Home processing question for the sausage-making experts:
A customer wants to make a Smokie without a smoker…
They would like to use collagen casing for this process. Can you advise if they should use the Fresh Collagen Casing or the Processed casing?
Also, if they cook the sausage in the oven, should the cure be added? They were adding a liquid smoke “spray” (liquid smoke diluted with water and spray on the outside of the casing) for color and flavor.
When making a Smokie in an oven, and without the application of real smoke, you will want to use a Fresh Collagen Casing.
You can make a “smokie without a smoker”, but there are a couple of things to consider.
- Timing: The amount of time it will take the smokie to be cooked in the oven will not be long enough for it to break down the collagen casing. Just be sure that the temperature is set low on the oven (170*F – 200*F) so the smokies do not overcook and fat out.
- Curing: When it comes to adding cure (nitrites), I would recommend adding them. Smokies being made in this way, without the application of smoke in a smokehouse, will not need the cure for food safety reasons, but will need it for taste, texture, and appearance reasons. Without the cure present, you will just have a fully cooked sausage with a smokie flavor. The cure is what will give it that true distinctive smokie flavor, and appearance.
Using liquid smoke in place of a smokehouse
As for the liquid smoke, I have seen this application used before, and seen it get mixed results. It does definitely add a smoke flavor to the outside, but I have found the flavor to be too intense, if not diluted. This step should be done before cooking, so the liquid smoke flavor evens out, and has a chance to adhere to the smoke.
Unfortunately, this will not give you the desired color you associate with a smokie. Everything else, especially the flavor will be spot on, but it will appear paler than that of a traditional smokie. Continuing to add more liquid smoke to darken the outside, will leave a bitter aftertaste, as the liquid smoke (even when diluted) is a very powerful flavouring agent. Start small, and build to your desired taste.
Mixing liquid smoke for spray:
1-20 mix means 25ml liquid smoke and 475ml water. The total mix becomes 500ml. This should be more than enough for a batch of smokies.