poaching vs finishing in the smokehouse

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atcNick
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poaching vs finishing in the smokehouse

Post by atcNick » Sat Oct 12, 2013 18:37

Do you guys that smoke your sausage and then finish it by poaching notice any difference in the taste, smoke, overall quality or other characteristics vs. finishing them in the smokehouse?

Im considering the poaching method if it saves me some time, but not wanting to sacrifice anything.

Thanks.
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Post by sawhorseray » Sun Oct 13, 2013 00:02

The one time I tried that last year was with one on my pineapple sausage failures, but that's another story. I think you might get a softer, less crunchy bite using the smoker / water bath method, Norcal Kid is a expert in that method. One thing I think that has to be paid attention to is not putting them in a 165° water bath until they've sat in the 165° smoker for 20-30 minutes. As we know we start out smoking sausage right around 130° and raise the smoker temperature 2-3 degrees every 15-20 minutes until it reaches 165°. Dump the sausage into the water bath before it's acclimated to a 165° temp and all the fat will separate and turn to goo, same as it would if you jacked the smoker temp up ten degrees at a time. Others than me will know more. RAY
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Post by Walleye1 » Sun Oct 13, 2013 05:10

The water bath setup works very well. I Just did a 100 lb batch yesterday. Overall I would say it shaves off about 4 hours of time per load. I start my smoke as normal, run for about an hour at 130 to dry the casings, next I start my smoke (I like 2 to 2.5 hours) and begin to ramp the temp up at about 10 degrees per hour. Once the smoke is complete they will have been in the smoker for about 3 to 3.5 hours. I am not really concerned about reaching a specific IT at this point, I am looking for that nice mahogony color on the sausage. If they look good I pull them out of the smoker and into the hot water bath. If they are not the color I want I may let them go up to another hour. Tipically when I pull the sausage from the smoker the IT is around 130 or 133. For a hot water bath I use a propane burner and a 64 qt stock pot. I put about 10 gal of water in it and crank it on high until it reaches 160 degrees, then dial it back to an idle and it will maintain it perfectly with very little adjustment. I can get about 25 lbs of sausage at a time in it. With a 25 lb load in this setup it takes me about 15 to 20 minutes in the hot water bath which is a savings of up to 4 hours in the smoker.

On a side note if you try the hot water bath method don't panick when you see the beautiful mahogany color disappear on the sausage after a few minutes. It re-appears during the blooming process. I like to bloom mine for at least 2 hours.

Here's a few pictures of my setup...

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Mike
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Post by markjass » Sun Oct 13, 2013 06:03

Wow those look good. What kinda sausages are they?

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Post by redzed » Sun Oct 13, 2013 06:18

Hey Walleye those sausages look great! Great colour on the kielbasa and perfect texture on the summer sausage. When are you going to open up a shop and give Oskar and the Fellinger boys some competition?

Go Riders! (They sure won ugly today!)
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Post by crustyo44 » Sun Oct 13, 2013 07:07

Hi Walleye,
Great photos of your marvellous sausages. Did you realise that this forum is for hobbyists and not professionals like you. You gave me an instant inferiority complex.
Mind you, I am working on giving you a run for your money, however difficult that might be.
Congratulations Mate from all of us Down-Under.
Keep up the good wotk,
Cheers,
Jan.
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Post by atcNick » Sun Oct 13, 2013 12:51

Walleye1 wrote:The water bath setup works very well. I Just did a 100 lb batch yesterday. Overall I would say it shaves off about 4 hours of time per load. I start my smoke as normal, run for about an hour at 130 to dry the casings, next I start my smoke (I like 2 to 2.5 hours) and begin to ramp the temp up at about 10 degrees per hour. Once the smoke is complete they will have been in the smoker for about 3 to 3.5 hours. I am not really concerned about reaching a specific IT at this point, I am looking for that nice mahogony color on the sausage. If they look good I pull them out of the smoker and into the hot water bath. If they are not the color I want I may let them go up to another hour. Tipically when I pull the sausage from the smoker the IT is around 130 or 133. For a hot water bath I use a propane burner and a 64 qt stock pot. I put about 10 gal of water in it and crank it on high until it reaches 160 degrees, then dial it back to an idle and it will maintain it perfectly with very little adjustment. I can get about 25 lbs of sausage at a time in it. With a 25 lb load in this setup it takes me about 15 to 20 minutes in the hot water bath which is a savings of up to 4 hours in the smoker.

On a side note if you try the hot water bath method don't panick when you see the beautiful mahogany color disappear on the sausage after a few minutes. It re-appears during the blooming process. I like to bloom mine for at least 2 hours.

Here's a few pictures of my setup...

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Mike
Thanks Mike !


Here's one link I took out of the smokehouse after two hours (pecan smoke) to test out the poaching method. I think I will definitely stick with this from now on. Except maybe kabanosy.

