How To Make Homemade Snack Sticks
How To Make Homemade Snack Sticks
Learn how to make homemade snack sticks with Walton's and Meatgistics. Watch the video, read the guide, and then post your questions or comments below
What Is A Snack Stick?
Snack Sticks are a meat snack and semi-dried sausage that are stuffed into a small diameter casing. Typically a collagen casing is used, but it is also acceptable to use natural casings or even make skinless snack sticks. Most snack sticks have a low pH from around 4.5 to 5.2, which is what gives them that familiar tangy flavor and is what helps aid in shelf stability. Another aid for shelf stability is a low water activity, which means binding water in the meat snacks to make it unavailable to support microbial growth. Water activity is not something that can be measured by a home meat processor, but we still set up our process and thermal processing to attempt to achieve a lower water activity. Snack sticks can be made from just about any type of meat, from beef, pork, chicken, other poultry, wild game, or a combination of meats. Walton’s recommends using a lean to fat ratio of at least 80/20, and many times a 30% fat ratio, with a maximum of 40% fat. Fat is where most of your flavor comes from so changing your lean to fat ratio will change the overal taste and mouthfeel of your product.
25lb 80/20 beef trim 1
Start the initial grind with a 3/8in (10mm) grinder plate, then grind a second time through a 1/8in (3mm) grinder plate. Always use a sharp grinder knife and plate. This will help you retain a better particle definition, color, and help prevent any smearing of the meat. If you cannot easily distinguish the lean from the fat when grinding, then it may be time for a new grinder plate and knife.
Using a meat mixer is preferred to hand mixing when making snack sticks. We need to make sure we get a lot of protein extraction, and that is a bit more difficult to achieve in hand mixing but still a possibility to do if you don’t have an actual meat mixer. We are going to want to mix for about 8 minutes, and we’ll want to reverse the direction of the mixing paddles every 1 minute. When you start the mixer, just start adding all the ingredients, except the Encapsulated Citric Acid and High Temp Cheese. These last two ingredients can be added in the last 45-60 seconds of the cycle, or just long enough to evenly disperse. Over mixing Encapsulated Citric Acid could lead to breaking the encapsulate and over mixing the cheese can lead to smearing and loss of shape.
Avoid creating air pockets when you load your sausage stuffer and begin stuffing until the casings are full with a smooth exterior. We will stuff into as long of ropes as we can, and then we’ll cut them to length when we actually hang on smoke sticks in the smokehouse.
Either hang on smoke sticks or lay on racks in your smokehouse or oven. Just be sure to leave a slight gap between the snack sticks. A simple cooking schedule you can follow is here:
125F for 1 hour
140F for 1 hour
155F for 2 hours
175F until internal meat temp of 160F
To help set the casing to the meat and also prevent wrinkling we need to shower the snack sticks when they are done cooking or put them in an ice water bath. It should only take around 10 minutes to get the temperature to drop down. Then, we’ll let them set out for about 1 hour before moving to the refrigerator/freezer. After we are totally done with the cooling process, then we will package in vacuum pouches for longer term storage.
It’s easy to get the basics on making snack sticks, but practice does make perfect. Walton’s has everything you need (except the meat) to make great snack sticks, plus we have the knowledge to help you perfect your own process. If you have any questions or need help in your process, please share your questions or comments below.
- Using a binder like Carrot Fiber, or Soy Protein Blend will not change how much water you put into your product.
