Snack sticks ?



  • I am planning on giving snack sticks another attempt this weekend. I am planning on doing a 12.5 # block of meat 1/2 venison and 1/2 pork butts. I plan to use the sure gel for a binder. I also will use the encapsulated citric acid and know to mix it in the last 45-60 seconds.
    So I will have the cure , sure gel , seasoning to mix in and then the ECA at the end. Anyone have a suggestion on how much water to add to the mixture ? After stuffing I see its recommended to smoke at these temps. 125 for 1 hour 140 for 1 hour 155 for 2 hours and finally 175 until IT reaches 160. When they are done I also will want to put them in an ice bath . Can anyone think of anything I am missing or have any tips I would love to hear them. Thanks



  • @JohninPa sounds like you got it down…as far as how much water I think I seen 2 pints for 25 lbs. I usually don’t measure the water…I just mix my seasonings,cure in some water and dump…then add more water till I think it looks good. I haven’t used sure gel yet I use carrot fiber (which I don’t mix with water) so I can get away with a little more water. Only tip I can think of is make sure you mix it long enough to get good protein extraction. The more I think about it I think I’m pretty close to a quart of water to 25lbs maybe a bit more. After you pull them from the ice bath let them sit out for a few hours at room temp to bloom then put them in the fridge or someplace cool enough overnight and package the next day.



  • Will around 10 minutes be good for mixing time?



  • Another question I had is do I need to tie the ends of the casing off ?



  • @JohninPa mix until you put some meat in your palm and you can turn palm upside down and it doesn’t fall off…if you search protein extraction on this page it’ll show up in one of Johns videos



  • @JohninPa I don’t tie the ends I’ll just pinch how ever long I want my sticks to be…for me my sticks are probably 16-18 inches long so when I get that length I just pinch and cut with a scissors if that makes sense




  • Regular Contributors

    @JohninPa im not sure why you would use sure gel or ECA? I never add those. ECA i can see if you dont want to leave over night for cure to process or you want that tang. Personally i cant stand that tang. Second, on my smoker it says to bring it up to 125°, install meat and with both dampers wide open cook for one hour (this is considered the drying process) then add pan of moistened sawdust and increase to 140° and close dampers to 1/4 open. When you get to where it says increase to 155° add a pan of hot boiled water and shut dampers 100% for the cooking process, your smoking and cooking schedule looks right but no mention of adding water and damper position



  • @twilliams said in Snack sticks ?:

    @JohninPa im not sure why you would use sure gel or ECA? I never add those. ECA i can see if you dont want to leave over night for cure to process or you want that tang. Personally i cant stand that tang. Second, on my smoker it says to bring it up to 125°, install meat and with both dampers wide open cook for one hour (this is considered the drying process) then add pan of moistened sawdust and increase to 140° and close dampers to 1/4 open. When you get to where it says increase to 155° add a pan of hot boiled water and shut dampers 100% for the cooking process, your smoking and cooking schedule looks right but no mention of adding water and damper position

    Thanks. I was about to ask about the dampers and water. So damper wide open when I start the process. Then add chips and close damper to 1/4 open at 140. Then at 155 close damper and add water. Does this sound correct? Now you have me second guessing myself on the encapsulated citric acid. I have never used it but when I started looking into making these I had a few people recommend that I try it.



  • Anyone have suggestions on whether to use the ECA or try without it first? Would definitely save me time in the morning because I could get the meat ground , mixed and stuffed this evening correct?


  • Regular Contributors

    @JohninPa thats correct it would save on your workload, not so much time. Insread of doing it all in one day by not adding ECA it has to stay in fridge over night and smoke next day. However this way does tie up a weekend fairly full.


  • Regular Contributors

    @JohninPa you wanna stuff right after mixing or the meat will get to stiff if you wait


  • Regular Contributors

    @JohninPa 20191207_081504.jpg
    Here is the smoking schedule out of my book from my smoker. I have a big unit with 2 dampers top and bottom


  • Power User

    @JohninPa
    ECA. I tried it once and haven’t since. Didn’t care for that tang. Just my two cents.



