BRADLEY SMOKER | "Taste the Great Outdoors"

Smoking Techniques => Cold Smoking => Topic started by: Porker on November 11, 2007, 03:59:40 PM

Title: botulism
Post by: Porker on November 11, 2007, 03:59:40 PM
I just finished my first cold-smoked sausage: Cajun andouille and kielbasa. But, I've read all the warnings about botulism and I'm scared silly to even try it. I kept the meat cold, add Morton's Tender Quick, stuffed the casings and let it air dry overnight around 55 degrees. I smoked it in the Bradley for 12 hours, keeping the temp between 80 and 120 degrees. It looks great. But, is it safe to eat? 
Title: Re: botulism
Post by: Smudge on November 11, 2007, 04:16:50 PM
The use of Morton's Tender Quick is puzzling to me in the method you described. You don't appear to be using it in any way its package directions suggest.

Cold smoking and other methods that require the meat to cure at temps within the danger zone call for specific cures. As a general rule, sodium nitrate is used for quick cure recipes, while sodium nitrite is used for more room temperature, long curing processes. Morton falls in the former category.

I think your skepticism in regards to safety is reasonable.     
Title: Re: botulism
Post by: Ontrack on November 11, 2007, 04:41:43 PM
Porker-Welcome. I know absolutely nothing about homemade sausage, but your 120 degree temps and the 12 hours in a "dangerous" range is a reason to be concerned. I would wait to hear from some people who know all about this stuff before I tried it, I think.
Title: Re: botulism
Post by: Porker on November 11, 2007, 05:11:55 PM
I was following a recipe from Bruce Aidells. The recipe called for 1 tsp. of Morton's for 2 1/2 lbs. of meat and 1 tsp. for 2 1/2 lbs. of meat. I mixed it with the other seasonings and dump it over the ground meat. Does that help in the diagnoses?
Title: Re: botulism
Post by: La Quinta on November 11, 2007, 06:23:34 PM
Hey Porker...don't know the answer to your question...(a lot more smarter people on this forum then me) but wanted to welcome you anyhoo!!!
Title: Re: botulism
Post by: coyote on November 11, 2007, 10:29:56 PM
Welcome aboard Porker. Do you have anyone at work.....that you don't like ?...Just thinking out loud ! ???

Title: Re: botulism
Post by: Gizmo on November 11, 2007, 10:30:14 PM
Hi Porker,
Are you going to be cooking the andouille and kielbasa before eating?
That might quite possibly take care of your concerns.  So far my knowledge for stuffing is only book knowledge so I will the folks with real experience chime in with the real details.
Title: Re: botulism
Post by: manxman on November 12, 2007, 01:48:52 AM
Hi Porker and welcome to the forum.

Have a read of the articles below which may give you some assistance.

Cases of botulism are actually very rare and it is rather difficult to "catch" as one of the conditions needed for growth is anaerobic (lack of oxygen) surroundings as well as a variety of other conditions such as improper curing, temperature etc so I think a botulism risk is unlikely in this instance. However, smoked food does carry a slightly increased risk of botulism in general so without knowing every step of the process the meat went through it is impossible and unwise for anyone to give a definitive answer IMHO!

For example if the meat was vacuum packed this in itself does lead to an increased risk of botulism as you are sucking the air (oxygen) out.

Heating food to 180F (80C) for at least 10 minutes destroys the toxin responsibly for botulism.

On a similar line to Ontracks comment is that what concerns me the most it the comment
"keeping the temp between 80 and 120 degrees."
, cold smoking is ideally less than 80F and certainly less than 100F, any higher than that and there is a significant risk of other bacterial contamination between 100 and 120F in particular.

Hope this helps though not perhaps what you want to hear!!
Title: Re: botulism
Post by: Porker on November 12, 2007, 02:03:36 AM
Thanks for all your help, guys. I think I'll leave this batch on the lawn for that pesky fox and see what happens! The link was helpful.
Title: Re: botulism
Post by: Habanero Smoker on November 12, 2007, 02:27:03 AM
Hi Porker;
Welcome to the forum.

It seems that you used the cure correctly. The addition of a cure to the sausage protects it from botulism (and any other bacteria). Though botulism is rare, it is a standard safeguard to use a cure if you are going to smoke sausage, either cold or hot; sodium nitrite must be added. The concern with botulism growing in sausage is that the meat is ground. Therefore the bacteria that may have been on the surface will be mixed through out the meat, where there is less oxygen. When you throw in the smoke that deprives the cabinet of oxygen, and the casings that further reduce oxygen; if by any chance there were spores on the meat before it was ground or any of the equipment you used; sausage becomes an ideal environment for it's growth.

I just want to mention that nitrites are the faster acting cure, nitrites with the addition of nitrates (Cure #2, Morton's TQ) are used for dry curing meats at room temperature, but can be used for sausage that will be smoked or cooked.

We must have posted at he same time. If you followed the recipe, and properly handled the sausage during the processing it safe to eat.
Title: Re: botulism
Post by: Bad Flynch on November 16, 2007, 05:37:10 PM

Morton's TQ is just fine for either fast or slow cures. It has the required nitrate and with the nitrite added (0.5% of each) can safely be used. In fact, many old-timers thought that the mix of the two produced a superior cure. Well, maybe yes and maybe no, but the MTQ has the staying power for slow cures. I use MTQ on a regular basis for slow curing corned/salt beef and it works quite well. The minimum cure for that is 10 days and 2 weeks is more common.

The best places to put your worry and effort are in spotless sanitation and good meat handling techniques.
Title: Re: botulism
Post by: levonen on November 26, 2007, 06:44:11 PM
if you cured your batch to about 150 ppm concentration of Sodium Nitrite, you are OK. See this document:
Http:// about nitrites.pdf (http://Http:// about nitrites.pdf) .
Title: Re: botulism
Post by: dale_MT on May 13, 2008, 06:51:55 AM
I am curious if you have done any more andouille?  I carry the stuff back from LA to Montana and the trip is getting a little long in the tooth.  I am looking for a smoker that will smoke andouille satisfactorily.  How did your turn out (once you got brave enough to eat it  ;)  If you don't mind sharing, what was your recipe source?