For mixing meat for sausages to be put into casings, I usually go for 1.3% or less per pound of meat. The casings seem to retain a lot of salt even if well rinsed, plus if you're using spice "mixes" there is usually added salt in those as well, such as "chili powder", etc. The salt content can really add up and become a killer. I'm all for low-sodium, but there is a minimum that needs to be in there for the overall flavor.
@Sincitylv It all makes a difference, might not be a huge difference but as we try to say often, its when you add up all the little tips and tricks that yous ee real improvement. I would recommend cutting them and laying them out so it is just a straight run from side to side. Even spacing throughout willlet the air flow more evenly around and give you a little more even of a cook.
Most important thing when doing it on the woodwind is to start your smoker with the product already in the smoker. This will give the meat a small conditioning phase to start with.
I will be making my second batch of snack sticks with all of your products. The first batch was very successful and the best I have ever done. My question is this, I smoke the sticks on my Camp Chef 36" woodwind pellet grill so last time last time I just bent the long strands back and forth on my racks and then cut to size after cooling and letting air dry and sit in the fridge until that evening. Would it be better to cut at least to the length of the jerky racks so I could keep consistancy in spacing the sticks or does it not really make a difference? Also, I didn't place any water in the unit but kept the lid propped open to keep the temp down until I elevated up the temp scale so would the water make much of a difference in your opinion. I am in the desert of Nevada so not a lot of natural humidity. Love the site and products! Thanks.
@Midwest_kc I use it at about full strength, so if you bought this one https://www.waltonsinc.com/bacon-taste-booster then it is 1.25 oz per 25 lb, if you bought this one https://www.waltonsinc.com/bacon-taste-booster-msg then it is 2 oz per 25 lb.
However, anytime I add a new ingredient I always add small amounts while I am mixing and then I pan fry a little to see where I am at in regards to taste, so I would say use 1/2 what I recommended above and then stop there if you are happy but add more if you think it can take it. Good luck!
@Midwest_kc Yes, smoked meat stabilizer is something you could use instead of the Encapsulated Citric Acid for sure. It will still impart somewhat of a tang but not as much as the ECA would. Another option is sodium erythorbate but you need a very accurate scale for that that can read fractions of grams. I love that you are using the booster, have you tried it before? We used to tell people not to use it even if they were making imitation bacon....now I tell people to feel free to toss it into anything bacony!
Making my first snack sticks soon, going to be ordering a couple things I need, so want to make sure I have it all. I am making pork sticks, with the maple bacon seasoning. I will also be using bacon booster, and sure gel....but trying to decide if I want the tang from ECA. Would smoked meat stabilizer work as well in this set up, so that we can have maple-y, bacon-y goodness?
@keoni02 that would be sodium erythorbate or smoked meat stabilizer. The sodium erythorbate will not impart any flavor change but you must have a very accurate measuring device as the recommended amount is 7/8ths of an ounce for 100 lbs of product. The smoked meat stabilizer will give a slight tang but not as much as ECA. However, without the equipment to measure water activity and ph levels you still should not treat it as a shelf stable product. I’d still freeze til ready to consume then thaw and refrigerate for no longer than a week
Never thought about that. I mean I wash my equipment before use and lay parchment paper down on my counter top as well for an extra barrier while stuffing. But didn't really think about it in helping with shelf life
@keoni02 said in [How To Make Homemade Snack Sticks](/post/37037):
> I have a question as far as curing and shelf life. Aside from sure cure, what else can be used aside from the encapsulated citric acid to help with the curing and having the snack sticks last longer? I honestly don't like the tang that the citric acid produces.
We see a lot of questions about ingredients that will extend shelf life and probably not enough discussion about general cleanliness of equipment, work surfaces, hands, and ingredients. This, and proper thermal processing is where you need to start.
If you start with clean ingredients that have been properly stored at cold temperatures, then the goal is to keep them that way through thermal processing.
This will take you a long way towards extending the shelf life. Commercial processors live and breath sanitation at their facilities for this exact reason.
We see a lot of questions about ingredients that will extend shelf life and probably not enough discussion about general cleanliness of equipment, work surfaces, hands, and ingredients.
If you start with clean ingredients that have been properly stored at cold temperatures, then the goal is to keep them that way throughout processing.
This will take you a long way towards extending the shelf life. Commercial processors live and breath sanitation of their facilities for this exact reason.
I have a question as far as curing and shelf life. Aside from sure cure, what else can be used aside from the encapsulated citric acid to help with the curing and having the snack sticks last longer? I honestly don't like the tang that the citric acid produces.
