Snack stick fail


  • I am by no means experienced, but I have made several batches of snack sticks successfully. This weekend, However, I had a major failure. Some of The casings snapped while smoking and on others the fat and liquid separated and ran out the cut ends. The batch was about 4 lbs ground beef 80/20 1 pound ground venison and about 6 pounds of pork loin. I added about a pound of pork fat since loin was fairly lean. No blow out while stuffing so I don’t think were too tight. 1 hour at 140 and 1.5 hours at 150 then 1.5 at 175-180 in a cookshack electric smoker. Any thoughts on the problem - too hot too fast?
    E4C49FDA-B18D-4914-90A6-179F054A1E77.jpeg

  • Canning

    What type of casing did you use and how much liquid was added it looks like it was caused by to much liquid it expanded to fast


  • I had that happen with summer sausage when i didn’t let it warm up enough before putting on smoker

  • Power User

    coladad yes i would say too high of temp and fast cook schedule. Not sure how well you can regulate temp on the cookshack. My schedule is 100° for 1 hour with dampers wide open (drying cycle) then 125° for 5 hours with smoke, dampers 1/8 open on top and 3/4 open on bottom, then 170° dampers closed til IT is 156°. Ice bath right away. Waltons schedule is good too ive done it both ways and end with the same results. Go into the snack stick university section and watch video for detailed smoke schedule


  • I think you just got them too hot too quickly.

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

    coladad I’d think the fact that it fatted out could mean that it was not mixed enough, but the fact that the casings split also indicates too hot too quick. I know a lot of smokers can’t get below 150 so playing with the dampers or propping the lid.

    However, the more I look at the casings the more I am thinking your fat rendered out of the meat and it caused your casings to fail. That one that is 5 down from the top the casing looks like it was separated from the meat by fat and then cooked in it. Did you use a binder? I’d say add sure gel and, mix longer and then try to find a way to start out at a lower temp.

  • Team Blue

    twilliams I use a cookshack at the shop and run it at its lowest temp of 130 for and hour followed by 150 for an hour then up to 180 which often will have the stick[censored]ting 160 in what seems like minutes. I’ve yet to have fat out or other issues. I don’t recommend this schedule for anyone. I think I’m just getting lucky. Lol


  • Jonathon the meat was just about mush when I started mixing, having run it through the grinder 3 times, once to grind the individual meats and then a couple more times to mix. I then hand mixed for several minutes. I did not use a a binder, but I will add some sure gel next time. I did not add much water, perhaps a little less than a cup. I did three batches of about 4 pounds each with different seasonings, after the grinding, so the batches were mixed separately. The Cookshack is small, so the last batch was cooked in the oven, and did not have the same issues, although I did start it lower and did not raise the oven temp above 170 on convection bake. I thought the protein extraction was pretty good, but its clear the fat separated as it leaked out. I am thinking the big jump was the big mistake.


  • smoke king – thank you. 17 mm collagen casings. Very little liquid added, perhaps less than a cup.


  • twilliams I typically follow the Walton’s schedule even if I can start as low as they recommend. I guess I got cocky watching some other folks who use higher temps faster.


  • johnrufi2 Thank youj


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

    coladad Okay, so batch in the oven didn’t have the same issue, so assuming all other things are equal I’ve got to think that there was something in that which caused the casings to burst. I wonder if the extra pressure of the hanging did it? It is also possible that the casings were old or had an issue of some sort. Clearly, it doesn’t sound like mixing was the issue.

    I keep zooming in on the ones that burst and the casings look like even had they not burst they would have separated from the meat. Next time you order make sure to check out podcast posts to see if we have active coupons!

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