- Place a small pan of water in the bottom of smokehouse during the entire cooking cycle to help increase humidity
If your smoker, smokehouse, dehydrator, or oven cannot reach temperatures as low as 125F, just start as low as possible and slowly increase the temperature over time
1. Or use 18 lb wild game meat and 7 lb pork fat or beef fat, though beef fat will have different texture and taste (Return to text)
2. Sure Cure packet is included with seasoning (Return to text)
3. Instead of Sure Gel also try 4 oz of Carrot Fiber (Return to text)
4. If you do not use a cure accelerator like Encapsulated Citric Acid or Smoked Meat Stabilizer, then after it has been stuffed into its casing hold in a refrigerator for approximately 12 hours or overnight (Return to text)
5. For Home Processors 2 Qts Will Make Stuffing Easier (Return to text)
Watch WaltonsTV: How To Make Snack Sticks
Guest last edited by
If “'slowly” raising the cooking temp. from 125F to 175F, wouldn’t you risk bacteria/spores getting heat resitant. If the dangerzone is between 40F and 140F wouldn’t it make more sense to start with the last cook step to kill all bacteria and spores without risking heat resistance? Or does this have adverse effects on texture, taste, etc.
Up until the time of smoking, you should have the meat at a temperature under 40F, so up to that point it will be at a temp to limit bacteria growth. Once you start smoking, additives like Sure Cure and Encapsulated Citric Acid are going to help control microbial growth and give help you create a safe to eat final product. If you start with a higher temperature, you do risk creating a tough and dry exterior and casing, sometimes known as case hardening. This can be a less safe process for cooking because it creates a tough exterior and prevents the meat and internal temp from rising up to a safe level where bacteria are killed. Case hardening basically makes it hard to fully cook the product up to a safe temp, and it does not allow moisture to escape as easily and in a semi-dried product like snack sticks part of our goal in cooking and creating an edible product is to dry the product out (to an extent, but not as dry as something like jerky). A slow and incremental increase in your smoker temps will help the meat temp rise at a rate that will help prevent case hardening, while still creating a safe and consumable product when finished. Within 2 hours we are setting the smokehouse temp up to a high enough temp to really get the meat up into a temperature range that will begin killing bacteria, and that should be within a sufficient enough time to not be a concern.
I hope that helps answer your question. If you need anything else, let us know!
weatherbow21 last edited by
I have really been struggling with making snack sticks, with several failed attempts to the point I’m almost ready to give up.
My issue isn’t flavor, its look and texture. I cannot get that tight, lightly wrinkled look of a snack stick. My meat just doesn’t seem to bind to the casing like it should. The casing always ends up kind of loose, and when you bite into it or try and break a piece in half, the casing and meat separate which is pretty unappetizing.
I am using wild game meat, and I have been experimenting with fat ratios, some batches I know I have done too lean.
I haven’t been adding the protein binder, or citric acid (I am not sure why, not reading the recipe correct I guess) but this next batch I plan to use it and see if that helps, if I fail again though I’m ready to throw in the towel, its getting frustrating so I’d love some help and input. Snack sticks are a great way to eat up ground wild game but it sure is kicking my butt so far.
@weatherbow21 I’d try a few things. First, without a question you should use a binder if you are having texture issues, my favorite is the Carrot Binder, it’s an easy to use and inexpensive way to get a better consistency and bind. If you are going to use the Encapsulated Citric Acid just make sure you go right from stuffing to smoking, do not hold it for 12 hours like you would if you were not using it.
Next watch this video on protein extraction https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wStH-RtQUY8 it does a decent job showing you what proper protein extraction looks like and generally how long it will take to get there. If I had to guess I would say that your problems are stemming from this step, make sure the product is sticky before stuffing it into the casings.
Make sure your fat ratio is in the 20% range. That can sometimes be hard to figure out with wild game so I would recommend that you try making a batch out of pork or beef that you get from a grocery store and know what the fat content is, use binder here as well. Once you have a batch or two of this under your belt go back to wild game.
Just in case you haven’t watched it we do have a snack stick video that goes through every step pretty thoroughly https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3D4_SyN4TX0
Two other things that could be playing a part here are your cook schedule and what type of casings you are using and how full you are stuffing them. Ideally your cook schedule would be 125F for 1 hour, 140F for 1 hour, 155F for 2 hours and then 175F until internal meat temp of 160F(for more information on this check out this post https://meatgistics.waltonsinc.com/topic/182/how-to-make-homemade-snack-sticks-recipe). If you can not set your smoker to 125°F just set it as low as your smoker will go, if that is 150°F then set it to 150° and leave it at that temp for about 2 to 2.5 hours. For the stuffing you want to be using smoked collagen snack sticks and you want to stuff them until they are full and smooth.
