I plan on getting into processing my own deer this year (its just getting too expensive to have it done professionally). The dressing and removal of meat is not a problem, Im curious what the best thing to do with it afterwards? Sausage? Snack Sticks? Jerky? What is everyone’s favorite seasonings and casings to use? Wouldn’t mind trying seasoning off the beatin path if someone recommends them, I usually just got regular summer sausage done from the butcher.
I’m personally a bigger fan of snack sticks over any other meat snacks. I usually use the 19mm Smoke Collagen or the 21mm Smoke Collagen. The 21mm are much easier to stuff, but the 19mm can be nice because they are smaller.
My favorite snack stick seasoning right now is the Bloody Mary Snack Stick Seasoning, closely followed by the Habanero BBQ Seasoning. Both are really great and unique flavors! I don’t think the Bloody Mary has an overwhelming bloody mary flavor to it, but it’s just a really solid and good taste. Then the Habanero is just the perfect blend of sweet and savory, with just the perfect amount of heat and it’s not too hot.
If you are looking for more of a staple flavor, it’s really hard to beat the Willie’s Snack Stick Seasoning, and that’s easily the most popular snack stick seasoning. And, the Tex Mex Stick is pretty incredible as well, but definitely has some more heat to it.
Are you leaning towards making 1 particular type of meat snack, or multiple types?
And do you have a preference for any type of flavor profile and do you like things with heat or a lot of sweetness?
Thanks for the great response. I think that I would be interested in trying a variety of different options (as long as they are appropriate for an inexperience processor). I personally tend to go more towards the spicy side of things, but I also hope to get good enough to give out some of these as thank you’s for hunting privileges so I am going to need some with mass appeal as well. I have watched some of the Walton’s youtube videos and they seem to be pretty straightforward with the process, just not sure what all to add in to give it that something “extra”. Definitely thinking stick and summer sausage. I believe there should be fat mixed in with those right? Does it matter pork or beef? What ratio has people found to be best? Sorry, not trying to sound dumb there is just a lot of information available on the web and I am curious to hear from people who have actually “been there done that”.
@pk67490 For fat content, I’d recommend at least 20%, and maybe even up to 30%. More fat equals more flavor, so a 70% lean to 30% fat would be ideal. You could use pork or beef to add fat, but most of the time I’d recommend and most people use pork fat. Most deer trimmings are going to be almost all lean meat, so if you made a 25 lb batch of something, I’d use at least 5 lb of pork fat and up to 7.5 lb of pork fat, and then the rest of the batch (17.5 to 20lb) to make 25 lb total would be deer meat.
For additional additives (both on summer sausage or snack sticks), you can add Encapsulated Citric Acid which gives that tangy flavor that many people are used to, plus you can add a meat binder like Sure Gel. I’d highly recommend both, but they would be optional.
I also don’t make snack sticks or summer sausage any more without some High Temp Cheese! Some flavor of high temp cheese is pretty much automatic for me anymore.
If you want to do summer sausage, the casings I use are either 1.5" x 12" Mahogany Fibrous Casings (0.5 lb capacity per stick), 2.4" x 12" Mahogany Fibrous Casings (1 lb capacity per stick), or 2.9" x 20" Mahogany Fibrous Casings (3 lb capacity per stick). Just depends on which size or capacity you are looking for. The 2.4" x 12" version is probably the most popular one.
For summer sausage seasoning, that Habanero BBQ is awesome in summer sausage too, but the H Summer and Jalapeno Summer are easily the two most popular. Neither of those two are spicy, so if you want some extra heat, you could throw in some extra ground or crushed red pepper.
@Austin Why is it that you recommend pork fat? I could probably get either but beef fat would be easier to get my hands on.
@pk67490 While either could work, pork fat is just going to give you a little better flavor. In my opinion, it’s better and you get a better final product. I think pork fat helps carry flavor better than beef fat, or other meats. It wouldn’t necessarily be wrong to try using beef fat though. You might even get some guys that said they would prefer beef fat. Pork fat is really just an opinion on what works better.
I reviewed the website for high temp cheese and so a ton of choices. Are there any that compliment the seasonings in particular? I would assume the blue cheese and buffalo seasoning would work well, any other suggestions?
@pk67490 Yeah, there are several seasonings that are bleu cheese flavored that pair really, really well with the high temp bleu cheese.
If I’m doing something more Italian flavored, I’ll use the Mozzarella high temp cheese.
If it’s something spicy, I use the Hot Pepper high temp cheese (although the cheese is not that spicy).
And the other flavors I’ll use on about anything.
This may not be the most help ever, but, I don’t think you can go wrong pairing any high temp cheese flavor with just about any seasoning flavor profile.
Any idea what is going on with the “W Stick Seasoning”? I had a buddy recommend it as a good base to add some of the smoked chedder to for some of my family members who cant take heat. It looks like its just sold in 6lb packages but the inventory is listed as -10 at the warehouse. Not sure this is the right place to post this question but any info would be helpful.
@pk67490 We’ve got a few blends, like this one that still contain MSG and we’ve been phasing them out slowly and trying to transition customers to alternative seasoning blends. This one is just one of the “lucky” ones we haven’t gotten rid of. It is negative because there are already some on orders and spoken for. We are expecting to have more in by next Wednesday, Nov 9th to fill existing orders and replenish normal stock.
