Snack sticks lacking seasoning taste



  • Hello all.

    I decided to try to make some venison snack sticks for the first time this past weekend. I mixed in 20% pork fat. I made two separate 10 lb batches one sweet maple bacon seasoning and other Mandarin Teriyaki Seasoning. I followed the conversion chart for seasoning of each. While the sticks are good they seem to be lacking seasoning flavor and picked up too much smoke.

    Any thoughts to help me improved would be greatly appreciated appreciated. Below is my process.

    Used already ground deer burger and ground in required fat. Mixed in two separate batches following conversion chart. Mixed in 1.75 oz carrot fiber and 16 oz water per 10 lbs meat. Thought I had good protein extraction but evidently I should have mixed longer as a had some fat out issues while smoking. Stuffed into 19 mm casings. Electric Smoking followed the schedule as on Walton’s page. 1 hr 125. 1 hr 140. 2 hr 155 then 175 till 160 IT. Added hickory smoke at 140 and 155 temps. Took a lot longer to get up to 160 than I anticipated about 9.5 hours.

    As I said I expected more seasoning flavor as the seasonings tastes great but the sticks seem to be a bland and too smoky. Any help would be greatly appreciated to make my next batch better


  • Team Blue Regular Contributors Green Mountain Grill Masterbuilt

    How much seasoning did you use? Should of been 12.8 oz for the Sweet Maple and 15.2 for the Mandarin Teriyaki. I think 16 oz of water per 10 lbs may be a little high, I’ve always used between 6-8 oz and haven’t had any issues, that could possibly be why it took so long to reach 160. One thing you can try next time is use a bowl of water with some sponges in it to increase the humidity in your smoker and that should speed up the cook. How long and how did you mix the meat? I have the Walton’s 20 lb hand crank mix and if I am making a cured and smoked sausage/snack stick I mix between 8-10 minutes and I don’t have any issues with fat out. I think you have a couple issues combined, probably just a touch too much water and fat out, remember fat equals flavor as it helps to transfer the seasoning for a better/stronger flavor.


  • Team Blue Dry Cured Sausage Admin Walton's Employee Canning

    Herb Manifold Remember that the more water you add the longer the cook is going to be as you have to cook out a decent amount of that. If you are using 20% fat I don’t think you need to go that high, 12 oz should be enough. Also, Sure Gel is the better binder for cured sausage, Carrot Fiber is best in fresh sausage. Depending on how much fat was rendered out that can greatly change the flavors of the sausage as the fat helps coat your mouth and makes the taste linger. It is something that chefs will use to their advantage in restaurants a lot.

    I think if you add a little less water, switch to sure gel and add a hi-temp cheese (in my opinion this should be added to everything at the rate of 1 lb of cheese to 12.5 lb of meet, though Austin will tell you 1 lb to every 10 lb . I think he just wants to sell more cheese though!) and get more protein extraction you will be all good. Your process sounded pretty spot on.

    Also, check out Meatgistics University: Cured Sausage 205 Advanced Thermal Processing where we added automotive sponges to get the relative humidity in our smoker all the way up to 50%. A higher RH will speed up your smoking process…


  • Team Blue

    I would Second What Jonathon Said Although I would Change one Thing. On Any Wild Game I add 5-10% more seasonings. Pork and Beef are Pretty mild in comparison and dont take as much seasoning to bring the flavors through. With that change my Wife would rather eat anything deer in our freezer over the stuff we make at the shop.


  • Team Orange Masterbuilt Big Green Egg Dry Cured Sausage Regular Contributors

    I would have to agree with cabelas90 on that. My experience is that wild game batches improve with just that little bit extra of seasonings. I also up the fat percentage a bit depending on the meat I am mixing it with.


  • Team Blue Dry Cured Sausage Admin Walton's Employee Canning

    Cabelas90 Good point, though I would say if you are adding pork fat to your venison then it doesn’t need the extra 5-10% as much. Or at least that is my experience.


  • Team Blue

    Jonathon Thats Interesting we add 28-30% pure pork fat and We still prefer 5% added. That is Totally subjective to taste though!


  • Team Orange Masterbuilt Big Green Egg Dry Cured Sausage Regular Contributors

    If I use pork trimmings I am usually pretty good with the fat level. Pork butts I usually add another 5%. It is usually how everything looks before I put it through the grinder. And maybe a little bit of experience.


  • Team Blue Dry Cured Sausage Admin Walton's Employee Canning

    Cabelas90 Interesting, we just made stick and summer sausage (well in the last 6 months) and I don’t think we went above 25% total on either and liked both. Now we added cheese and ECA so maybe that is part but I am assuming you are as ell. I am going to try your method as well. Getting a lot of good ideas from meatgistics community this morning!


  • Team Blue

    Jonathon Most of what i made @ 30% fat is fresh. I did however make some sticks that only lasted 2 days and they where gone! Im not a fan of ECA for taste but it has it place. At home I sub Erythorbate and use Sure gel in the Sticks. I prefer the Erythorbate over ECA as I feel it lets more of the other flavors come through! If I remember Ill send a Pack of Brats up with our Sales Rep!


  • Team Orange PK100 Dry Cured Sausage

    Herb Manifold What are you cooking on? If it’s an electric or propane smoker, just cut back the amount of sawdust you add. Maybe even skip that second addition altogether.

    When I’ve done Summer sausage, one bowl full plus about a handful or so gives plenty of smoke flavor, and that’s stuffed in 1.5" casings. With all the additional surface area, snack sticks are going to pick up a lot more smoke.


  • Team Blue Dry Cured Sausage Admin Walton's Employee Canning

    Cabelas90 I will look forward to that! Yeah, erythorbate is good as long as you have a very accurate scale. I’ve used it and liked the product but since I am usually making 10-20 lb batches it can be a pain to make sure it has been mixed in enough.



  • Thank you all for the excellent information. I will give less water a try and some sure gel on my next batch with a little increase in seasoning and see how it turns out.

    You all were very helpful!!!


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