Question on smoking sausages
I finally produced a beautiful homemade sausage. It was an andouille, made with chicken thigh meat instead of pork, stuffed in beef casings (yes, I am avoiding pork!)
The only problem came when I ran a couple through my home smoker. I have an electric smoker called a smokin' tex. In the past, I have had problems with this machine causing an acrid smoky flavor in food, which I have solved only by using very small amounts of wood, and only fruit woods.
This time through, I hung the sausages to dry, then put them in the smoker with pecan chips. I smoked them at about 130 degrees, and only for about an hour. (BTW, I usually only smoke food for a little while, then finish on a grill.) I took the sausages out and cooled them and dried them, then finished them on a stovetop.
The smoke seemed to all get caught on the casing, which had that familiar, slightly acrid flavor. The meat inside tasted great, but only with a hint of smoke.
Would any of these solutions work?
1) Pricking the sausage casing to allow smoke to penetrate through to the meat.
2) Soaking the wood chips. The manual on my machine says not to do this, but I thought that I read once that soaking the chips results in a mellower smoke flavor.
3) Smoking at a higher temperature.
If anybody has any experience with this, please let me know.
That sounds pretty typical for a relatively short smoke. Smoking longer at a lower temperature is the best way to get a deep smoky taste. If you can control the temperature, try starting at 110F for an hour, then raising to 120F, then 130F for an hour each. I prefer to finish in a 180F oven until the internal temp reaches 150F. As for your other potential solutions:
Pricking the sausages will only make them leak more grease.
Soaking the wood chips might help. Depends on your smoker and the size of the chips, but it probably will make for a more even smoke. The main thing it to look at how much smoke is coming out. You want what looks like a smoldering fire, not something you could use for sending smoke signals. For me, coarse sawdust works best, although you do need to refresh it more frequently.