  • @JohninPa I guess I would split your batch and do some with and some without…if you were unsure about eca



  • @blackbetty61 said in Snack sticks ?:

    @JohninPa I guess I would split your batch and do some with and some without…if you were unsure about eca

    Thanks. I think I am going to try without the ECA for my first batch. Any suggestions on whether to use the sure gel meat binder or just use the cure and seasoning?



  • Hi new to this site but like the topic for sure. I make a lot of venison jerky, mostly use store bought seasoning. I use the oven, Cabela’s dehydrator and Traeger wood pellet grill for smoking and cooking sausage and jerky. I use a jerky shooter for making snack sticks from venison burger and looking for recipes for snack sticks.



  • So i use 8oz water per 10lbs of meat. Seems perfect to me. I would NOT use eca your first time. If something goes south and you cant smoke right away your meat is ruined and i dont like the taste. I never put eca in for my customers. You can always stuff the casings and hold the meat for a few days before smoking. But yes stuff the casings if your going to let your meat sit or it will bond with itself and be very hard to stuff without adding additional water.
    I dint use binders but i also have a mechanical mixer. If your going by hand i would use the sure gel. Also the water pan is very important or you could dry out your casings too much. Sounds like you did good reasearch!



  • Ok. So I got the meat ground , mixed and stuffed into the casings earlier this evening. I will be trying my luck at smoking them tomorrow morning. Am I correct that I want to have the vent open for the first hour of the cooking cycle? After the first hour bump the temp up to 140 add smoke , a water pan and close the vent ? Does all this sound correct?



  • No. Dont add water pan until smoke is done and leave damper about 1/4 open. You need the smoke to pass through so it stays fresh. After the 140 degree 1hour has passed with smoke. Then take smoke out, close damper, add water and increase temp.



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    I generally do between 75 and 200lbs of snacks sticks at a time. Maybe couple times a month.



  • @lamurscrappy said in Snack sticks ?:

    No. Dont add water pan until smoke is done and leave damper about 1/4 open. You need the smoke to pass through so it stays fresh. After the 140 degree 1hour has passed with smoke. Then take smoke out, close damper, add water and increase temp.

    Ok . So at the 140* degree mark I will close damper to 1/4 open and add smoke. After that hour is up I will close damper and add the water ?



  • @JohninPa perfect!



  • @lamurscrappy said in Snack sticks ?:

    @JohninPa perfect!

    Thanks. I hope they taste as good as the ones I can buy locally.



  • Lets us know!


  • Regular Contributors

    @lamurscrappy look at the pic recipe i ppsted above. What do you think of that? That is from my smoker manufacturer Pro Smoker 100SS.



  • @lamurscrappy said in Snack sticks ?:

    Lets us know!

    Will do. Thanks for the advice.


  • Regular Contributors

    @lamurscrappy 5 hours of smoke seems excessive to me



  • @twilliams i will say it depends on the smoke produced. If its a very small amount of smoke then maybe 5 hours but you cant do that with a high humidity cook cycle. I would just do 1 hour with heavy smoke. Dont moisten your wood, it dont create more smoke it just adds moisture in the smoker and smokes longer that i personally dont believe you need.
    So to answer your question hell no i wouldnt smoke snack sticks for 5 hours!



  • @JohninPa I always use a binder


  • Regular Contributors

    @blackbetty61 have you used with and without to verify the difference? There is so many different additives that i have no idea what they do. I prefer to keep everything as natural as possible



  • @twilliams yes I have… for me the texture is better when I use a binder it binds the fat with the meat better IMO but that’s just me, also I’ve only used carrot fiber haven’t used sure gel or any other one yet… everyone has their own preferences



  • Well I cooked the sticks that I mixed up yesterday and they didn’t turn out too bad. Taste was ok but they don’t have the snap to them like the ones I buy locally. They just bend and then at a certain point break. I like them to have that snap to them. Anyone have an idea why that may be ? I used 50% venison and 50% pork butts. Some of them got a little dry on me also . Any ideas on why they don’t have the snap to them?