I hope this helps, don’t give up, like you said snack sticks are a great way to use your wild game!
I’m getting ready to make my first batch of snack sticks have a few questions.
If I’m using venison and pork fat would I use the Smoked Meat Stabilizer and the Citric Acid, or just the stabilizer?
If both, then in what quantity? The recipe calls for 4 oz of citric acid. The info on the stabilizer says 2 oz for 25 lbs. Would I use those amounts or just 2 oz of citric acid with the 2 oz of stabilizer?
I understand that you don’t want to store the sticks overnight if you use the acid or stabilizer, but if you don’t use them do you also lose the tangy flavor?
And finally, could I also use beef fat instead of pork fat? Would that change anything else in the recipe?
Thanks for the all of the great info you provide! It’s very helpful and informative.
@darrel Great question on the use of Citric Acid and Smoked Meat Stabilizer in the same batch! You do not need to use them together as they are performing basically the same function. The Encapsulated Citric Acid is what provides the tang to the meat where the Smoked Meat Stabilizer does not. Sof if you are wanting the tang then use the Citric Acid and if you do not want the tang then add the smoked meat stabilizer.
You can use beef fat in place of pork fat, it will give you a slightly different flavor but will not change your process.
I hope this helped, let us know if you have any other questions!
@jonathon Thanks for that. So using citric acid alone is fine with venison? The way I read it in the product info, smoked meat stabilizer was intended for wild game. If I use citric acid at 4oz/25lbs will I get the same safe result as the stabilizer?
@darrel Yes, using just citric acid is fine with Venison. If you use the Citric Acid you will end up with the same safe result you would get from the smoked meat stabilizer with the added benefit of the tang since the Citric Acid is going to lower the pH of the meat.
Let us know if you have any other questions!
@jonathon Excellent. Thanks! Maybe I’ll split the batch to try both.
toby-wall last edited by
How long do you apply smoke during the process. Nothing worse than over smoking.
@toby-wall I usually don’t smoke for the first hour as smoke won’t adhere then anyway. I then usually leave it on the rest of the time as the smoke from the wood chips usually burns out of my pan in about 2 hours which is as long as I want to apply smoke anyway. If you are working with a commercial smoker where you can constantly pump in smoke then I would say do it from 140° until you jump the temp to 175°.
Some people like a lighter smoke and some like a heavier smoke but I usually recommend changing the type of smoke you are using for that instead of the amount of smoke. For example I tend to like a light smoke on things like chicken so I use Pecan or Apple which have a little lighter smoke flavor than Mesquite or Hickory.
SierraPete last edited by
@jonathon So this may seem like a really dumb question, but how do you hang the meat in the smoker. I assume I just loop over the smoke stick and then make one big continuous loop across the stick alternating up across and down from side to side over the smoke stick until I get it all on there? I assume if I cut prior to cooking my 30% fat to meat ratio would mean it would heat up to melt the pork fat and I would have meat running out of casings to the bottom of my smoker.
@sierrapete Those aren’t stupid questions at all, very good questions that I would bet a lot of people have! You are correct on how to hang them, keep looping them over smoke sticks until either it is full or you have gotten them all in there.
As for the fat melting out yes, this is definitely a concern. You can prevent this from happening by getting a good bind between your water, meat and fat by getting the correct amount of protein extraction and using a binder. We did a video about “fatting out” and protein extraction that should help you with this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wStH-RtQUY8 . Let me know if you have any other questions!
IcePro last edited by
Can I make snack sticks with just using ground beef with out adding any pork.
Without adding pork should I add Soy Protein as a binder.
