sprinkle the salt over the dough, and knead for additional 3 minutes until the
dough is uniform and somewhat smooth. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.
Stretch and fold the dough letter-style (top to bottom and side to side) and let sit for 30 more min,
Stretch and fold and place dough in fridge overnight, covered.
Next morning, If the dough didn’t double in volume, let it sit out until it does.
Divide into 8 pieces weighing 85 to 88 g each and shape as desired.
Preheat oven to 450 F with a pan for steaming at the bottom of the oven.
Cover dough with oiled plastic and let proof until it’s 1.5 to twice it’s volume (about 90 minutes)
Just before baking, slash each roll lengthwise across the center. If desired (but not recommended), brush with the egg wash (BEFORE slashing).
Add 1 cup of hot water to the steam pan and bake for 8 minutes. Turn the
pan and bake for 8 more minutes or until 205-210F internally. Remove baked rolls to a cooling rack for at least an hour to properly cool (although dinner rolls can be served warm from the oven).
I’m in Bellaire, Texas, a small municipality pretty surrounded by Houston. We like to say that Houston is our suburb. :)
Both my parents are avid and excellent cooks, so I’ve been cooking for as long as I could pull up a chair to the stove or grill. I’ve been into cooking and food science for a very long time, and I’m always looking to learn something new. More specific to here, I’ve been into low-and-slow smoking for about 20 years. Other than what happens with barbecue-style smoking, I’ve done only a bit of curing here and there (mostly corned beef or pastrami or something like that), and I only started making sausage about a month ago.
My current cookers are a Weber kettle, a Klose 20x36 offset, and a Camp Chef Lux pellet cooker. I’m strongly considering a PK 100 and probably will pull the trigger on that sooner than later.
My favorite meat snack probably is dried sausage of just about any sort, followed up very closely by jerky and cracklins.
I’m very happy to have come across Walton’s when looking for sausage-making gear, as well as Meatgistics for what I’ve already learned. I’m looking forward to more.
“Low and slow” does not mean “as low and as slow as possible.” The idea of “low and slow” is to “cook” the collagen (the primary protein in connective tissue and what makes meat tough) to get gelatin. That both tenderizes the meat and retains moisture. Gelatin is what makes something “lip smackin’”! That reaction requires moisture, and one of the best cooking methods to make it happen is braising.
The idea behind wrapping is to achieve something of a braise. It also slows down evaporation. That keeps the meat from drying out on the pit, and it gets you through the plateau. In “Modernist Cuisine,” the authors finally showed us that the plateau is pretty much due to evaporative cooling. In other words, you aren’t so doing much cooking during the plateau. Instead, you are spending a bunch of time and fuel to dry out your final product. Or, you can wrap the brisket and get through that point (and get a better product).
Just like ribs, brisket’s high ratio of surface area to volume makes it particularly vulnerable to evaporative cooling. That’s why we wrap 'em both.
As for pink butcher paper v. foil? I’ve used them both and do agree that butcher paper sets the bark better than foil. It seems to allow enough evaporation to set the bark but not so much to stall the cooking. However, I get the same result just by opening up the foil when my brisket gets close to finishing (not on the bottom, mind you, but that’s the point, and I’m not as concerned about the bark on it). Since I’m only cooking 1 or 2 briskets at a time (instead of the 100 or so that Franklin’s cooks in a day), I don’t mind the extra trouble. Of course, it’s not like wrapping with butcher paper is much trouble.
So, I’m quite happy using either. Whatever is in front of me will do. If Aaron Franklin says that pink butcher paper is better, then I believe him. The man cooks more briskets in a few days than I’m likely to cook in my lifetime, so I’m going to listen to him. However, in my situation, it doesn’t really make much difference.
I did back when I started this sort of cooking, but I left the stress behind a long time ago. Some of that is due to experience with what might happen during a cook, but most of it is having made peace with the fact that things will happen. Just take it as it comes and move along. If you have any idea what you are doing, you’re going to make something far beyond what just about anyone normally gets.
Time is the greatest luxury, so give yourself plenty of it. Anything smoked holds well. Anything smoked also reheats well, so make it in advance and reheat, if you can get away with that. On that, you can reheat on site and make it look like you are “cooking.”
As for large events, choose your audience wisely (i.e., know you’re dealing with someone who won’t ride your butt about everything). Be confident in your knowledge and ability. Be humble, and accept comments graciously (no matter how they may be intended). In all likelihood, the negative comments sound louder than the positive, but that’s just because folks with negative comments tend to make much greater efforts to get them across. A lot of folks that like what you did may never say so to your face. If you know you delivered what you promised, then, you delivered what you promised.
Know that you never, ever can please everyone with everything you do, so never be disappointed when you don’t. Learn any lessons that are there to be learned, and then drive on.
No one is going to care about the bark. If you cooked it right on the first place and didn’t just cake a bunch of rub on it, holding it won’t do much to the bark.
If someone feels the need to give you grief about the bark (or tenderness or whatever), politely let them know that they are welcome to cook the next one so that you can learn.
I’ve been fortunate enough to be a member of a number of online communities, and this one rapidly has become an important one. It really does make a difference when a business is interested in getting to know its customers. Y’all want interaction beyond just orders, and you like to see your customers interact with each other. Not only do you want to teach your customers, you also want to learn from them, and you want them to learn from each other. It’s a wonderful thing, and it takes a genuine effort.
I echo Chef’s words that y’all are doing something right. This community is another example of how Walton’s wants to provide for its customers, how y’all want us to have the best experience we can, and how y’all know that works to everyone’s benefit on every level. Bravo!
All I wanted to do was make sausage!
– I use 1/2" dowels cut to 17.5". That was on advice from an Account Executive at ProSmoker who cooks on a PK 100. That’s been more than adequate. I managed to catch a sale on hickory dowel, so that was even better.
