How To Make Homemade Snack Sticks

  • Power User

    @deplorablenc1 I noticed that I can’t start a new topic either. I’m sure Austin and Jonathon are working on it.

  • Admin

    @Joe-Hell @deplorablenc1
    Sorry guys… Something went wrong and I never noticed until now. Looks like the create topic permission was dropped somehow. Things are back, and you can create new topics in the Community section again!

  • Power User

    @Austin Thank you sir!

  • Regular Contributors

    @Austin thank you! I like this board! I wasn’t sure if I was getting kicked out like on Twitter…haha

  • Hey Austin,
    Sorry if this question has come up already and I missed it! I am very new to snack stick/sausage making so this may be a simple question. My question is can you use bacon grease/ pork fat drippings in venison recipes, specifically using it in sausages/snack sticks. My only concern would be the soft fat would liquify fast and make the texture of the sausage weird. Side note: if I can’t use it for sausages can I at least use the lard to bind burgers better? Or should I discard the tub of pork fat I’ve been collecting?

  • Walton's Employee

    @nbian1 At the end you say tub of pork fat, is that fat that has rendered and then solidified? I’ve never done that but there isn’t any huge reason why it wouldnt work, it is not as good as normal pork fat but it is better than nothing for sure! I dont see any issue with using it for either sausage or burgers. I’d probably use a binder in the sausage just to be safe though, but I use a binder any time I am making a cured product though.

  • @Jonathon Thanks for the response. To answer your question, yes. I have saved up a small Tupperware container full of rendered pork fat and bacon drippings, assuming i could use in recipes just as i would the normal pork fat that i would grind up. I will try doing 2 batches: 1 with ground fat and 1 with the rendered fat and see if any difference at all occurs. And i do use a binder, the sure gel binder i believe it is. Thanks again!

  • I can’t offer anything definitive about using rendered pork fat or Bacon drippings VS trimmed pork fat.
    But thinking about your tub, it contains cooked fat. Where the mixtures called for usually mean for raw pork fat for a mixture with meat, which gets cooked as a mixture.
    So if I was to want to substitute rendered grease for actual raw pork fat, I think you might get something less desirable in the end.

    But you could try some small batches, keep good notes on your trial runs about volumes of meat, fat, and rendered grease added, then process exactly the same. (ie: Smoke/cook as a batch to see what happens.)

    You are talking about venturing into new territory, so you would need to do the research and catalog your results.
    (Which like anything in cooking, is a general recipe. Then the success or failure has to do with a lot of other factors.)

    Me? I’m sticking with whole fats and shotgun estimates of fat content. People posting definitive volumes or weights tend to get a sharp stick from me. I’ve never bought a Pork Boston Butt that had exactly the same fat content as the others bought at the same time. Think about it… each one comes from a different animal. (Unless you actually raised the Porker.)
    So saying a piece of meat has 25% fat is subjective. It might actually be 22-28%

    Chewing on all that, I do love my eggs fried in bacon drippings. So I tend to keep a small mason jar of bacon grease on hand.

  • Power User

    @nbian1 In a somewhat related topic, if the rendered fat isn’t the ideal choice for your snack sticks it is an absolute game changer in regards to making tamales. The bacon fat makes for a smoother and creamier texture. Tamales would be excellent stuffed with any number of fresh sausage options. It can be a time consuming process but the reward is well worth it. They are excellent to freeze and reheat quickly in the microwave. We had tamale parties at work every year and then the employees had free meals and snacks for months. It was great! We used all sorts of wild game and everyone loved them.

  • @Joe-Hell
    Hey Joe, Does anybody know where I can get Tamale casings for my stuffer.
    And what the heck sized tube would I need???

    Got your leg… pullin it. 🙄

  • Power User

    @pauliedmondsjr lol…heck, just use a summer sausage casing and make the mother of all tamales! That actually might be a fantastic way to make polenta

  • 😎 👍

  • After you start smoking at 175F, how long does it take to get to 160F internal temp.?

  • Power User

    @doug7777 That really depends on the size of the smoker, the amount and diameter of the product as well as the temperature outdoors. It could be an hour…it could be several.

  • @Joe-Hell I have a Master Built 40 smoker. After we started smoking at 175F, we smoked the sticks for another 6 hours and only got the internal temperature to 142F. Tried several thermometer, all were within a couple degrees

  • Power User

    @doug7777 I also have the MB40 and have had one hell of a time trying to get to temp in a reasonable amount of time. They are well insulated and always hold the desired temp within a few degrees so I’m not sure what the issue is. I have also used multiple thermometers and even an oven thermometer and it always checks out. There is enough humidity that it drips constantly down the front glass panel. My previous MB30’s were much faster. I could generally guess the time/temp off the top of my head and hit my marks within 20 minutes. Something is amiss with the 40.

    …I will often use an additional drip tray. According to the manual you should not be adding foil to any of the racks for a similar purpose as this may reduce proper airflow. Perhaps that is my issue?

