Too Smoky Sausage and Dry Brisket
A: I am wondering if the wood was seasoned well.. green wood will create some creosote and get pretty strong at times depending on how green the wood is.
I got ahold of some unseasoned wood a while back and had to completely clean out my smoker afterwards before I could use it again. I was told it was a year old.
I recommend using lump charcoal or wood burned down a little in a separate container for heat and then just adding a couple sticks of the hickory for smoke flavoring to see if you get better results.
If the wood is well seasoned it is not a problem but when you are getting your wood from someone else, you only have their word that it is seasoned and unless you weigh it there is not a good way to tell without burning it a little.
(Seasoned wood can weigh as much as 40% less than unseasoned)
I have a custom smoker as well and have a had a few similar problems and I had to chalk it up to unseasoned wood since that was the only part of the process that could have varied.
You can get an old 55 gallon drum and use it to burn your wood down for a few minutes.. till they start glowing.. and shovel it from there into your firebox as needed to maintain 225 degrees.
This allows you to add sticks of hickory or mesquite or whatever wood you want to use for smoke without having to worry about oversmoking the meat. The more smoke flavor you want the more wood you use and if it is a strong flavored wood like mesqite or hickory you can use a little less than you would with milder woods like oak, pecan, apple, etc.
As far as the dry sausage.. not sure about why that happened all of a sudden if it is normally moist. I am assuming you mop the meat about every hour while it smokes. For any kind of meat that has a chance at being too dry, especially for a competition, drape a little fatty bacon over it to let the bacon fat render and keep the meat moist while it cooks.
Visit Smoking-Meat.com for hundreds of great tutorials and guides on smoking meat.
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