Image
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Post by sawhorseray » Sun Oct 13, 2013 18:54

Boy howdy Walleye that's a great looking load of sausage. Thanks for posting the pics of your set-up and instructions, I already have everything on hand to go with that method of poaching. Last year I picked up a turkey roaster that I used for my initial unsuccessful effort, cost me $20, I'll get rid of it at our spring garage sale now. It looks to me like the poaching method achieves a "softer" casing with less wrinkling, and maybe a more moist sausage? I'll give it a shot soon. RAY
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Post by Walleye1 » Sun Oct 13, 2013 23:08

Thanks so much guys.

I'm definitely not professional that's for sure. I've had just as many screw-ups just like everybody else until I found my groove. :grin:

Personally when poaching to finish I really find the snap on the casings to be excellent. I have cut back on the water that I add to my mix a little bit as well. The finished sausage is definitely more plump. I would love to build a steam cabinet to finish sausage but I'm running out of real estate to store equipment. :grin:

For me the learning curve with poaching was to make sure you let the sausage pickup that nice mahogany color before moving it to the water bath. When I first started finishing it this way I jumped the gun a couple of times and the snap of the casings suffered because of it.

I like to keep my water bath at 160 degrees. It's ok if it sneaks up to close to 165 but once it hits there you want to get it down.

The salami takes a little longer in the water bath for sure.

Mike
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Post by sawhorseray » Mon Oct 14, 2013 03:37

Thanks Walleye, really helpful input. I'll be off a week from tomorrow to attempt to find a antlered mountain rat to turn into sausage, tho my care level seems to be a bit of a problem at the moment. All my buds are concerned that my intensity for the backstrap has fallen by the wayside, which isn't true. For me it's just that venison has become too much to taste like deer meat. I like pig meat, especially fat little wild sows. RAY
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Post by Walleye1 » Mon Oct 14, 2013 05:27

markjass wrote:Wow those look good. What kinda sausages are they?

Mark
Sorry Mark I missed that on the first read through. Both the salami is just a kicked up summer sausage. I smoked, then poached and brought it to temp. I then put them in the dry cure cabinet for 10 days to dry them and concentrate the flavor some.

The smaller diameter sausage is kielbasa with some added mustard seed.

I really like the burst of flavor when eating sausage with chunky or course spices in them.

Mike
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Post by crustyo44 » Mon Oct 14, 2013 09:23

Hi Mike,
You mentioned a Steam Cabinet. I am interested to build one as I have a bread proofer available, all stainless in and out. What worries me most is the temperature control and how to produce steam cleanly and economically.
Have you researched this project yet?
Cheers,
Jan.
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Post by Walleye1 » Mon Oct 14, 2013 15:33

Hi Jan

I really haven't done any research yet. There's a very creative older fella who lives a few miles out of town. He has built all finds of very creative things. His wife is in a wheel chair and he custom designed a hydraulic wheel chair lift that is built into the passenger side of Dodge 4x4 truck. At any rate he has lots of talent.

One day he got hold of me because he heard I make sausage and so does he. Anyway, he stopped by to have a look at my equipment and was really impressed with all my controls. So I helped him redesign his controls. I also supply him with vacuum bags now because I buy them in bulk for a number of guys to get a better price.

In our discussion I found out he also has a steam cabinet that he built. I know the element that crates the steam is 220v but I don't know what size or the water capacity of it. I know it's a large cabinet similar to my large smoker which was a proofer as well.

Next time I talk to him I'll have to ask him more about it. He's really wanted me to come out there and have a look at all his creations and I really should do that. The man has a lot of creative talent for sure and is a very interesting guy to talk to.

Mike
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Post by Walleye1 » Fri Oct 18, 2013 16:37

Hi Jan

I spoke to the gentleman I was referring to about the steam cabinet. The steam portion of the cabinet is basically a 3 to 4 gallon aluminum container he built in the back of the cabinet. He designed it with a flange to bolt an 220v 5000 watt electric water heater element into it. He said he puts approximately 3 gallons of water in it and said he has never had to add water to it before the sausage is done. He simply runs a toggle switch that controls a contactor to switch the power on and off to the element. There are no other controls. The water tank that he built also has a lid because he doubles the use of the cabinet as a smoker as well. He said it kicks out a lot of steam and finishes the sausage very quickly.

I would think you could design the tank on the exterior of the cabinet, then simply inject the steam into it. That way you wouldn't be taking up as much real estate in the cabinet. I never asked him but I would assume there would be a drain cock on the tank to remove the left over water as well.

Let me know if you try any of this. I'm always interested in tinkering! :mrgreen:

Mike
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Post by tdimler » Sun Dec 15, 2013 17:41

Mike,

This is all great, interesting info. I poached a batch of sausages and was disappointed with the color they lost after poaching, although much of it did come back during blooming. I think I did not let them develop enough color in the smokehouse before being poached. Your kielbasa looks beautiful. From what you have said and your photos, it seems like when done properly you don't have to sacrifice anything in quality on your sausages. From my experience I was under the impression that this was sort of a fix-er-up job but I am anxious to try it again now!

Travis
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