  • Try sticking them in your fridge for a few days to dry out a bit more. Uncovered.



  • @lamurscrappy said in Snack sticks ?:

    Try sticking them in your fridge for a few days to dry out a bit more. Uncovered.

    Ok. That’s what it seems like they just aren’t dry enough.



  • Just wondering if having too many in the smoker would cause this issue of them not dry enough. Only other thing that I can think of is when I loaded the smoker the temperature dropped on me. Next time I think I will try to load the rack out of the smoker and then slide it in.


  • Power User

    @JohninPa if you drop the temp to much you might want to add time to your drying cycle start timing it after it gets to temp



  • @craigrice said in Snack sticks ?:

    @JohninPa if you drop the temp to much you might want to add time to your drying cycle start timing it after it gets to temp

    Thanks. I thought about that this morning. Don’t know why I didn’t think of it yesterday.


  • Power User

    @JohninPa going to be warm here tomorrow maybe 50 not bad for maine this time of year I might make taco snack sticks tomorrow



  • Being this was my first attempt with them not being as dry as they should be is that going to effect anything other than taste and texture? I wasn’t sure with having more moisture in them.


  • Power User

    @JohninPa the taste will be the same the texture might be off



  • If you like a little more snap. Once they hit 160 internal open up the dampers fully, take out humidity and drop the temp down to about 150 and let them sit for another hour or two to help dry them out more.



  • @lamurscrappy said in Snack sticks ?:

    If you like a little more snap. Once they hit 160 internal open up the dampers fully, take out humidity and drop the temp down to about 150 and let them sit for another hour or two to help dry them out more.

    Thanks for the tip. Can’t wait to try the next batch .



  • Youll be a pro in no time!



  • I’m planning on making up a small batch of sticks this weekend and try out some new equipment I’ve recently acquired and I’m a newby here 😃 I’m planning on using a little frozen 80/20 beef burger with a mix of pork butt…I’m guessing the butt is near 25%+ so I thought a 60% beef & 40% pork would be some what close but I don’t know…? I’ll be using Willy’s, carrot binder and about a pound of pepperjack for a 10-12lb batch…stuffed in either 19 or 21mm s/c…anyone have any thoughts about using a burger that’s already been run through the small plate and when to season and mix with the pork? As the pork will have to be run through a coarse as well as fine…I just wanted to avoid over extruding the burger if that’s possible and I still have to season and mix at some point and using my kitchen aid to mix in small batches (what ever it will handle and still stay together) lol Any thoughts are certainly most appreciated…I’m probably over thinking this but it never hurts to ask those who may have been down that road before…just might help you avoid a few pitfalls…



  • @lamurscrappy
    I want to try my hand at snack sticks and want to make pepper snack sticks what mix have you found to be the best for pepper sticks???
    Thanks
    Dave
    Your set up is impressive



  • @Larry-Eck I wouldn’t worry to much about the burger, by grinding it again with the pork it should actually help you achieve the necessary protein extraction a little easier. I’d go with the 19 mm casings, in my opinion they make the perfect sized snack stick. Also I would add about 12 oz of water to the mix if you weren’t already planning on it. Other than that I think your plan is solid and good luck!



  • @AdamCA Thank’s Adam, I’m certainly looking forward to the experience…I’ll post a pic at the finish line 😃 Should be a hoot!