We butchered two cows and made all the meat into hamburger and trying to make a lot of beef sticks.
Any suggestions are appreciated.
@icepro Yes you can absolutely make snack sticks out of 100% ground beef, lots of people do this with great results. The question on adding a binder is going to depend on the fat content of the ground beef you are using and since it sounds like you ground it yourself since you butchered the cows (good job by the way, doesn’t get any fresher/cleaner than that!) you might not know the fat content? If you do and it is less than 20% fat then yes I would add a binder but I would probably add Carrot Fiber instead, it’s about the same price, holds 26 times its weight in water, allergen free and does a better job in my mind.
Let us know if you need anything else!
IcePro last edited by
@jonathon Thanks for the impute, I will use the Soy Protein as binder for now since I do not have the Carrot Fiber at this time (will need to order) and I have 50# of ground beef thawing out for tomorrow.
How do you determine the fat content on meat when processing your self?
@icepro Sounds good, there is nothing wrong with Soy Protein Blend, it should work just fine for you. For how to tell fat content at home there really isn’t a way, it requires specialized equipment. Hope the sticks come out good!
mesbilawson last edited by
I made my first batch of snack sticks yesterday. I used citric acid. I was not able to fit every thing in my smoker and part of the batch had to sit in the fridge overnight. Can I still use them or do I need to trash them.
@mesbilawson Great question, you do not need to trash them at all. Depending on the temperature they have been held at and a few other factors you might get some crumbly edges after smoking them but there is no danger to smoking and eating them and the taste should still be fine!
mesbilawson last edited by
@jonathon Thank you so much. We are very excited to make more snack sticks. We ordered more supplies today!
@mesbilawson That’s awesome, hope your next batch is as good as the first!
jcflorida last edited by
Are the snack sticks made as described “shelf stable”, or do they have to be refrigerated or frozen?
@jcflorida they need to be refrigerated unless you have a way to measure water activity and the pH of your meat. They might be “shelf stable” but without a way to test them it is not worth the danger of spoilage
I had similar complaints trying to get my summer sausage correct. It was “de-fatting” with loose casing, dry, and a terrible texture, although the product tasted pretty good. Jonathan and Austin walked me through the process, but for me the key issue was mixing the meat long enough to get good protein extraction. I bought one of the Walton’s 20 lb. mixers and it works great–easy to turn and reverse; does a great job and was surprisingly well built at the price. It made a huge difference in my summer sausage–came out looking as good as it tastes, moist, and with a great mouth feel.
Try mixing for 8-9 minutes with a meat mixer or twice as long if mixing by hand. When you get the right mix, it emulsifies the water and fat to the meat protein so that the final product stays plump and moist. Smoke your product for 3-4 hours and finish in a water bath poaching to bring it up to 160F internal temp. Chill in an ice water bath when done.
I am getting ready to make a batch of snack sticks and I noticed that you recommend using pork fat with venison. I have always used beef fat in the past and was wondering why you recommend using pork fat. Also, do you soak your collagen casings in water prior to stuffing? Or do you use them just as they are? Thanks
@hharris We recommend pork fat because it has a creaminess to it that other animals fats really don’t match. For example I can cleary tell the difference in texture and taste when I am making pork brats or snack sticks vs when I have used beef. Part of the taste difference is in how the fat coats your mouth it allows it to linger longer. Also, when you are making a product that you would want particle definition on (salami, pepperoni and some bolonga) the back fat from a hog is nice and firm and displays really nicely. Now, some people object to pork for either health or religious reasons so adding beef fat can and very often is substituted!
Don’t rinse, or soak your collagen just take it right out of the package, load it onto your stuffing horn and you are good to go!
Let us know if you have any other questions!
@jonathon Thank you for your quick and detailed response. It is greatly appreciated. Just another reason why Walton’s is the best. For some reason, I thought that you needed to soak the collagen before loading it on the stuffing horn. Thanks for the correction there.