– I’d go ahead and cut 5 or 6 dowels, just to be sure. I’ve only needed 2 for my largest batches (11 lbs when you count in meat and cheese), so 5 probably is good enough. However, it’s the sort of situation that you don’t want to find out you’re one short when you need it.
– How you want to link your sausage is pretty much up to you. Personally, I just run as long a length as I can and then twist into links. I have been thinking about doing more rope style, though.
– You’ll need to do 2 levels if you want to smoke 25 lbs. at a time.
– Rotating is not impossible, but it could be difficult. As others mentioned, it might not even be a good idea.
– There are a couple things you can do to make better use of the bottom of the smoker. First, put in a water pan. That pan is not only good to help with humidity, but it also works as insulation between direct heat from the heating element and drip tray. The other thing to do is take a little extra effort and switch between the 1250 W and 625 W settings (more on that below).
– Extra Tip #1: Give your PK time to get up to temp. Even though you might get to your target temperature fairly quickly according to the thermometer, it takes more time for every part of it to come up to temperature, even if you only are at 120 F for drying. Give it a good 15-30 minutes after you hit that initial setpoint, and you’ll see flatter temperature swings and a more consistent cook. I use a separate thermometer in the cooker (for a few reasons), and I see the difference between it and the PK thermometer start out fairly far apart at first but then get pretty dadgum close after 20 minutes or so of hitting the initial setpoint.
– Extra Tip #2: Switch between 625 W and 1250 W as appropriate. 1250 W is great for when you first turn on the cooker and are trying heating it all up, but leaving it on there leads to larger temperature swings (the overshoot is greater when set on 1250 W). I’m good having it on 1250 W when raising the temperature 10 degrees F or more, but I switch it back to 625 W when I’m around 5 degrees F from my setpoint. That’s done a LOT to flatten out the swings. There always will be swings because that’s how electrical cookers work, but it’s nice to flatten them out a bit. I might even just leave it on 625 W if I am not in a hurry and doing something semi-dried (like Summer sausage), as long as the weather lets me (not cold and windy). It’s a little more work and a little more time, but I like what I’m getting for that effort.
– Extra Tip #3: Get a remote thermometer so you can see what’s going on while you’re away from the cooker. You don’t need it, but you’ll like it. I use my Thermoworks Signals.
– Extra Tip #4: As already mentioned, you won’t need or want smoke going all the time. 90-120 minutes likely is plenty. While you might want a little more (for something REALLY smoky), you might even want less (matter of taste). In any case, you don’t want 5 hours of smoke. The smoke you get from sawdust and in the PK is pretty potent stuff. I actually measure smoke more in how much I put in the bowl instead by time. A full bowl is plenty, but I suppose that also can depend on what you put in there (I usually use a mix of oak, mesquite, and cherry). (On that, the 40 lb. bags are going to last you quite a while!)
Another thing, keep in mind that a “25# batch” of sausage is more than 25 lbs., especially if you are adding cheese. I expect you’ll need to split your batch for smoking. If you have the freezer space (and I hope you do, since you’re making all that sausage), you also could put some of that pork butt in the freezer and come back to it (go ahead and cube it up for grinding, if you want).
The Swiss and cheddar cheese are quite good, but the ghost pepper cheese is amazing for those that like it spicy (it’s not as hot as “ghost pepper” suggests, but it still has plenty of kick).
I’m looking back at your question and realizing I didn’t really answer.
Frankly, I don’t grind twice anymore, and I don’t intend to do so unless and until I do some emulsified sausage. I just use whatever plate I find appropriate. I’m just doing this as a hobby to please myself and those around me, and I found that I get very little (if any) bang for the buck out of a second grind. I would much rather grind once through my 3mm (1/8") plate than do a second grind
Now, if I had infinite time, a larger grinder, and a dedicated cold room where I could keep all my processing stuff, then I might change my answer. However, I don’t. I gotta tell you, I am very happy with the texture of what I’m cranking out, and I have folks slapping the table when they try it.
That said, I am pretty much sold on the idea of grinding fat no larger than 4.5mm (3/16"). Fat out becomes a much bigger problem at coarser grinds. It’s not that you can’t manage it, but it’s much more difficult. It’s certainly worth the small effort to separate the large chunks of fat in pork butt, beef chuck, and chicken thighs, and then to switch plates (and knives) if you are grinding your leaner bits at coarser than 4.5mm.
I’m afraid I have a similar answer. It depends on what I’m making. Many recipes give some guidance (some better than others) as to what grind you want.
I can tell you this–you’re not likely to kick yourself for having a plate you almost never use, but you will if you need a plate you don’t have. That said, if you plan on getting a different size grinder fairly soon, you can be a bit more judicious.
fatherwaz Hold off adding the water until you get the cooker to your target temperature, and definitely add boiling water. That’ll help with the time. The water is as much a heat sink as anything else.
There’s no reason to add the sawdust until you’ve added the meat. I reiterate that I don’t see much use in wetting the sawdust. I suppose they do last longer, but I don’t know if that’s good if the smoke isn’t really the sort you want. I learned to run a pit from some of the very best, and I was taught to get the “thin, blue smoke” if any visible at all. They called the thicker, white smoke “bad smoke” (and, then, there’s the yellow and brown smoke that they called something that would get censored here).
Just check it out. It might look like there’s no smoking going on when you don’t see much of anything. But waft over the chimney. There’s smoke.
When I look at online dimensions for the PK it shows H 48" x W 21" x D 21". Just checking your 22.5" cover width is accurate.
I got out my tape measure and measured the thing, and those dimensions were what I ordered. As I mentioned, the only thing I would change is the length. That was tricky to estimate because I didn’t know how the cover would hang over the control panel.