@twilliams said in [How To Make Homemade Snack Sticks](/post/35451):
> @keoni02 like McCormick artificail bacon flavored bits or real bacon cut up into bits pieces?
Two pounds of bacon fried up then put through the food processor to make my own bacon bits.
Not a fan of prepackaged bacon bits. And, I buy the "irregular slices" so it's cheaper too
I use a cold smoke generator and a few inexpensive electric burners to get the lower temperatures with smoke. There are a bunch of cold smoke generators out there, but I use one called the Big Kahuna from smokedaddyinc. Oftentimes, I don't even bother with the pellets and just vacuum seal the snack sticks and throw them in a sous vide bath at 155 degrees for about 60 minutes to finish them off.
@randyman No pellets, no heat source. They create the smoke and the heat, cracking the door will drop the temperature but will also increase the amount of pellets being used since the thermostat will try to keep the temps up.
I don't have a pellet smoker and not sure if this will work but what if you don't put any pellets in the hopper and crack open the lid? A remote thermometer would let you know what your temp is inside the cooker. After an hour at 125 and then an hour at 145 you'd be able to add pellets and set the temp for 160 for 2 hours. Then set the temp for 175 till the snack sticks reach 155 internal. Hope you can find a way to make it work. Randy.
@beefstickgirl said in [How To Make Homemade Snack Sticks](/post/35029):
> I have a pellet smoker and the lowest temp it will go is 160/ how do I go about smoking low and slow so my casings don't pop
Your options are limited since this type of smoker is not really designed to process sausage.
One thing you can is try is to crack the door so all the heat is not contained inside.
The problem is, If your smoker has temperature controls, it may just try and compensate for the temperature drop by feeding more pellets and air to the fire pot.
Allllllll riiiighty... so, some test batches are done. First group is the "surprise" batch I've been working on. Unfortunately I apparently didn't stuff them as well so texture isn't where I'd like it 😔 but the flavor is BACON CHEESE BURGER!!!!
Yes, actual bacon bits are in there!
Center batch is Honey BBQ which turned out perfect! The small batch at the right is using the Parmesan Garlic Bratwurst seasoning and it turned out pretty good.
Overall, very happy with today's outcome
My name is Johnny Radford. I’m from Illinois. I started making my own deer sticks this year using Waltons seasonings. And everyone that has tried them really liked them. The question T. Williams told me to ask you is: is it feasible for me to use the cheeseburger cheddarwurst brat seasoning to make deer sticks?
@jonathon said in [How To Make Homemade Snack Sticks](/post/34510):
> @keoni02 "Surprise snack stick is the the name of new band, called it"
> Shoot, it isnt there, if you are referring to https://www.waltonsinc.com/parmesan-garlic-bratwurst-seasoning then it would be .8 of an oz of seasoning for 2 lb of meat if this was a regular fresh brat you were making but for a snack stick you will want to use that amount of seasoning to 1.6 lb of meat, or to go the other way 1 oz of seasoning to 2 lb of meat. That second one might not be 100% correct but it would be really close.
For the adjustments to seasoning and meat, I get those same numbers, we are either both right or both wrong, but I'm betting right:+1:
@keoni02 "Surprise snack stick is the the name of new band, called it"
Shoot, it isnt there, if you are referring to https://www.waltonsinc.com/parmesan-garlic-bratwurst-seasoning then it would be .8 of an oz of seasoning for 2 lb of meat if this was a regular fresh brat you were making but for a snack stick you will want to use that amount of seasoning to 1.6 lb of meat, or to go the other way 1 oz of seasoning to 2 lb of meat. That second one might not be 100% correct but it would be really close.
@jonathon said in [How To Make Homemade Snack Sticks](/post/34455):
> @processhead It is a combination of that and the fact that the salt content 'needs" to be higher in the cured sausages because the salt plays a functional role as well as taste. Good question.
I just re-read my question and realized I misread what you wrote. ie misread decrease the meat amount as decrease the seasoning amount.
Yeah, decreasing the meat so the salt level is proportionally higher makes sense to me.
Yes, processed, that is the seasoning I was looking at trying. I really want to try a Parmesan Garlic flavor of beef snack sticks. I've been only doing 2lb test batches as it is. And I have been frying up meat to test, as you mentioned Jonathan, however the fried bit always has a different flavor than the smoked... a stronger and better flavor when fried than smoked. Honestly, kinda disappointing flavor smoked cause it is so subdued compared to fried.
Jonathan, I already know the amount of cure I need for a two pound batch but what would I use for the seasoning? I looked at the conversion chart but it wasn't listed.