I have not personally tried this blend, so I cannot give a direct example of the perfect replacement, but I’ll ask around tomorrow and see if one of the other blends we stock is setup to be a match or very similar flavor profile.
Thanks again for the suggestions. When I’ve had deer processed in the past, they have always made some “regular sticks” because I have an older landowner who lets me hunt who essentially likes “meat flavored meat”. Thats why I would looking for something that would be an original flavor or something close to that. Maybe what I’m asking for doesn’t exist but do you have something like that?
@pk67490 For something “regular” I’d go with either a Pepper Stick or for a bit more flavor, but still something simple, a Pepperoni Seasoning wouldn’t be a bad choice. The Pepper Stick is definitely a more plain seasoning, and would probably be what I would use to try and get as much of that “meat flavored meat” you are describing. Another thought is too just use a little less seasoning than normal too, and you could use about any seasoning blend then, just with a bit less seasoning than it calls for.
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I use the pepperoni mix to make moose sticks and it comes out great I smoke them with alder hickory mix I also use the seasonings to make a garlic sausage and a Wisconsin brat
I would have never thought of using the pepperoni mix for sticks, but sounds like I need to give it a shot. Any suggestions for jerky seasoning? I plan to try doing some on a smoker with whole meat jerky from the deer hind legs. Tips tricks or pointers would be appreciated.
pk67490 last edited by pk67490
Ive been following the YouTube series on Excalibur seasonings, any Excalibur recommendations for deer backstrap or tenderloin?
For jerky, my personal favorite is the Bold Jerky Seasoning. Has a bit of spice, but not too much.
Pepper and Garlic is a new one, but I really love it and it has jumped up towards the top of my list already.
Then something a little sweet, with just a hint of spice, there’s BBQ Jerky Seasoning. And I think I’ve made more jerky out of this flavor than anything else.
Or if you want a more traditional “meat” flavor to stay stronger in the jerky, try the Colorado Jerky or the Colorado Spicy Jerky. Both are still great flavors, but a lot more traditional in nature.
For making jerky, my biggest pointers would be to trim off as much fat as possible, slice against the grain of the meat, and put the meat, seasoning, and cure in poly bags with just enough water to slightly cover the meat and let it sit at least 12 hours to marinate. I like letting it marinate like that instead of just dry dusting the jerky slices. Lastly, also make sure you get the jerky cooked at a high enough temp to actually hit a 160 internal temp on the meat, and if you have a dehydrator running at a lower temp, cook it in an oven or smoker first then switch to the dehydrator to finish.
Thanks for the great jerky advice. I had tried wild game jerky in the past and it never turned out very good, from reading what you posted it seems like I was doing it wrong. Definitely going to try your techniques.
@pk67490 Anytime we’re talking whole muscle proteins and we’re keeping the whole tenderloin intact for smoking, I recommend using a injectable seasoning like the Butter Flavored Seasoning/Marinade. Mix up the 0.625lb bag of seasoning in 1 quart of water, and inject into any whole muscle proteins. I inject as much as the meat can hold, but the official usage says add 10% of the meat weight in the injection/seasoning. Then you just need a rub for the outside. For wild game, definitely check out the Wild Game Seasoning, but my personal favorite for any type of loin is probably Sweet & Sassy Garlic Seasoning. The Apple Style Sweet & Sassy is really good too. There a lot more rubs and seasoning shakers too, but those are my top ones.
If you are cutting loins or backstrap to make more of a steak to grill, you can just go with one of the seasoning shakers as a rub, or try out a liquid sauce or marinade. I really like the Smoking Maple Bacon & Ale Sauce, but all of the Excalibur Sauces are really good and I haven’t had one that I’ve regretted trying.
Used some ground deer burger with the 19mm casing and the jalepeno stick seasoning and high temp cheddar cheese. Made them on a treager set for smoke for about 2 hours then turned up the heat to 225 to finish them and brought the internal temp to around 163. Immediately chilled the sticks and then let them rest for about an hour before packaging. I was impressed with myself with the result and the quality of the casings and seasonings. Can’t wait to try doing some more. Thanks for your help and suggestions.
In the past while making summer sausage I have used ground beef 80/20 about 8 pounds and about 4 pounds mixed together… what mixture do you use for summer sausage
@KSHusker First, yes they should be safe to eat. You cooked them to 160° which will kill anything harmful. Now, obviously use common sense and your senses, if it smells bad don’t eat it!
The first thing to know is if you used sure cure (or another version) or not? From the sounds of it, you did but I just want to make sure we are looking at all possibilities. Were the butts untrimmed? If they had a nice fat cap on them then you should have been okay, I still like to use a little more fat than that but you should have been in the realm. How did you mix it, was it by hand? If you mixed for 30 minutes in a meat mixer that is a long time to be mixing it (I don’t think this was your issue, just pointing it out). Starting at 200 is a little high but it also sounds like it came down to 180° pretty quickly but this would be my thought on why the casing stuck, cooking too high can cause this.
For the color, the only thing I can think of (if you used a cure) is that it looks pinker around the edges because you got a nice smoke ring around it? How deep does the nice pink color go and what type of casing did you use? With wild game, I always use some sort of cure accelerator, either Encapsulated Citric Acid, Smoked Meat Stabilizer or something, it helps burn the color more and then you can skip holding it overnight and go right from stuffing to the smokehouse.
Anyone else have thoughts?