Cut the brisket and pork shoulder into one-inch cubes.
In a large metal or glass bowl, combine the meat cubes with the salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and cure #1.
Mix thoroughly with gloved hands, making sure the seasoning is evenly distributed throughout the meat.
Place on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator overnight to allow the flavors to develop.
Grind the meat mixture according to the instructions included with your grinder.
To replicate the uniquely tender texture of a Texas sausage, grind the meat twice.
First, grind it through the coarsest plate and then through the medium plate.
Place the ground meat in a mixer with a paddle attachment.
You can also mix by hand.
Avoid using a wooden or plastic spoon as these materials may absorb bacteria or other unwanted microorganisms from the meat.
Slowly add the water and dried milk powder mixture.
Mix until well combined and the mixture can hold together like clay.
Add more water if necessary.
Find one of the ends on the casing and carefully roll it onto the tube attached to the sausage stuffer.
You will want most of the casing on the tube, leaving just a few inches at the end.
Tie a knot in the protruding end to seal it
It may be helpful to have someone help you with this step as it can take several tries to control the flow of meat into the casing on your own.
As you push the meat into the casing, slowly allow the end of the casing to pull off the tube as it fills with sausage.
Try to control this movement so that it is as smooth and even as possible.
This will result in a consistently filled casing.
If at any point the casing breaks, you can cut it off at the point of rupture and tie a knot to create a new end.
Try to avoid air bubbles within the casing as this can heighten the risk for botulism.
There are a few different ways to create individual sausage links depending on the look you desire for your final product.
You can use butcher twine to tie square knots between the links.
Another option is to simply twist the casing several times to create individual links.
This method works especially well for natural casing.
Place the sausage into the refrigerator on the bottom shelf to chill before smoking.
Fill the heating element of your smoker with the appropriate amount of chips according to your manufacturer’s directions.
Preheat the smoker to 160°F, the perfect temperature for a long, flavorful smoke.
Pull the sausages out of the refrigerator an hour before smoking in order to allow the casings to dry at room temp.
You can secure the sausages in the smoker by either placing them on a rack or hanging them from bars at the top of the smoker.
Change out your wood chips every 90 minutes to allow for a deeper mesquite flavor.
Your goal is for the sausages to reach an internal temperature of 154°F.
This not only ensures that they have smoked long enough, but it also helps to kill bacteria that could be harmful down the road.
In general, sausages will take about 3 hours to reach the desired temperature.
Once the sausages are out of the smoker, it is important to cool them down as quickly as possible to avoid shriveled skins.
Do this by placing the links in a cold water bath until they are room temperature or cooler.
Blooming, or allowing the sausages to develop flavor at room temperature, is an important final step before enjoying your sausages.
Hang them on a rack suspended between the backs of two chairs or any setup where they will have plenty of air exposure.
The smoky flavor will continue to develop and spread throughout the sausage for a few hours.
You should store your finished sausage in the fridge where it will keep for 3-4 days.
While this may seem obvious, it is essential that you properly clean all of your equipment after each use.
Working with raw meat can present bacterial hazards that will only be eliminated through proper hygiene.
Sanitize tools and equipment parts by boiling them in hot water or using a commercial sanitizing chemical.