• I am smoking some snack sticks (habanero bbq seasoning) and am planning on freezing after cooling off with ice bath and drying. These meat sticks are in collagen casings. This is the first time I have made snack sticks and any advice on preparing for freezing would be appreciated.

  • I forgot to mention, these are being cooked on a Green Mountain Grill pellet smoker.

  • Regular Contributors

    Back when I still made snack sticks in collagen casings, I found that after vacuum sealing, freezing, and then defrosting later, the casings would tend to separate from the meat.
    Once the casing separate, they tend to get stuck in your teeth or to the roof of your mouth. They did for me anyway.
    For me, stuffing in sheep casings eliminated that problem.
    Whether there is another way to address the issue, I do not know.
    I also don’t know if there have been any advancements in collagen casings since I gave up on them 14 years ago.

  • Team Orange Bowl Choppers

    Rutinbuck I have made those same sticks several times. I always air dry at room temperature after the ice bath for at least an hour. I next put them in a refrigerator overnight, because by then i either want to go to bed or do something else. When i am ready to freeze, I always wipe any moisture off the sticks before vac sealing. I have never experienced any quality issues with the above process. I have left them in my refrigerator for up to a week before freezing in the past, and they have turned out great.

  • Team Orange Bowl Choppers

    Rutinbuck To be clear, i use 19mm smoked callogen casings if you are concerned how they hold up to the water bath, cooling/freezing etc.

  • Big Green Egg Team Blue Regular Contributors Cast Iron Power User

    Rutinbuck we made Willies snack sticks for the first time this year. We smoked them for about 2.5 hours in a Bradley smoker then I moved them to the oven to finish. Once pulled from the oven and cooled to stop the cooking process we let them sit out for an hour. Then as IVERYAN said I wiped excess moisture off them cut to length to vacuum pack and freeze.

    We used collagen 19mm casings. processhead we didn’t have any shrink down and they don’t stick in my teeth or the roof of my mouth. Maybe they have gotten better since you last used them. It was our first time and they turned out great.

  • Team Orange Bowl Choppers

    processhead The Devro brand that Waltons sells seem to hold up to a lot of abuse. I have been finishing my sticks in hot water, then an ice bath, next room temp, then refrigerating, then freezing, finally thawing back out to eat. There really shouldn’t be anything left of them at that point, but i haven’t experienced any issues.

  • Team Orange Bowl Choppers

    Screenshot_20210414-141027_Gallery.jpg undefined
    These have been through the above described abuse.

  • Team Orange Power User Masterbuilt

    First of all that is a great seasoning.
    I now only smoke them until they hit 135 deg IT. Then sous vide to get to 160. Ice bath then hang for at least an hour or longer. Very similar to what IVERYAN @NDMike do.

    I also use 19mm smoked collagen casings. I did have a problem with the casing separating from the meat but found the answer. At least in my case. Inferior casings. Was using the ones that come in those kits you buy or sold by the same company. Once I tried the one’s from Walton’s I’ve never had an issue. Apparently there are some quality issues out there.

    Good luck!

  • When I make the sticks with Walton casing, after the ice bath to get the temperature going down, I place them on a towel on a table and Hope I Can remove the casing before they go into the fridge for further cooling before bagging. The Grandsons & dad like em better with out the tougher skin & snap. We’re all doing it right, just different from each other.

  • Team Orange Power User Canning Masterbuilt

    Iveryan makes a very good point of getting them as dry as possible before freezing.

  • Thanks y’all for the info, it’s interesting how everyone has a slightly different way to get the same thing done. I smoked mine in my green mountain grill starting with 150 and gradually increased to 180. Put them into an ice bath for 10-15 minutes. Took them out to dry. The twisted ends were still wet so I snipped them off. I will make sure all moisture is off before vacuum sealing and freezing. They taste great!

  • I have switch to waltons 21mm casings. start mine in el smoker at 140 1hr, 150 2hr 160 2hr 170 2 hr 180 until internal of 160 is reached. Bring in and hang at room temp for 2 - 3 hrs. Cut and vacuum seal. I do not water bath my sticks. For me no bath makes my casings tighten up on sticks. It got rid of my loose casings alone with smoking low and slow. Each to has own this just works for my stick eaters.

  • Team Blue

    I made a batch of Willies along with Gigawatt with Ghost Pepper cheese in collagen casings. After they were smoked to 135 I sous vide them directly in 170 degree water. They were then pleaded in a ice bath, dried off and hung at room temp for a few hrs. to bloom. I then cut them to size and placed them on wired racks in the fridge for a few days to dry out. After they dried to my liking I froze them and then vac sealed them. I like to freeze my snack sticks/sausage prior the vac sealing so they maintain their shape. When I take a package out of the freezer to eat I just put them in the fridge to thaw out. They may have a little moisture but so far they have maintained their snap and the the casings have not separated.

  • Big Green Egg Team Blue Regular Contributors Cast Iron Power User

    John Belvedere that sounds like a great method to do snack sticks!

  • Sous Vide Canning PK100 Team Blue Power User

    I freeze mine all the time. Never have an issue.

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