@jonathon said in [How To Make Homemade Snack Sticks](/post/34440):
> @keoni02 I agree with @processhead (as usual) make a small batch to test it out. I would start at using it at a ratio of 4/5th the amount of meat (20 lb of meat to a 25 lb batch of seasoning) and then just fry up the results to see how it goes. Absolutely use sure cure if you are going to smoke it.
Just curious Jonathon, is reducing the seasoning by 4/5 because of the added drying and overall moisture loss in the meat during thermal processing?
@keoni02 I agree with @processhead (as usual) make a small batch to test it out. I would start at using it at a ratio of 4/5th the amount of meat (20 lb of meat to a 25 lb batch of seasoning) and then just fry up the results to see how it goes. Absolutely use sure cure if you are going to smoke it.
I am not sure if I can answer your question, but here are some things to think about.
Most bratwurst recipes are fresh sausage recipes and have less salt and no added cure.
Most snack stick recipes are a cured and cooked product that have somewhat higher salt levels to aid with shelf stability and curing.
Assuming you wanted to make a bratwurst flavored snack stick, I think you would need to adjust the salt levels and add cure before cooking/smoking.
The result would be something with quite a different flavor profile than a freshly grilled fresh bratwurst. You would taste the seasoning, but being cured and cooked/smoked it would be different.
@keoni02 If you are not adding a cure accelerator like Encapsulated Citric Acid or Sodium Erythorbate you will need to hold it about 12 hours to allow enough of nitrite to start breaking down into Nitric oxide. Sorry, just reread your question and realized you are asking how long. So again with no accelerator Sunday-Tuesday you are ok. If you added a cure accelerator it would depend on other factors like how was the Encapsulated Citric Acid mixed and you wouldn't want to hold it any longer than 24 hours if you added sodium erythorbate. That speeds the conversion up and you might lose a decent amount of curing power. Having said that though, you would most likely be fine with 72 hours though I wouldn't recommend it.
OK. So heres what happened. I got all excited because everything finally arrived to start making 2lb test batches. Well somebody didnt read thigs right on the website and ordered the wrong 3/8" tube, not the one that was actually for their stuffer (LEM 5lb). OOPS! Well before I returned it, I checked to see if it would fit my jerky gun and it did. So I kept it for that and ordered the correct one for my stuffer. Those Jerky guns dont hold a whole lot, and I was having issues with air pockets that I obviously did a poor job with getting out, but the rest I had no issues with air. My thought was, for experimentation sake, do 1lb of each flavor in the smoker and one in the oven. So all the batched looked good, they felt good in the casings, the cooked well too and everything temped out correctly.... except for the first batch, there must have been too much air cause when you bit into it, it was just mush (and that came out of the smoker). Aside from that one 1lb batch, the rest were pretty much the consistency I was looking for. The flavor on the other hand, not so much. But that can be easily remedied by adding more seasoning and continuing to practice with small batches until I get exactly how I want it.
Also, YooperDog, thanks for the tip. I'll try that once I use up the carrot fiber.
I do have a question though. Once you add in the Sure Cure and mix everything, how long can it sit in the fridge for? I ask cause my schedule at work is ever changing. So like today, Sunday, if I made up the mix and stuffed the casing, would they still be okay to smoke on Tuesday?
@jcflorida Sorry yes I did, they are smoke permeable. The exact verbiage was "they are permeable to flavors and colors as intended during the smoking process, but are impermeable to other unwanted aromas." I am unsure what the unwanted aromas are and I would think that is subjective so not sure about that.
@keoni02 there is a conversion selection in the drop down menu that will help you break down your additives, cure and seasonings on the left side of the page. I would recommend using sure gel instead of carrot fiber if you have it. Snack sticks are a semi dried style sausage and carrot fiber will hold up to 26X it's weight in water and sure gel will help with adding a bit extra protein during protein extraction. Both will work, but typically carrot fiber is used in fresh sausage to help with juiciness and sure gel in cured sausages. Your numbers appear to be okay, I just haven't done a batch that small of cured sausage and I go by weight.
@jcflorida Since my original post, I have made several batches of skinless hotdogs using the cellulose casings and am happy to say they are in fact permeable. I have been very happy with the look, taste and color of my finished product.
Hi. I'm relativvv..... ok. I'm new! LOL 😆 So this will be the first time making snack sticks with the Sure Cure and carrot binder. Also, I'm only doing 2 or 5 pounds of meat at a time.
So say I wanted to just 2 lbs...
-Carrot binder - 2 tbsp + 1 tsp
-Sure Cure - 1/2 tsp
-water - 2.5oz
Mix meat, carrot binder, sure cure, and water together. Then do you stuff it into the casings and let it rest in the refrigerator over night; smoke the next day..... does that sound correct?
