• Team Blue Power User Traeger Primo Grills PK Grills Canning Sous Vide Community Moderator

    Barry1967 Why aren’t you putting them in casings? Your fat content looks to low as well 20 will be an improvement, 30 would be better.

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    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.


  • Why do I need casings? I’ve already shot my deer for the season and the local Processing guy is adding in 20% pork fat to this round I can always add more as needed. Any advice is greatly appreciated

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    Barry1967 A snack stick is classically in a casing for ease of cooking and handling but some people do make a skinless product. It’s not something we do often though, I have asked our commercial salesmen if they know of any changes that should be made to the smoke schedule and I will update this post.

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    Barry1967 Okay, I heard back from our commercial salesmen and they said to add much less water than you would to a normal snack stick. Basically treat it like ground and formed jerky. https://meatgistics.waltonsinc.com/topic/625/how-to-make-homemade-restructured-jerky-recipe is where we made restructured jerky


  • Can I use a dehydrator or oven to cure snack sticks? What are your top 3 tips for making snack sticks?


  • Jehar said in How To Make Homemade Snack Sticks:

    Can I use a dehydrator or oven to cure snack sticks? What are your top 3 tips for making snack sticks?

    After you mix everything and believe you have the meat sufficiently tacky, mix some more.


  • Lost River Jones My dehydrator doesn’t get hot enough. Yes an oven will work. My tips: 1. Buy a meat ginder 2. Buy a meat mixer 3.Buy a meat stuffer and follow Walton’s recipe to a “T”… Oh and don’t add too much water while mixing

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    Jehar Oven is fine, dehydrators generally are going to work against you as they might pull too much moisture out and that is going to increase cook times and possibly creat case hardening

    1. Use a binder and mix really well
    2. Stuff until the casing is properly full. Look for a swirl pattern that funs down the casing, when you can just barely see it that is the correct amount
    3. Use humidity in your smoker. But you are using an oven so 3A) would be Get the meat super cold before the second grind. Slightly frozen meat will grind far better than meat that is in the upper 30s

  • What is the best ratio vension to pork butt?


  • Jehar said in How To Make Homemade Snack Sticks:

    What is the best ratio vension to pork butt?

    I think the answer is going to be up to 50-50 before you really don’t have a venison snack stick, but a pork snack stick.

    Not sure there is a best.

    But, I’ve made really good snack sticks with a ratio of 80% deer and 20% pork. I make 5 pound batches and my ground deer is packaged in 1 pound packages. So, I routinely use 4 pounds of deer and 1 pound of pork.


  • My seasoning mix has sodium erythorbate in it. Should I use the encapsulated citric acid too or leave that out?

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    jrypka That depends on the level of erythorbate in it. Most of the time it does not matter and if it is a Excalibur Snack Stick Seasoning (that doesnt say fast pack) you are good to still use ENcapsulated Citric Acid


  • OK, so I think I was on-track until the thermal processing. It took me 8 hours to reach internal 165 degrees, and the product is somewhat dry and crumbly. Edible, but not great. I used a binder and used a water pan in the smoker. I have a Masterbuilt Electric 30 and I followed the recommended processing schedule. I also had an ambient thermometer on the top and bottom racks so I know I was getting the temps given in the instructions. I’m going to try summer sausage this weekend, but need to figure out what’s going on with my cooking process. 8 hrs for a 19mm stick seems excessive, which is why they are so dry I think. On a side note, I mixed up more than I could fit in the smoker, so I put the rest on the Traeger pellet grill. Kept them between about 125-140 for an hour, and then had an oopsies and my grill went to 350. By the time I got it back down the sticks were over 165. They smoked for less than 2 hours. I had no issues with fat-out, and the product is definitely moister than the ones from my smoker.

    What changes should I make in my cook schedule? Remove the water pan? Smoke low for 2-3 hours then go up quickly to get them cooked before I lose all the moisture? I did “everything wrong” with the Traeger, yet they turned out better than following the smoke schedule in the smoker. Any suggestions?

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    jrypka Dry and crumbly can be a sign of issues with the encapsulated citric acid releasing too soon into the meat. BUT since it doesn’t sound like that was a problem with the ones in your traeger then lets assume it was the smoker. Removing the water pan is going to work against you, the lack of moisture is only going to increase cook times at the temperatures we are trying to cook at and give a dryer product. What were your dampers set at initially, did they get adjusted? It could be that with dampers open too much that even with a water pan you got case hardening, which is where the outside of the product cooks too quickly or dries too much and it cannot effectively pass heat into the center of the sausage any longer.

