• I made my 2nd batch of all Beef/Jalapeno/Cheddar Willies Snack Sticks yesterday. Overall I was happy, but not as impressed (but still really impressed) as I was with the 1st batch. The sticks had a darker appearance, more wrinkles in the casing once finished, and the casing was a little tough. Almost like they case hardened. I ran 125 for an hour, 140 for an hour, 155 for 2, and then 170 to finish. It took almost 9 hour to finish VS. the 6 on the 1st attempt. I made a few changes in the process that had both positive and negative results. I cook in an offset stick burner so everything goes on one rack and is fired by 100% wood. The first attempt I stuffed everything into coils, but ran out of space on the cooker without having to overlap and shuffle things around throughout the cooking process to keep everything even. This time I made long runs to use all the rack space and not have to overlap. Plus it made the final appearance better as to not be shaped in arches once cut. I also lined the entire belly of the cooker with 4 full size pans with a half inch of water in them. Last time I ran the cooker dry. Again, overall I’m still really impressed. It is possible that I may have had the cooker packed just a little to tight cutting back on the flow. I’ve got a batch of TexMex coming up in a few days so I’ll make a few adjustments. I might even try to finish them in the Sous Vide after they’ve taken on some smoke.

    IMG_7355.jpeg

  • Power User Canning Team Orange Regular Contributors

    PaulGrant there was a video about using sponges in the smoker to help with moister could possibly be the cooking times if they stall you can bag and put in water on stove @ 170 till finished and not dry them out as much

  • Team Blue PK100 Power User

    PaulGrant I will tell you I will NEVER use a sponge in a smoker… put a bowl of water in there and be done.

    As Far as finishing… I still swear be water bath. We use a turkey fryer on a wood stove. Even if the sticks come out a with wrinkles the casing sucks up some moisture and they finish great. Pics look great BTW!

  • Power User Canning Team Orange Regular Contributors

    PaulGrant it is also good to keep a log of what you have done each time then you can review to see what worked and what didn’t including time and temp.


  • Parksider Thank you, moisture wasn’t the issue. At least I don’t think so. I had 4 full size steam pans in the bottom of the cooker with a half inch of water in them. That’s a lot of surface area. I think I’m going to give the Sous Vide a shot next round. I already own one and have a big enough basin to hold them all. I’ll probably vac seal mine before putting the in the water.


  • craigrice For sure. I do that with about everything anymore. Memory isn’t what it used to be. lol


  • After more thought on yesterdays cook, I think I had the cooker over packed with sticks restricting the air flow around the product causing some case hardening. Time to build that cedar smokehouse I’ve been drawing plans for :)

  • Team Blue PK100 Power User

    PaulGrant Couple other thoughts about the dryness. Did you put them in the smoker with no smoke to dry them out? If yes, they just need to not have moisture on them, then put the smoke to them. If it was overloaded you may have run it too long to dry them all out.
    I’m still a believer in the water finish, we don’t bag them, just straight into the water!

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