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Smokin' Bologna

 
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Kevin P
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03 12 2:15 am    Post subject: Smokin' Bologna Reply with quote

I had a chance to make some more bologna this past weekend. Same recipe I've used in the past, but decided to make smaller chubs versus the larger 4"+ diameter chubs I've done before.

Ground up some pork butts and had some lean ground beef to use. The usual list of bologna ingredients, using a 50% beef & pork mix:


After mixing all the ingredients, I re-ground (2nd grind) the batch through a FINE late (3.0) in order to achieve a smooth, fine texture in the final bologna. This mix will sit in the fridge overnight before I start the stuffing process...


NEXT DAY: I used some summer sausage fibrous casings I picked up on my last trip to the Cabela's outside of Reno. They hold about 3.3 lbs fully stuffed. Had just enough leftover to make a mini-chub ("chubbette"?


I hung the chubs in kitchen & put the big floor fan on 'em to blowdry them before I hung them in the smoker.

SMOKIN':
After about an hour, I hung the dry chubs in the smoker. Using "Pitmaster Blend" pellets in the A-Maze-N smoker, I'll hang these for about 4 or more hours of heavy smoke before I finish them in the poacher.


FAST-FORWARD: So after 5-1/2 hours of cold-smoking, I pulled the hanging chubs. Here they are just prior to removing them:


The chubs get plunked into a basin of hot water (167°). Temp probe inserted into one.


The top is placed on the poacher. I'm keeping an eye on both the water temp (dial thermometer) and the IT of the chub (Maverick). I estimate it should take about 30 minutes or so to reach 155.°


After 35 minutes of poaching, the Maverick indicates 155° so I pulled the chubs from the hot bath & plunged them into an ice bath for a quick cool...


SLICED: I normally wait 24 hours or so before slicing—this gives the chub a chance to firm up and dry out a bit—but I gave in to temptation and sliced a few to sample. The texture came out nice and the flavor is very good! My son thought it was great fried up!

Kevin

Here's a few thick slices—still moist, but peeled & ready to go! A few days in the fridge & the chubs will continue to firm up nicely & absorb some of the evident moisture.
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patruns
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03 12 3:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always enjoy reading your posts Kevin. You really know your sausage. Smile
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Awning Guy
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03 12 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another job well done..... I do have a question, What do you use to stuff the casing?
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Kevin P
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03 12 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awning Guy wrote:
Another job well done..... I do have a question, What do you use to stuff the casing?

For a batch this size (10 pounds), I chose to use my lil' Grizzly stuffer. It does 5lbs each load. Quick & easy to clean. I'd use the water-stuffer for a larger batch.


Same stuffing technique shown here (doing Lebanon bologna here with clear casings):



Kevin
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Beertooth
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03 12 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Everything looks really good Kevin! Mmm!

I love me some bologna! Very Happy

Is the poacher a must? What would it be like without it?

What was your source for the recipe?

Thanks!
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Mikey P's BBQ
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03 12 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kevin,

Have you had any issues with the plastic gears on the Grizzly stuffer? I've read about horror stories of stuffers with plastic gears....

Bologna looks delicious! I'll definitely have to try this recipe. I have 30 pounds of venison to use up before this years season comes in!!!!
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Kevin P
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03 12 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Beertooth wrote:

Is the poacher a must?

Nope. Alternatively you can keep the chubs in the smoker & gradually raise the temps (up to about 180° for the last hour) & cook it for several hours until you hit the IT of 155°. I like poaching because it can not only provide a juicier, moister product, but it cuts production time down considerably. I've done it both ways (in the smoker for 6-8 hours; or 3-hours smoke & a 30-minute poach).

Beertooth wrote:
What would it be like without it?

Comparing the two methods, the chubs I've done entirely in the smoker tended to be a bit 'firmer' (dryer) than the poached versions. I could not tell any difference in the 'smokiness' between the two. Either way, you'll get good results if you watch the temps.

Beertooth wrote:
What was your source for the recipe
Mine is a variation of a bologna recipe posted by Len Poli on his site. Check it out as he has a boat-load of decent recipes for all types of sausages. Adjust accordingly to your tastes.

Kevin
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Kevin P
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03 12 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mikey P's BBQ wrote:
Have you had any issues with the plastic gears on the Grizzly stuffer? I've read about horror stories of stuffers with plastic gears....
I've read the same stories. Wink Conversely, I've also read many 'happy' tales of users who've had nothing but success with the plastic-geared stuffers. I think the key is gauging the amount of downward pressure one exerts on the driveshaft. I placed a band of red butchers tape on the threaded shaft to give me a visual indicator when to stop cranking. Overdriving the gears after the plunger has bottomed out will probably lead to some gear damage, so one just needs to be aware of the plunger location. I don't feel the real need to replace the plastic gears with metal ones—as other have done.

Overall, I'm quite please with this stuffer—easy to use & clean—and the price is dirt-cheap.

Kevin
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Gray Goat
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04 12 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looking good Kevin Very Happy For some reason Bologna gets a bad rap.

When I tell people that I make it, they ask "Why would you put all that time and effort in to making Bologna?" Laughing

I doubt that they have ever had the good stuff Laughing
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Kevin P
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04 12 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gray Goat wrote:
When I tell people that I make it, they ask "Why would you put all that time and effort in to making Bologna?" Laughing
I doubt that they have ever had the good stuff Laughing

Precisely, Wayne.
If one's point of reference is the mushy pink stuff one now finds in the supermarkets, then an obvious bias is likely against such a product.

It's akin to turning ones' nose up at a premium camembert or emmentaler cheese because the only cheese you've tried is Kraft American Singles...... Very Happy

Kevin
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Crooked Letter BBQ
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04 12 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thats a good looking product Kevin P.

