Doug Kapfenstein last edited by
Soft meat sticks. Hey guys, I have a problem. My meat sticks have pretty much always been nice and firm and then I asked about my casings not sticking very well. I also had an issue with my temp not getting up to where I wanted it unless I really cranked up my smoker temp. It was suggested that I should be adding a little water in the water pan (which I had not been doing). I did that today and my casings are only so-so and my sticks are kinda soft. Could it be that the water kept the sticks from getting/staying firm? I used two different temp readers(I-grill and grill eye) with two different temps all the way through. I took the sticks off when the highest one said about 165 and the lower one reading about 145. Maybe that was the problem? Any help. Is greatly appreciated. Thanks guys.
@doug-kapfenstein I think we need more information to help out. How big are the batches? What smoker are you using? Smoking on sticks or racks? 145 will definitely produce a little softer stick but not mushy. Can you tell us a little more about the consistency? Are you mixing long enough to get good protein extraction? Hand or mechanical mixing? What is your cook cycle? Sorry for all the questions but any of these factors will affect your final product.
Doug Kapfenstein last edited by
@vjbutler Hi vjbutler. I’m making ten pound batches in a vertical smoker. I try to stay with the guide from the Waltons videos for time and temps u til the end and then I have to bump up to around 185 to get my final up. To 160-165. I use a cabelas manual mixer for right around 10 minutes. The sticks came out soft, but not mushy. Some of the casings aren’t stuck to the meat real well. This is the first batch I’ve used a cabelas casing also. I ran out of my usual ones and had to improvise and they are closer to me. I’m not real happy with these so it may be my last time with them too. I peeled the casing off of one of the sticks that wasn’t stuck very well and there was a grease like on the meat. I was thinking that might be from not getting hot enough? Definitely a few things I’m going to change the next batch. First may be to make sure of my thermometer. Thanks for any thoughts and ideas.
I do it all the time. Still remember my mom saying it’s not a good idea. I’m sure if you are buying a nice steak and intend it eat it as a grilled T-bone you might notice some flesh cell break down (texture change). If you are going to use it in sausage you will not notice any difference. Made brats last night. Once frozen pork and elk. Refroze the brats. I do it time and time again.
Here is a link to a website that has a handy Excel spreadsheet. It is, as it says a free non-commercial site.
As for Waltons dropping the ball, I vote they are doing a great job.
I think for all of us there are general guidelines, but unless you have a temperature and humidity controlled environment, both for the preparation, cooking (if you cook them) smoking, hanging etc, the results are bound to vary from batch to batch.
Personally, I am searching how to get my home made smoked and dry cured pepperoni to the exact texture and firmness of Margarita pepperoni from the store.
Through trial and error I have the flavor where I want it, but not the texture or firmness. I know time, temperature and humidity are all crucial, but the best I can do is in the basement and then subject to the environment that is there.
I figure as long as I am not killing anyone or making anyone sick I am making progress. Thanks Waltons for all of the great information so far.
Having said that, it would be nice to have your chart in an Excel spreadsheet.
Thanks Jonathon! One question tho! You eluded to 178 being high for a temp! Don’t you guys recommend setting the temp at 175 during the final stage to completion to internal temp? Three degrees shouldn’t make that much difference should it??
Sounds reasonable. Thanks for your input. Pulling the meat at 152 will make a big difference I bet! Thanks again.
@Kinger Thanks for the information. Your process, other than going to 178, is on in my mind. The only thing I do differently is an ice bath for 20 minutes. Showering for 10 minutes, if you are running a cycle and a fan in your smoker can work, but I still think an ice bath would bring it down faster and more. Last time I did thick summer sausage it was down to 110 in 20 minutes, I also tried showering it at 2 minutes on 2 minutes off for 20 minutes and it was only down to 136 (ish) but i did not have a fan running on them.
One more thing you might want to try, if you are stalled towards the end you can finish them up by putting them in a vacuum bag (I have done then hot, right from the smoker, some condensation in the bag but it still gets a good vac) and get some water going at around 165, it should get up to temp in under an hour depending on the thickness.