  • Regular Contributors

    @Larry-Eck i would shy away from using your kitchen aid to mix small batches if you are meaning like mixing 2 lbs at a time then making a 10 lb or 15 lb batch all together. Go to farm and fleet or fleet farm or purchase from Waltons and buy the grey meat lugs. If you cant find that then just go to the plastic storage tubs isle at walmart. Grind your pork and pork fat if using any with the large plate into your meat tub then add your beef mixing by hand very well. Then run beef and pork mix through the small plate into your meat tub. Add seasoning, carrot fiber, diluted pink salt with water and mix by hand very well until meat gets sticky. Add your cheese last minute of mixing. Then stuff into your casings, refrigerate over night and smoke next day.



  • @akdave i like a nice peppery snack stick too. Willies snack stick from waltons is pretty good flavored. But for me i use the pepperoni snack sticks seasoning then i add an additional 1TBSP COURSE black pepper per 5lbs then add a smaller amount of red pepper flakes. Thats a nice style of snack sticks. If your really into more peppery then i would try that mix but maybe go 1 1/2 TBSP course black pepper per 5lbs. I try to keep mine a little more tame so i can appease more customers.



  • I have a tub to grind and mix in so if push comes to shove I’ll mix it by hand but my mixer is pretty stout and will probably hold close to 5lbs…if it doesn’t work nothing ventured nothing gained? I may want to look for a mixer if vices turn into habits here…lol I thank you for you’re insight…I certainly enjoy the creative aspects and forum’s like this hold a wealth of knowledge from those that have been down the road and around the block and I look forward to tapping into that once in a while…so until I get my feet wet here, I may pose a question or two…thanks again 😃


  • Regular Contributors

    @Larry-Eck i would just be concerned on getting the seasoning and other additives proportioned evenly at 5lb batches rather than your whole meat block



  • @twilliams I also noticed the batch percentage for Willies is off better than an ounce and a half for a 10lb batch…I brought it to someones attention at the order desk and he did the math and also figured out it was wrong so he was going to bring it to somebodies attention…should be 10.8 oz. Willies …11.2 grams sure cure … 45 grams of carrot pwd. … at least that’s what I figured out…so if anyone can shoot me down if I’m all wet that would be appreciated otherwise that’s what I’m going for…best laid plans of mice or men huh? Lol should be a hoot, I’m a gonna give a go in a while…



  • @JohninPa I due my snack sticks just like you. for the water i start out with 1o/z per pound.
    then add as needed . they come out perfect ever time this way. I also due it with out the ECA.
    If you due that you will have to let the product sit in the fridge over night to cure.



  • @twilliams Well everything moved along according to plan, I ended up using the 100lb rate ratio to keep it true to form rather than using the incorrect amount on the breakdown conversion chart…I extruded everything through the small plate, seasoned and mixed by hand to a really gooey protein extraction point…more like concrete mixed with glue…didn’t want to exceed the one ounce per lb rate if I didn’t have to…worked out perfect, dang near left out the pepper jack cheese though lol…anyway loaded up my Hakka sausage press and pumped out about near 65’ of 19 mm smoked collagen casing … I’ll rack them up sometime this morning and smoke them…if they taste as good as they smell and look … I’m thinking we got a touch down here 😃


  • Power User

    @Larry-Eck
    Let’s see some finished pics. 👍



  • Still in the smoker had to raise the temp due to cold weather so it’s taking a bit longer than I anticipated. .but will post something tomorrow. .the taste is just outstanding. .! I’m excited to savor the flavor of the finished product… 😃


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    Thank you to everyone who chipped in with knowledge and advice here! Nice to see Meatgistics members helping each other, it’s what we always wanted it to be and as it continues to grow it will hopefully continue!



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  • Walton's Employee

    Didn’t upload Larry, if you want to email it to me at jonathon@waltonsinc.com I will get it posted!


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    If it held together in a patty and crumbled apart after cooking, could be as simple as it being overcooked. Venison cooks up rather quickly and is pretty dry but sounds like you added enough fat. Keep an eye on the internal temp with a thermometer for a patty or two and see if that makes a difference.

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