Top 5 Mistakes Made When Making Homemade Snack Sticks!
Learn about the top 5 mistakes made when making homemade snack sticks!
Hey guys, it’s Jon from Meatgistics and today we are going to show you 5 common mistakes that people make when they are making homemade snack sticks. Snacksticks are a great treat and a fun way to try some great seasonings as long as you are making them correctly! No one wants to put in all the time and effort into making a batch of snack sticks just to have an easily avoidable error ruin your batch! Read this article for the top 5 most common issues people run into when making snack sticks! …#3 will shock you!!!
#1 You are not using a Binder! The term Binder can be a bit misleading, yes it’s main function is to help the product bind together but it does much more than that. A more accurate description of what it does is increases your margin of error for a few of these steps! For example, how long you mix and grind your meat are extremely important when making snack sticks because you need the correct amount of protein extraction, if you miss it by a little bit then your texture and taste are going to be off, well you can extend that margin of error by adding a low cost binder like carrot fiber! That is not all binders do of course, they also give you more room for error in the smokehouse, make stuffing easier and they increase your final yield, meaning more snack sticks for the family to enjoy! For a few dollars a package adding a binder is a really great way to make sure you are making a better product. Have you ever had your casing separate from your meat during the cooking process? That is probably because you did not get enough protein extraction during the mixing phase and a binder can help with that!
# 2 You are not using Smoked Meat Stabilizer with wild game. Snack sticks can be made out of almost any meatblock but you can’t treat an all beef or pork snack stick the same as one you are making out of a deer you got last weekend! If you are using any type of wild game like venison, elk, moose, etc. you need to be using smoked meat stabilizer. Smoked Meat Stabilizer is a cure accelerator that helps kill many common bacteria found in meat processing but especially in wild game! This makes your product safer and also helps to preserve the smoked flavor after packaging.
# 3 Your meat Block is too Lean! if you are making homemade snack sticks you want a fat percentage of 20% or more. The fat acts as a vehicle for the seasoning and coats your mouth and tongue with the taste allowing you to get more of the flavor and allowing it to linger longer. Fat also gives the snack stick a more pleasing texture and prevents it from drying up. Fat gets demonized by a lot of people because they associate the fat we eat with the fat on our bodies. Now, I am not saying you should switch to an all bacon and sausage diet but fat is essential to keeping our bodies running properly and it is going to give you a better all around product.
# 4 You are cooking your snack sticks too quickly. If you start cooking at a higher temperature, you risk creating a tough and dry exterior and casing, sometimes known as case hardening. This can cause an issue because once the outside of the stick has cooked it will no longer efficiently transfer heat to the center of the stick, leaving you with an overdone exterior and an under-cooked interior. 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 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. For more information on this check out our Snack Stick Tutorial which will walk you through the process step by step!
# 5 You are either over or under stuffing your casings. If you have ever had your casings pop or burst during the cooking process there is a good chance you are overstuffing your casings. If you normally end up with an extremely wrinkly product then their is a good chance you are understuffing your casings. With anything you are going to link like sausages it is better to understuff than to overstuff as you can always twist them a few more times to tighten them up, but you can not do that with a snack stick. It will take some practice but finding the correct stuffing proportions will help you with the appearance of your product and the ease of cooking.
So there are 5 very common mistakes people make when making snack sticks! If you have questions on what might be causing a specific problem for you leave us a comment and we will get back to you, or you can always follow me on here and send me a private chat if you’d prefer to not post your question so everyone can see it!
phoffman last edited by
@jonathon Is there a reason that a finished meat stick would have a slightly gritty texture?
Thanks for any insight you may have.
@phoffman Without more information the only thing I can think of is the seasoning (or another additive) did not mix in well enough with the meat, fat and water and some of it did not dissolve. That could be what you are feeling when you bite into it?
What seasoning did you use? Were there any additives like Citric Acid or a binder? What casings did you use? How much water did you add and how much protein extraction did you get? Give me as much information as possible on your process and I will see if I can pinpoint any other possible issues!
A close up picture of the snack stick diameter might be helpful as well.
phoffman last edited by
@jonathon Thanks for the quick response. I am making my own seasoning and there are some flavors used in it as well. The composition of 1 lb is roughly:
70% Beef (80/20)
15% Pork (70/30)
Excalibur Sure Gel (used at recommended level)
Prague powder (used at recommended level)
4% seasoning and flavor
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
These ingredients were mixed in a stand mixer for 10 minutes and Encapsulated Citric added at the last second of mixing
They were stuffed into Walton’s 16mm smoked collagen casings
Thanks again for any insight you may have!
@phoffman Thanks for the information. If we leave out the possibility of one of your ingredients in your home mix being the culprit then the most likely issue is the Worcestershire Sauce. It can denature the meat quickly which could be the cause of your issue. On your next batch I would say leave that out and see if it fixes it! Let us know if we can be of any further assistance.