Jonathon - A while back you replied to bpschuebel that you were pretty sure that the cellulose casings are smoke permeable, but you would check and update. Did you ever confirm? (I looked and apologize if I missed the update).
@vvsarpsjr Crucial, at a certain temp proteins wont extract, we normally don't get into that as it is well into the danger zone, I think it is around 50° that it stops extracting and you don't want to be in that range ever with raw meat. Could it have been that warm?
Thanks Jonathon and JoeB, it was [probably both of what you all suggested. For sure something happened with the bind since fat came out and after the final 3rd grind it did seem to look more fatty than I was expected. It was the first time I used pork fat alone with venison. I'll use pork butt next time. The mixer is small and although it did seem to end up as a sticky paste when completed, I do stop it occasionally and pull the meat off the paddle because it does look like it gets wound around the paddle axel without at lot of mixing action. How critical is meat temperature during the grinding/mixing process to keep the bind? I had read elsewhere that the hot dog meat temperature needs to stay below 40 degrees the whole time for the emulsification to not break. Is that true? Would seem difficult to accomplish in the home setting.
@vvsarpsjr If your going to use pork fat not pork butt i would ratio 4lbs to 1lb. Pork butt ratio 3.5lbs-1.5lbs. If you have a fatty issue i would think there was too much fat in the batter, my thoughts. Could have lost the emulsified state, batter with water / fat separation, but my thought is too much fat to meat .
@vvsarpsjr It is unlikely that at 10 minutes you overmixed it. The fact that you had some fat between the casing and the meat means something happened with your bind. The 5 lb batch, what mixer did you use? It is possible that it just wrapped around the axle and didn't get worked by the paddles? If you used the 20 lb then I doubt it this was your problem.
Did you use a binder? Did you grind 3 times? Hot dogs are made with either a bowl chopper or an emulsion plate to fully breakdown the protein. If you don't have a chopper or an emulsion plate for your grinder (not really available for retail) then a 3rd grind with your 1/8" plate is probably your best bet.
Well I can only say When I do game I’ll do 60-40 pork butt. Sometimes 50-50. Never had a problem with that ratio. Outside of the greasy issue. How did it taste. I’ll add just fat but not often if my butt is a little lean. Pork is normally 30% fat. Could be a fat resource issue. Joe
Hi Joe B - recipe was 3.5 lb venison, 1.5 lb pork fat, ground 3 times, first through 3/8", second and third through 1/8"; 4.8 oz Excalibur Hot Dog Seasoning, 1.2 oz sure gel binder, 0.2 oz Sure Cure, 6 oz water.
Jonathan - made first batch of hot dogs, 3.5 lbs venison, 1.5 lbs pork fat; used the above recipe for 5lbs, no cheese, and no smoked meat stabilizer (kept overnight in refrigerator then smoked the next day using the above schedule). Noticed there was a little solidified fat between the hot dogs and celluose casing but it wasn't a lot. Tasted more like a brat than a hot dog but it was the consistency that was most un-hot dog like. It was softer and not as rubbery/flexible as a hot dog. I did use a meat mixer (about 10 min) and it was very tacky when completed and added about 6 oz of water. Any idea of what I did wrong or how to make them a better consistency. Too much fat? Mixed for too long? Thanks.
Jonathan - thank you for the feedback. I was hoping to do all turkey to try to make it a little more healthy. You are correct that I would like to smoke these. Unless you have additional thoughts, I will use the recipe above (which includes the sure gel) and see how it goes. Will do a small batch in the event it is too dry and becomes food for the dog.
@mbroos What is your fat content going to be? My best recommendation would be to add pork fat and then use just sure gel, that would give you the best finished product. Aside from the cold phos and carrot fiber would work but carrot fiber is going to be better in a fresh product and I am assuming you want to smoke these? Honestly, you might still be better off just using sure gel, it already has some phosphate in it though so don't use that and cold phosphate together, that could make it taste like soap.
So, add 25% pork fat and use sure gel, or add cold phosphate and carrot fiber. Either will work but the pork fat and sure gel will be a better overall product
Would like to make turkey hot dogs and saw your video on turkey brats. Would you recommend adding carrot fiber and cold phosphates to the hot dogs as you did the turkey brats? Anything else you would recommend when making turkey dogs? Thank you for your thoughts.
@jbh222 That is going to depend on your oven a little. How low will it start? How hot will your dehydrator get? You might be best served starting off in the dehydrator and then moving to the oven, if you're dehydrator starts as low as 120 (which shouldn't be a problem) putting them in there 1st and then moving them to the oven for cooking might be your best bet.