    8 Hours for 19mm seems pretty high but it is also not unheard of under certain conditions. How much water did you add to the meat?

    Since we had a split in quality between smokers lets stay mostly focussed on that though. (sorry, I tend to type out what I am thinking and then think that there might be some value in what I typed so I leave it!) Your water pan is probably increasing the relative humidity less than 10%. Can you grab some automotive sponges before next cook? Another option would be pulling it at 130 and finishing it in 170 degree water. It will cut hours and hours off your smoke schedule and it will not change the smoke flavor as after 130 IT smoke is pretty much done adhering to a sausage (both are covered in https://meatgistics.waltonsinc.com/topic/1099/cured-sausage-205-advanced-thermal-processing and https://meatgistics.waltonsinc.com/topic/1108/cured-sausage-206-advanced-cured-sausage-processing)

    Let us know anything else you did to the ones in the smoker, how long were the strands, where was the probe inserted, did the sticks at the top (near the loop) look more or less dry than the rest? Anything you can think of else?


  • Jonathon, great questions, you bring up some things I didn’t think about. Regarding moisture, yeah, I have a tiling sponge I could add. I could also close the vent down some, but really didn’t seem like case hardening at all. I brought temps up slow and they don’t seem tough. The MES is pretty tight and it seems humidity stays fairly high, but I can do stuff to increase it. But won’t more humidity make it cook slower? I did a batch of about 9.5 pounds, so I added 12 oz of water rather than 32 as called for in the 25lb batch recipe. And my binder was carrot fiber so assume that should have actually kept the product from drying out even more than sure gel.

    My ropes were too long to hang over smoking sticks once, but too short to loop twice. I ended up spiraling them on the racks trying to leave a 1/4" air gap between the spirals. I swapped top and bottom racks once since my two ambient probes showed about a 10 degree difference top and bottom. I had one meat probe in the end of the outer spiral of a snack stick about 2" figuring the walls of the smoker would be hotter and a second one inserted at an angle closer to the center of the spiral. These were on the middle two racks. I also used a Thermoworks Pro Needle to check other spots. I didn’t notice huge variations of doneness or dryness based on where in the smoker they were, but of course after 8 hours there was some variation with the edge ones being a bit drying and the interior ones where the gap in the spirals was small of being smoother skinned and less ‘overcooked’. It just really seems like I overcooked them. I realized later I went to 165 instead of 160 so that is part of it I suppose. That was about an extra hour I’d guess.

    At this point my best guess is to try to increase humidity and figure out how to hang them vs lay them on racks. Also, I might try to skip the 155 and go 125/140/175 since I didn’t have fat-out on the traeger on my accelerated cook.

    Any ideas appreciated!


  • Soooo. I have the jalapeno kit. Adding hi temp cheese. I do not have binder or citric acid… I’ll get that.
    My question is does there need to be a 12 hour rest after mixing the meat?
    After stuffing into casing?
    Or doe the meat go into the casing then into the smoker immediately?

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    cdex0614 If you are not adding citric acid or some other cure accelerator (Encapuslated Citric Acid, Sodium Erythorbate or smoked meat stabilizer, there are others but they are only available in bulk) then yes, you need to rest the meat but not after mixing, you need to mix it after stuffing. Only go from stuffing to smoking if you used a cure accelerator.

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    jrypka A tiling sponge will work just as well I would imagine. Adding humidity will make it cook much quicker. The main reason for “the stall” is that the evaporation energy that is coming off of the skin of the meat matches or at least counters the thermal processing energy from the cook cycle. My biggest thing would be don’t use carrot fiber in cured sausage. I know plenty of people do but try adding sure gel or even super bind which is a mix of carrot fiber and potato starch as those work better for cured sausage/

    coiling isn’t the best but totally doable so no reason that was your problem. 165° instead of 160…maybe but I’ve cooked sticks to 170 by mistake (forgot I had them in the PK and left to do something else like a moron) and they were as dry or crumbly as you are describing.

    Yup, totally fine to make adjustments to the smoke schedule if the one we post doesn’t work perfectly for you, different areas of the country have different humidity, temp and even elevation can come into it! Let us know how your next batch goes but I would say your best bet would be to add sure gel.


  • What is the least amount of encapsulated citric acid I can use for 5-lbs and still go right to the smoker after stuffing. I am trying to reduce the thang a little bit, but I’m not sure how much I can reduce that by and not have to refrigerate overnight. Thanks

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