@jonathon If I was going to be short of 25#'s of vension/pork fat, could I get a pork butt or roast and use that until I got my 25#'s of total ground product?
@hharris Yes, you could use pork butts for sure to make up the difference as long as you stay in the 20-30 fat percentage. When doing deer a lot of people do 50/50 deer to pork trimmings or pork butts. It can be a little easier this way and you get more out of your deer!
@jonathon Sounds great. Thank you!
@jonathon Iam trying to make a snack stick or slightly larger “stick” using moose meat and pork meat. I was using 75-25% moose ratio . I want to add pork fat, what would be a good ratio? Would like to use a collagen casing and would like to get the wrinkle look like the ones you buy, can you get this with collagen casings? I recently bought some German salami that had the wrinkle look and it was a drier/ harder type than you usually see so would like to get it like that plus it was delicious.
@revid So the moose is already 75-25 fat to lean? If that is the case you don’t want to add much more pork fat. Generally maybe 5-10% at the most BUT since you want that wrinkled look then a slightly higher fat content might be a good thing. You could do a few things, cook it at a higher temp towards the end, dont put it in an ice bath right away or toss it in a dehydrator after cooking for an hour or so? Just some ideas, I’d be happy to see if anyone had any other ones?
@jonathon thanks but for response. The moose I use is very lean. I make 10# batches using 7 lbs moose,3 # pork and 2# pork fat. Only new to this so that’s what I tried so far. Used smaller collagen casings 19mm but would like to try a little bigger. Just used spices and Prague powder but read people are using other things in addition which I can’t remeber now lol. I can’t get that wrinkle look so wondering and thinking Iam not doing something right.
@revid Most people want a fairly smooth casing with maybe some wrinkling, so I would say you ARE doing something right even if you aren’t trying to do it! I would always recommend you go with a prepackaged seasoning and sure cure (same thing as prague powder) and with snack sticks I like to use a binder like Super Bind or Carrot Fiber. If you really want a wrinkle appearance though I would probably up your water content and NOT use a binder and then cook it at something around 190° during your last stage. If that doesn’t work then toss them in the dehydrator for a few hours as I said.
Your fat content is probably pretty close to spot on! If you have any pics of the moose you get then I am sure the Bragging Board section would love to see them!
revid last edited by revid
@jonathon thanks bud for the info. How much water and binder would you recommend to use for the batch I stated? Is there any different between the two you suggested? Iam using a Bradley smoker and finding it hard to get up to that temp . I usually smoke for an hour then just heat.
@sierrapete What I do is resist the temptation to make the longest snack stick possible. I know its difficult to gauge the amount of casing you slide on the stuffing tube, but I try to go about half way. That way I have 2 -3 feet of snack stick not 4 or 5 feet.
I let those long snack sticks “rest” for about a day and right before I use them, I use a sharp knife and cut them to size then put them in the smoker or oven - providing you have trays to place them on …
@revid Super Bind is a combination of Carrot Fiber and Potato Starch, so you get water holding capacity from Carrot Fiber and the Potato Starch Gels at right about the same temperature that meat starts to really expel water, so it is able to absorb it. Super Bind is a little more expensive but is generally worth it in my mind, especially when using some wild game that you worked so hard to get. Carrot Fiber is a binder that holds 26 times its weight in water so it is very helpful in yield enhancement and giving you a juicier finished product.
If you are using 7 lb of Moose, 2lb pork fat and 3 lb of the regular pork I would use about 14-16 oz of water and 5 oz of Super Bind or 2 oz of Carrot Fiber.
revid last edited by revid
@jonathon thanks bud going to order some of that super bind now! Now anyone have a fav seasoning mix for game???
AdamCA last edited by
@revid You can’t go wrong with the Willie’s, my family and I love it.