What you will have to deal with here is case hardening in the dehydrator. You want the outside of the casing to be dry(ish) to let the smoke adhere, you don't want to remove all of the moisture from the edge of the sausage though, if that happens you might not be able to pass heat efficiently into the middle of the snack stick.
@jbh222 Can't help you with the oven or dehydrator question. However to scale the recipe down divide the ingredient quantities by 25 to get the amount needed for one pound of meat, then multiple by the amount of meat you are using.
Austin - you indicate we do not want protein extraction when making brats. Can you explain why? I am making deer brats (70/30 pork) and thought protein extraction would allow better binding and moisture retention. Thanks for your thoughts.
@brogers I'll let someone else give their opinion and I will just deliver the company line, without a way to measure water activity and pH they should be vacuum sealed and left defrosted for no more than 5 days. Now, that is the company line for safety, in reality it will be different.
@George-T Sadly, yes, they probably sat for numerous hours between 40-140 degrees making them the perfect breeding ground for somenasty stuff.
After vacuum sealing, what kind of lifespan are we looking at when using citric acid in the mix? If the steps are followed precisely, how many days in the fridge can I expect before possible spoilage? I know it will vary, but are we talking roughly a week, or roughly a month?
Once taken out of the fridge, would it be safe to eat say 12-24 hrs later?
Will I have a hard time getting good results doing this in the oven since I don't have a smoker?
Thanks in advance!!
@Ozgrams It can be but there is some ratio changes that are sometimes needed. For example the jalapeno jerky is 1/2 the size of the jalapeno snack stick seasoning, so that would probably make a rather weak sausage. This is because jerky si designed as a topical. Not all have this ratio though, so there isn't a good rule of thumb, you'll need to do some experimenting.
Question ... can the Jerky seasonings(Sweet Chipotle Jerky Seasoning) be used for sausage and vice versa? Looking for a good Sweet Chipolte sausage mix but don't think I would like the one with green tea.
@Lori-Lindquist Yes you can do that with the Hickory Smoke Powder, but be aware that the liquid smoke we sell isn't the same stuff you buy in the store! Ours is formulated for commercial application and you can easily ruin a batch of anything.
So, yes, just don't try to use the liquid smoke!
@Barry1967 How much water are you adding? I will see if I can find a different smoke schedule for skinless but I dont remember seeing one. If we did have one I wouod suspect it would be more based around a different drying phase instead of a cooking schedule. Use a binder, add enough water and at least 20% fat should all help avoid it being too hard. It could have also been case hardening. Without a casing, the drying phase might have removed too much moisture from the sticks and created a hard outer layer.
Do you have a suggested thermal process for snack sticks that are not getting put into a casing? Is it different than the process with casings? I hope it is because if I follow the process above they are way to dry and harder than I would like, I have been experimenting with different temps and cook times and am struggling to get the results I want. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. Venison with 10 percent pork fat. Next batch with be 20 percent.
@JerkyIsMySalad I would say yes you should rotate them for 2 reasons. 1 as you say you will have possibly hotter racks at the bottom and cooler on top but also you might end up with sticks with indentation lines in them so rotate them from top to bottom in the smoker but also rotate them on the rack. Now, someone just commented the other day that they did not rotate theirs and they did not get lines or anything in their sticks, I still would. I would recommend adding smoke and humidity after the initial drying stage which with sticks shouldn't take more than 20 minutes.
@Joe-Hell , @PapaSop, @Jonathon or @Austin, I have a question that I hope could get answered before this evening as I am going to make a batch of snack sticks. I have a 30" smoke hollow smoker with 3 racks. If I were to lay the meat sticks on the the racks, should I be rotating the racks? the heat source is on the bottom and I'm afraid that they will be at different temp levels when I finish. My previous batches I have hung from the top rack but it was more work to hang them so I want to try this method. Also, at which stage do you add water for humidity? Thanks in advance
@JerkyIsMySalad 80/20 as long as the 20 is pork fat will be fine, 70/30-80/20 is preference more than anything. I'd recommend that you mix it into your meat and then add the water as you are mixing for a cured product. Not sure if that was you but someone asked this same question during the live stream we just did. You can go to waltonsinc.com/live or our youtube page to watch it.
@Blaker25 Sure gel is a binder and yes I use it when making any cured and smoked sausage or snack sticks. I start off with my dampers wide open for the first 30-60 minutes then I close it down to about half to a little more for the remainder of the cook. The last time I did sticks they were done in about 2.5 hours.