I have the a Himalayan Salt Slab, but really didn’t know how to prep before cooking or clean it, so I have only used it once.
Thanks for the education on how to use my salt block, great video.
I picked up brisket at the Kroger Chain grocery already for $1.99 a lb. on sale. Walmart has some very nice full brisket with the round for $3.94 a lb. I have checked several butcher shops and they normally stock packer 6 full briskets with the round on it to a box @ $4.99 to $5.99 per pound or most butcher shops would sell you a individual brisket. You did not have to buy a whole case.
It’s a vinegar, oil, and spice marinade, very popular in upstate NY. Usually chicken cubed in 1"ish pieces and marinaded for a few days, grilled on kabob skewers, and served on a sausage roll. We do halves of game birds, marinade in 2gallon zip locks then indirect grill. Keep some of the marinade to baste with since wild birds are very lean.
Meat Hacks: Cooking on a Himalayan Salt Slab
Learn about cooking steak on a Himalayan Salt Slab with Walton's and Meatgistics. Watch the video, read the guide, and then post your questions or comments below.Meat Hacks
Cooking on a Himalayan Salt Slab
Salt is a key ingredient in almost any meat recipe. It improves the general flavor of almost any meat and has many other benefits as well. What happens when instead of putting salt on your steak you put steak on your salt? Himalayan Salt Blocks Like this one from Cameron’s have been increasing in popularity as a cooking and grilling surface. The Camerons Himalayan Salt slab is 8" x 8" and is 1.5 inches thick.
It appears to offer a few advantages over traditional methods like cooking on grill grates or cast iron. Since it is a solid slab of natural Himalayan salt it will season your meat as you cook it, so you don’t need to add any rubs or seasonings to your steak, if you don’t want to. This can help cut down on your sodium intake as even though you are cooking on a salt slab and will get some salt into your food the transfer will be less than a fully seasoned steak. Himalayan Salt also has a stronger flavor than regular salt so you don’t need as much to get the same flavor. Aside from the flavor Himalayan salt also contains micro nutrients that are not present in regular table salt.
These Salt Slabs are very good at heat retention, once you get them up to heat they will maintain a nice even heat and are suitable for cooking at extreme temperatures. These Himalayan Salt Slabs have a melting point of over 1,400 degrees so they can be used for almost any application. The surface is not very porous and the salt helps dry out and kill bacteria so it is a very hygenic cooking surface.
To get this ready to cook on we need to heat it in stages. Camerons recommends to preheat this slowly, so we will do 15 minutes on low, 15 on medium and 15 on high. This will work well because I like to give my steaks 45 minutes to come to room temperature before cooking them.
We are cooking a ribeye today, so we want to get this salt block up to around 500°, we are going to check that with the Laser Infrared Thermometer but if you want to know when you Slab is properly pre heated you can sprinkle some water on it and it should immediately sizzle. I am going to cook the steak for 3-4 minutes a side, as I want to get this steak to around 130°. When using a Himalayan Salt Slab it is recommended that you use a metal spatula or tongs, no plastic.
You could also cook vegetables or seafood directly on this but steak was the first thing I wanted to try.
So we have a Medium Rare Ribeye with a beautiful crust on it, that is partly because the salt from the block helped draw out the moisture from the outside of the meat and it crisped up beautifully.
To clean this you will need to let it cool first, so turn off your grill and leave it in there for about an hour or until it is cool to the touch. Then wipe it down with a moist towel or sponge until all the food particles are gone. Do not use soap on this or place it directly under running water or soak it.
All in all the Camerons Himalayan Salt Grilling Slab is a great tool to use in your kitchen or grill for when you want to try something different or impress your dinner guests. It cooked a very tasty steak and was a lot easier to use than I initially thought it would be. As a bonus it can be used as a serving dish and it looks great when left out on a counter or on a shelf.Subscribe to WaltonsTV
Make sure you subscribe to WaltonsTV and remember to tap the bell next to the subscribed button to get notified about all new videos, plus like and comment on this video, and visit waltonsinc.com and meatgistics.com to find Everything But The Meat!Subscribe to Meatgistics
Easily subscribe to any category or topic on the Meatgistics community site by clicking the green “Subscribe” button to get an email each time a new post is made!Shop waltonsinc.com for Himalayan Salt Slab Shop waltonsinc.com for Himalayan Salt Slab Holder and Brush Subscribe to WaltonsTV on YouTube Broil King Signet 320 Broil King Baron 420
I often thought about both, grinding and making my own burgers from brisket and sou vide, now for sure I going for it and with the brisket burgers I will add the bone morrow, man that has to be so good!
Hi I’m looking for a meat department manager with experience at a chain retail supermarket near NYC area. I work for my family’s butcher shop with multiple locations. I’m looking to change up our operations and potentially even pay consulting fees too.