I tried making snack sticks for the second time. This time I added citric acid for some tang. The mix never got sticky and when I stuffed the casing it was not smooth and the water seperated and ran out on the counter top. The meat was like little seperated lumps in the casings. After cooking, they tasted good, but the texture was like compressed saw dust.
@mcmillenbr Need some more details. 5 pound batch? How much water are you using? I have never had water run out.
@mcmillenbr I made sticks for the first time yesterday and smoked them today. I used a kit from LEM only because I got it on clearance for 5 bucks. Anyway, it is really salty but they looked good. I didn’t add any water to the batch, I did put a little worshteshire sauce but that’s it with the seasoning. I water bathed them at 155 then rehang them for about 4 hours to sweat and dry. Cut them up and vacuum sealed.
I was making a test batch of 1 lb. I used 1/4 C. ice water.
The cure I used was from Hi-Mountain snack stick kit, 2t. and 1 1/2 t. Citric acid. Besides different seasonings from last time the only difference was adding the citric acid for the tang.
@mcmillenbr 1/4 cup of water or roughly 2 ounces isn’t out of the question for one pound. With a one pound batch you might consider adding 1/3 ounce or roughly 10 grams of dried milk to hold the water better.
Seasoning really does make a difference in your product. I’d encourage you to try the Excalibur Seasoning at waltonsinc.com. The quality is unmatched. Also try adding a meat binder like Excalibur’s Sure Gel as well.
Sticky meat is from protein extraction, which requires protein, salt, and an adequate mixing process.
Inadequate salt content could be partially to blame. Salt is very important in making sausage, especially for protein extraction (another reason I’d use Excalibur Seasoning over over brands because a good seasoning plays an important role).
Mixing time and process is also probably a large portion of your problem.
It is very hard to get an adequate mix by hand mixing, especially on a 1 lb test batch. Using your hands is hard, compared to the mechanical action of a meat mixer, plus with your hands and just 1 lb of meat, you are going to raise the meat temperature very quickly and as the temperature raises, you will hit a point that protein extraction gets extremely difficult.
To get the best end product, I’d switch to using an Excalibur Seasoning, add a meat binder like Sure Gel, and follow the rest of our process in the original post at the top of the page here, use a meat mixer, etc. If you follow the guidelines and use the products from Walton’s, that is the best way to make the best end product and avoid problems.
@austin in my defense I just found the Waltons site and ordered a catalog. I will definitely be placing an order and trying out the products from you guys as soon as I window shop from the catalog. On my list first is high temp cheese, that is actually how I found this.
I actually just found this site while tryimg to figure out what went wrong. I ordered a couple things this morning.
I don’t want to pound you guys too hard! But, I do strongly believe you will get better results with our products and following our recipes, than you would with some of the other brands out there.
Glad to hear you’ve ordered, or will be!
If you ever need more help, definitely let us know, or post a new topic in the Community section, and you’ll get a ton of great input from both Walton’s and our other customers on the site!
brass_and_bacon last edited by
@mcmillenbr I’m in the same boat! Just discovered this awesome site digging for info. Wish I had seen this a few days ago. Made sticks today and I think (from what I’ve learned here) I’m having a protien extraction problem. Seem to have moisture under my casing.
@AdamCA Willie’s??? Where can I get that?
@revid It is our most Popular Snack Stick Seasoning and you can find it here (https://www.waltonsinc.com/willies-snack-stick-seasoning) for 25 lb or 100 lb batches.
@Jonathon would love to order casings and blends but the shipping to get here is brutal!!! Just tried to order a blend and few things$30 order$56.00 shipping!!!
fourgonefishn last edited by
Is there a way to make snack sticks on dehydrator.
@Austin The first time attempting making a snack stick the taste was ok, but I like that tang of Slim Jims. Well after some research I found that I needed citric acid forthat tang. Well, being new at this I went to the grocery store and picked up some citric acid. Big mistake, it was not encapsulated, thats why the meat immediately started clumping.