  • @weatherbow21 I agree with Jonathon of several points. I have been making snack sticks and summer sausage for years and I have scrapped my fair share of batches. There is certainly a difference between wild game and beef or pork from the store. My advice on this, buy a 10lb “log” of 80/20 from Sam’s. This takes out the grinding and having to mix in the right amount of fat. I have made several successful batches this way. BE PATIENT! The more meat you have in the smoker, the longer it is going to take, however, you will find that your temps will fluctuate less. If you get impatient and crank up the heat, you increase your chances of “fatting out”. Been there, done that.
    You don’t have to put the entire batch in the smoker at one time as long as you are not using citric acid. Put in a few pounds, follow the temp settings in the recipe, and you will likely have good results in 4-5 hours max. I never set my smokers above 170, but I may try since I am seeing 175 a lot in the Walton’s recipes.
    For a binder, I always use soy protein, but the type of binder that you use is based on your preference. I never make a batch without it.
    I also document everything from start to finish. I find this helps me to remember not to leave ingredients out of my recipe. It sucks when you get done stuffing and then find your bag of cheese still sitting on the counter. ☹ I document my temp settings, time of day, internal temp, smoke on, smoke off, etc. and I do this with every batch I make. You can then record your results, flavor, texture, presentation. I often go back through my notes just skimming results to see what worked and what didn’t, especially if I am trying a new recipe. If you are fairly new to sausage making and you are not busting casings during the stuffing process, you might not be packing them tight enough. You definitely do not want to under stuff. You will get unsightly fat deposits between the meat and the casing. Don’t give up!

  • @doug7777 142 degrees is a stalling point where the fat starts to render. I used to get very impatient and start cranking up the heat to get the INT to go up. That usually results in burning all the fat out of the snack sticks. Be patient. The temp will eventually start to rise again. Once it does, it will continue to do so at a steady pace. I have had snack sticks in the smoker for 24 hours or better due to having 25lbs hanging at one time. I have also had 4-5 lbs at a time in the smoker only take 4-5 hours total.

  • Made my 1st batch of Snack Sticks Following this excellent tutorial. I used 100% Wagyu Brisket Trimmings, Dehydrated Jalapeno, & Cheddar Cheese, & Willies Seasoning. Can’t wait to make some more, and try some other flavor combinations.
    Overall for a 1st attempt I was very happy with the final results, but I’ll make a few tweaks to the process next time.

  • Power User

    @PaulGrant Those look really, really good! Well done sir!

  • @PaulGrant
    Man, those look nice! I’d celebrate with some Tito’s.😉

  • @Joe-Hell Thank you!

  • @PapaSop Lol. That’s actually a lamp, but I agree

  • Power User

    @PapaSop I was going to mention a cocktail! Lol

  • @PaulGrant
    What cut of beef did you use? I’ve never tried all beef. Looks like you did a fine grind on those.

  • @PaulGrant
    Oops, just seen the Wagyu.

  • @PapaSop It was a coarse and then a fine grind. I then ran it through a meat mixer to get good protein extraction. added the cheese and mixed in by hand. I trim dozens of Wagyu briskets a year and usually end up with a couple hundred pounds of trimmings that need to be used for something.

  • Walton's Employee

    @PaulGrant You should be happy with those results, they look amazing! Good choice on the Willie’s, I have a batch in the smoker right now of Willie’s with Encapsulated Citric Acid, Cheddar cheese and Sure Gel. It is 70% pheasant and 30% pork fat, I can’t wait to see how they turn out!

  • @Jonathon Thank you! I’m curious to hear the results of the Pheasant sticks

  • Walton's Employee

    @PaulGrant They were actually excellent! I am surprised and extremely pleased with how tasty they were. I used 4 lb of pheasant breast, 1 lb of pork fat that I just trimmed off of a pork butt that I bought this morning. They have a great consistency, texture, snap and taste. I’d highly recommend this to anyone who hunts pheasant and likes making snack sticks!

  • @Austin
    Hey, I’m new here so not even sure if this is the right way to post a question… but I’m looking to make pepperoni snack sticks and the article said it could be done without a casing…I have a jerky shooter with a snack stick attachment but do not have a smoker so would need to do this in the oven. Do you have a step by step recipe on how to accomplish this using venison meat? Thanks!!

  • Admin

    If you want to use an oven, check out this post here for some helpful tips:

    For making a skinless snack stick, you can follow the same beginning process. Same ingredients, grind, mix, etc. When you stuff, you are just using the jerky shooter instead of a stuffer, and no casing. So, you want to stuff the sticks directly onto a cooking rack, or pan, etc. that you can place in the oven. To get the oven to stick to the temperatures you will want to try to hit in the cook cycle, read the article above, but you will also have to experiment a bit with your oven to see how you can make it work best in your case. They key is a low starting temp with a gradual increase. Starting the cooking process with a higher heat will end up with a less than desirable product, but at least still edible as long as you cook to a 160 internal temp.

    We don’t have any other full write-ups using a jerky shooter. Just try to follow the info in the recipe here as closely as you can, or also read through the Meatgistics University article here: and when it comes to cooking, trying to follow the same cook cycle as you would on a smoker, but read the article about cooking in an oven above.

Recent Posts

  • K

    @Jonathon @LaBarca-cf What I take @Jonathon is saying is that you might just want to “pre-grill” your fresh sausages all the way up to full cooked temperature (71 C/160 F) and then bag them. Store them on ice until you are ready to serve them. When you get ready to serve them, throw them, bag and all, into a 160 F/71 C kettle of water for 20 minutes. Your sausages will be serving temperature, smoky and delicious. You will also bypass any chance of serving bad meat. This will work especially well if you have a vacuum bag sealer. If not, slowly work the air out of a ziploc bag and seal that as well as you can.

    let us know if any of this is helpful.

    read more
  • T

    @Jonathon sure did, and so did the other 11 out of 12 people conpared to that half hog i did. They said that both were delishous but like the black bull better. Now with that said the 1/2 hog had alot more hours of smoke time which gave it alot of smoke flavor where the black bull had more seasoning flavor. 1/2 hog was 23 hour cook with approx 6 hours smoke and one 8 lb pork butt only had 2 hours smoke. Took both meats up to 160° then cut off smoke, wrapped in foil and finished cook to 200°. Both were extremely juicy

    read more
  • @Dave-R Interesting. I would have not expected that much difference between the two.

    read more

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