I need to get around to making some bologna myself.Out of all the sausages I've made over the years i have not made any bologna yet.
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Kevin P
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04 12 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Crooked Letter BBQ wrote:
I need to get around to making some bologna myself.Out of all the sausages I've made over the years i have not made any bologna yet.

Time to take the plunge, Crooked!

BOLOGNA 101
The keys to making good bologna are:

a. using good, wholesome, fresh ingredients (use fresh spices versus pack mixes)
b. Get a good, even grind. It doesnt have to be "buttery smooth" to be tasty!
c. Pack chubs TIGHTLY. No air pockets. Not always easy, but worth the extra care so your bologna doesn't resemble swiss cheese.
c. Give it plenty of smoke and watch the temps. Too hot & fat will render out, resulting in a dry, crumbling semi-bologna type result.
d. Make plenty to share! It's amazing how many folks LOVE a good bologna!

Kevin
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Crooked Letter BBQ
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05 12 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When i do i'll post up some pics.
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smokeit



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06 12 8:34 pm    Post subject: What brand of smoker do you use? Reply with quote

Hi, nice Sausage.
I make a lot of suasage, hams, bacon, sweet bologna and lebanon bologna using a traditional smokehouse. It is very hard to control the internal temps in the smokehouse. Its even harder to cold smoke.
What I am interested in is your smokehouse. What kind do you use? I have been looking at Pro Smoker and Cook Shack brands. Need to control my temps thru 4 temp ranges during fermentation and smoking to obtain the tangy flavor in lebanon bologna while keeping the humidity aroung 80 %. I do pretty well if I baby sit the smokehouse the whole time I am smoking. Need to purchase a smokehouse that does all that for me.
What kind of smoker do you use and how well does it work?
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Kevin P
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06 12 10:03 pm    Post subject: Re: What brand of smoker do you use? Reply with quote

smokeit wrote:
It is very hard to control the internal temps in the smokehouse. Its even harder to cold smoke.
Temp regulation can be an issue—at least that's what I've read on several BBQ/smoke forums from folks who've built smokehouses. The challenge, it seems, is insulating the smoker sufficiently so the fluctuations in external temps doesnt impact in internal smoker temp. Not always easy, especially in larger smokehouses.

smokeit wrote:
What kind do you use? I have been looking at Pro Smoker and Cook Shack brands. Need to control my temps thru 4 temp ranges during fermentation and smoking to obtain the tangy flavor in lebanon bologna while keeping the humidity aroung 80 %...What kind of smoker do you use and how well does it work?
It sounds like you need to build a fermentation chamber. In order to really do ferm. sausages well, temp & humidity levels must be constant, and thats darn near impossible to maintain in a smokehouse.

My smoker is a basic black box (Masterbuilt ExtraWide) that uses gas (propane) as the fuel source. Nothing fancy, but its big enough to hang 20 lbs+ for either hot or cold smoking. I use a coule of A-Maze-n smokers for smoke generation—both for hot & for cold. It does an 'okay' job—temps are fairly constant, but can 'run away' (get too hot) if not carefully monitored. It's not insulated (just thin sheet metal). Since Nor Cal temps are pretty mild (no great extremes in the weather temps), I don't get much fluctuation with the internal temps of the smoker if I were living in the midwest or northeast.



I have plans to build both a ferm. chamber AND a larger smokehouse, but family & life keep getting in the way of progress there... Wink

Kevin
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smokeit



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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07 12 8:25 pm    Post subject: Trying to country engeneer a smokehouse. Reply with quote

Thanks Kevin for posting a reply. I built a smokehouse out of a large stand up refrigerator out of a pizza hut. Tried making a cold smoke generator for it that I got plans for on line. It never did work as well as the one on u-tube. Just didn"t put out enough smoke and didn't making it long enough. I bought a hot plate and a ss pan to use in it and the hot plate did make enough smoke but only lasted about 30 mins. Looking for a small wood stove now to put outside and pipe the smoke inside to the smokehouse. If I make the pipe long enough it will cool the smoke for cold smoking, I think. I not only do this as a hobby I own a tavern that serves BBQ. Would like to start serving my own bacon and ham. I am located near Gettysburg, PA.
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kfdf715



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19 12 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kevin,

You really seem like you are on the ball with this sausage making. I have done some small batches of poaching but never large summer sausages. What is the device you use to poach sausages? Looks like an old roaster or something. I want to get something close to what you have because I believe what you say by cutting down the smoker time by using the poacher. Please let me know your advice on a poaching device.
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Kevin P
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20 12 12:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kfdf715 wrote:
I have done some small batches of poaching but never large summer sausages. What is the device you use to poach sausages? Looks like an old roaster or something. I want to get something close to what you have because I believe what you say by cutting down the smoker time by using the poacher. Please let me know your advice on a poaching device.

I use an 'old' (1950) Westinghouse roaster. It has a large basin that will hold several large chubs.

One nice feature it has is the thermostat starts at 150°—where as most new models start at 200°. You want to keep poaching temps around 160-170°—no higher—in order to properly poach your SS.

An easy alternative to finding a large vintage roaster to poach is to do it on the stove top. A large turkey roasting pan or a large rectangular hotel filled with water will do just fine, so long as you watch the temps with an accurate thermometer. It requires you to 'babysit' a bit more, but the results will be just as good.

Large hotel pan ($30):


Poaching times: 5-7lbs of links (kielbasa, brats ,etc) take approx 30 minutes of poaching. Larger chubs (ss, bologna, mortadella, etc) take considerably longer (45-90 minutes). These times are, of course, only approximations. Use a good reliable thermometer for both meats & water temps.

Kevin
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