The Importance of Protein Extraction in Snack Sticks


  • Walton's Employee

    Meat Hacks: The Importance of Protein Extraction.

    Learn about the importance of protein extraction when making a snack stick or other cured sausage with Walton's and Meatgistics. Watch the video, read the guide, and then post your questions or comments below.

    Meat Hacks

    Why is mixing correctly so important for snack sticks?
    One of the most common issues home processors have with snack sticks and cured sausages is not getting enough protein extraction during mixing. Protein extraction allows the seasoning, water, meat and the fat to all bind together by breaking down the protein in the meat. If you do not have a mixer and are relying on your hands to not only mix the seasoning with the meat but also get enough protein extraction you are going to have a difficult time.

    You will know when you have enough protein extraction when the meat is sticky or tacky to the point where when I pull it apart, the meat stretches as it is already binding together, if it pulls apart cleanly you are going to have to keep mixing. There is no real set time for how long to mix for, there are too many variables including the age, type and living conditions of the animal you are processing. Salt also plays a key role in protein extraction, this is one of many good reasons to use Excalibur’s seasonings, they have ensured that each mix has the correct amount of salt, vs some random recipe you found online.

    Check out the video for some tips on when you have enough protein extraction and for common issues that not getting enough protein extraction can cause.

    If you have an issue with your snack sticks that you would like us some help in figuring out leave a detailed post in our community section and we will try to recreate your issue and give you some tips to fix it!

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    Smoked Collagen

    17mm Smoked Collagen for Snack Sticks

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  • M

    In the past while making summer sausage I have used ground beef 80/20 about 8 pounds and about 4 pounds mixed together… what mixture do you use for summer sausage

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  • @KSHusker First, yes they should be safe to eat. You cooked them to 160° which will kill anything harmful. Now, obviously use common sense and your senses, if it smells bad don’t eat it!

    The first thing to know is if you used sure cure (or another version) or not? From the sounds of it, you did but I just want to make sure we are looking at all possibilities. Were the butts untrimmed? If they had a nice fat cap on them then you should have been okay, I still like to use a little more fat than that but you should have been in the realm. How did you mix it, was it by hand? If you mixed for 30 minutes in a meat mixer that is a long time to be mixing it (I don’t think this was your issue, just pointing it out). Starting at 200 is a little high but it also sounds like it came down to 180° pretty quickly but this would be my thought on why the casing stuck, cooking too high can cause this.

    For the color, the only thing I can think of (if you used a cure) is that it looks pinker around the edges because you got a nice smoke ring around it? How deep does the nice pink color go and what type of casing did you use? With wild game, I always use some sort of cure accelerator, either Encapsulated Citric Acid, Smoked Meat Stabilizer or something, it helps burn the color more and then you can skip holding it overnight and go right from stuffing to the smokehouse.

    Anyone else have thoughts?

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