@Austin you guys talk a lot mixing and the inability to get good protein extraction from hand mixing. A few of us make sticks in 5 pound batches - I am guessing its a function of the size of the stuffer. Anyway, all the mixers look to be 20 pound mixers. Are those any good with only 5 pounds of meat? Or does the meat get lost in the mixer because there is not enough? What mixer do you recommend for a 5 pound batch? Finally, what does a properly mixed batch look like? Thanks.
I’ve really made great strides in stack stick making because of hanging out here.
@Lost-River-Jones I think the 20 lb mixer would be a bit large for that amount. Earlier today I used my kitchenaid bowl mixer with the paddle attachment and did roughly 5 lbs… It worked very well. Jonathon and Austin have posted several good videos that explain the texture you should be looking for. The video below has a description at about the 2:00 minute mark
@fourgonefishn I personally would not do snack sticks on a dehydrator. That doesn’t mean it cannot be done, but I think you will end up with a much better product by using a smoker. If you don’t have a smoker, then I’d use an oven, and dehydrator would be my last choice. A dehydrator just doesn’t have a high enough temperature to completely cook meat snacks. You could start some of the lower temps of the cook cycle with a dehydrator, but finishing in a smoker or oven would be ideal.
@Lost-River-Jones I would do as @Joe-Hell is saying, and use a kitchenaid or planetary mixer for a batch of 5 lb or less. I don’t know of an actual meat mixer than will adequately mix only 5 lb at a time. I have used planetary mixers before though, and they work well.
The look of a properly mixed batch is hard to describe. The feel is easier. It should be extremely sticky, and at the point where it will stretch if you grab a handful and pull it apart. It will also stick so much to your hands/gloves that it is hard to get completely off after picking it up.
pauliedmondsjr last edited by
I’m Mr. Smallbatch. I mostly make things for me.
So in reality, 5 pounds is a big batch for me.
I am a pig, so I do gobble it up. But 5 lbs. is a big amount for an old guy who mostly eats it myself.
So… I use the wife’s KitchenAid, make 1-5 pound batches, stuff with a 5 pound stuffer.
So I only use the stand mixer as my grinder/mixer.
I like Willie’s Snack Sticks Mix, but also like home mixed ingredients, and Hot Italian Sausage Mix for snack sticks.
But the underlying theme for me is I do smaller batches. So I cannot justify to myself having the mass quantity type of equipment for my piddly needs.
Being retired, I tend to have more time than money or volume needs.
@mcmillenbr The acid will denature the proteins as you are extracting them from the meat, it is actually pretty interesting to watch happen. I’m sorry it happened to you but it is a good lesson to learn early on! Remember to add the Encapsulated Citric Acid during the last 60 seconds of mixing and to keep it above 130° for at least 1 hour. That second part isnt usually a problem as it almost always takes over an hour to get from 130-160.
Last night I went through the cleaning procedure and I couldn’t be happier with the ease of the process. Remove grates, scrape the heat shield with a metal spatula and vacuum the ashes and debris underneath. It only took a few minutes and there was an astonishingly small amount of ash. After two weeks of almost daily grilling and going through 20 lbs or more of pellets the total accumulation was around one cup of ash. The pellets burn so efficiently that there is little to no residual.
@Jonathon I have used them many times and I’ve always noticed a distinct cedar character although that depends on the temps you are cooking at. To get the most of it I will soak in water for a bit and cook over pretty high temps…the wood should scorch and smolder a little bit. I’ve had a few catch on fire. lol.
When it came to cooking on the Pit Boss I wanted as low and slow as I could get away with. Due to the the size of the fish I figured the cedar would shield against any hot spots I might have and slow down the cooking process as much as possible. I doubt there was much if any of the cedar that was picked up by the salmon although I didn’t eat much of the side that was resting on the plank. The pellets I was using were apple.
@Joe-Hell Do you often cook on planks? I have tried it a time or two and never noticed a difference. Is it only supposed to be used for heat shielding?