Snack Sticks are very salty
I had purchased the “Willie’s Snack Stick” spice mix from you, and just finished casing a 25lb batch of snack sticks. Being that I bought the mix and everything was measured, I made the mistake of not tasting before casing…
I am going to smoke them tomorrow, but I cooked one up in the oven to try it and it is very salty… is there any way at this point to reduce the salt taste?
Since it is already in casings, there is not a lot you can do from here. However, I don’t have a good explanation why, but it is typical to have a stronger flavor, either spiciness or saltiness, when quickly cooking a meat product like this in the oven or pan frying. I would expect the final flavor profile after you actually smoke them to be more mild and less salty. I can’t give a scientific explanation why it does this, but I would bet after you smoke them, you’ll be ok with how the flavor turns out.
If you are still concerned about the flavor and saltiness, the only other things I can think of that could help is to use a bit heavier of a smoke on the snack sticks. A stronger smoke flavor might help mask some of the other flavors.
Thanks Austin… This is what I am hoping for!!! Aside from that the flavor of the mix is excellent, and they are going to make great Christmas presents!!!
@raider2119 What an amazing Christmas present that would be! You have some lucky friends and family!
Jonathon; Let’s hope… LOL, used the propane smoker and it’s a fairly warm day today so I have been fighting with it all day to try to keep the temp down… We are going on to hour 4 and the smoker is at 162, the snack sticks seem to have stalled at 118…
@raider2119 If they have been in there for 4 hours they are done picking up smoke, time to let them cook, let your smoker get up about another 10 degrees, somewhere around 175°. That should help with the stall and get you there quicker. Do you have a different way to measure the smokehouse temp aside from the thermometer that is attached to the outside? I might question that it is at 160° if you are still at 118° after 4 hours.
If you haven’t already add a pan of water to the inside as well. You won’t be able to control the moisture amount but it will still help a little at this point!
Good luck and I will keep an eye on the board if you have any other issues or questions!
You always can take them out of the smokehouse (4 hours is the max smoke-Jonathon is right there) and put them in a turkey fryer or large pot, simmer them, don’t boil them until they reach 155F, they will keep cooking for a while even if you ice bath them. I do my sticks either way I really don’t have a preference taste wise. The smoke doesn’t wash off, it’s inside the meat by that point. Simmering them will also keep some of the moisture inside the sticks. I keep the pot around 180F so the sticks don’t blow out. If you keep them in the smoker use the water pan for sure or they will dry out a lot.
I am using a Maverick 2 probe digital thermometer… The ambient temp probe is the one that came with the unit… the IT probe is a brand new replacement I just got from them… I have not checked either for accuracy… but, I replaced the thermometer on the front of the smoker with an adjustable that has seemed to be pretty accurate…
Smoker is now at 172, IT=129… water has been in there from the start… but they are starting to dry… if it does not finish in the next half hour or so I’ll throw them in the sous vide to finish…
@raider2119 I have no experience with finishing off snack sticks in a Sous Vide cooker but other than the temp drop when you transfer them I can’t see any issue with that. My first thought though is you have come up 11 degrees (IT) in the past 40 minutes, so unless you see some case hardening or stall again finish them off in the smoker. I assume dampers are closed at this point?
Just an FYI, everybody that received snack sticks for Christmas last year loved them… I just ordered another batch of Willie’s Snack Stick spice blend to do it again this year!
@jonathon yep, shorter horn makes sense. I am mech. engineer and there are two big things wrong here: the 9.5mm (3/8") stuffer tube and its length. Most of the problem, probably, ALL could be solved by using the diameter stuffer tube for 16 mm casings. There is NO advantage to going smaller, just disadvantages. Pressure drop(in this case back pressure on the cylinder / piston goes up exponentially as diameter is reduced.
@jonathon It looks to me you may have missed a small point in the original post. He said he was using 16mm casings but a 3/8" stuffer tube. 3/8" is VERY small-- only 9.5 mm! He is trying to punch it through a pinhole darn near.
So a couple things for you here. First off you really just dont have the proper equipment to stuff 16mm casings, but you can try a couple things. Spray all your equipment with a good food grade lubricant. Inside the stuffing horn and inside the meat cylinder so meat can flow as best as possible. Second get a 1/2 inch stuffing horn. Its going to be a bit of a pain bit you will have to manually roll your 16mm casings onto your 1/2 inch stuffing horn just like you would fresh casings. Stuffing through a 1/2 inch horn is going to be eaiser than 3/8. Third as another option is to mix a small amount of vegitable oil into your meat to add some lubrication without effecting flavor. These are just a few options to try with your equipment. Let us know how it goes!
Specialty Sausage 102: Making Lebanon Bologna
Attend this entry-level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!What Is Lebanon Bologna?
Lebanon Bologna was originally made by the Pennsylvania Dutch in the 1800’s. Traditionally it is a dark bologna, similar to salami in appearance and texture and it has a tangy flavor. It is often eaten as cold cuts and it can be slow cured and cold smoked or smoked using more modern methods. We are going to be making a version today that will not be slow cured or cold smoked as that makes it more difficult for the average home user.Meat Block
If you can you should cut the fat off of your pork and grind your pork fat separately through a 3/16th plate twice. Then grind your beef and lean pork through a 3/8 plate and then through a 1/8 plate. Keep ground pork fat separate. Making sure EVERYTHING but especially your pork fat is cold before you grind it is very important here for particle definition.Meat Mixing
Place lean meat in the mixer. While mixing add Lebanon Bologna seasoning, Sure Cure and Ice Cold Water. Mix for 5 minutes. Add ground fat trim, sodium erythorbate and mix for 3 more minutes. Lastly, if you are using Encapsulated Citric Acid add it during the last 60 seconds of mixing. If you add the Encapsulated Citric Acid too soon you could break the encapsulation and release the acid into the meat too soon.Sausage Stuffing
Stuff your meat into fibrous casings that have been soaked for at least an hour in water that is 80 - 100° so the casings are pliable. These casings are tough and durable so don’t worry about blowouts just stuff them fully but make sure to leave enough room to get a hog ring on the open end. When stuffing larger diameter casings it is important to choose the largest of the stuffing tubes that your casing will fit over and make sure you are gripping it nice and tight, we want these casings packed nice and solid.Note
You can also use Fibrous or Non-Edible Collagen casings, we chose this as it had the capacity we wanted and it presented the product well.Thermal Processing & Smoking
To smoke start them out with 125 for 1 hour, then 140 for 1 hour then 165 for an hour and finally at 180 until the internal temperature reaches 155°.Cooling
Place it in an ice bath or shower for 20 minutes to bring the temperature back down and then hold at room temperature for 2 hours and then move to a cooler or freezer before vacuum packing. I let this sit in a refrigerator overnight before slicing to make sure the temperature was brought all the way down.Wrap up
All in all, this is very similar to making a salami or even a summer sausage, the main differences are separating out the pork fat from your lean and using the correct ratio, seasoning, and casings. The fried Bologna sandwiches were very good!Additional Tips Removing the fat cap before you break down your pork butt is easier sometimes, it all depends on how it looks before you start cutting into it. I put very little smoke on this as I didn’t want that to dominate the taste so I filled my smoke tray about 1/4 of the way full. I am glad I did it this way as it allowed for the Lebanon taste to come through more. Other Notes
I added X-Tra Hot Red Pepper to this to help give it a nice zip and to cut some of the sweetness. I used it at a ratio of 3 oz per 100 lb of meat and since I was doing 10 lb that means I used .3 of an oz.Watch WaltonsTV: Specialty Sausage 102: Making Lebanon Bologna Shop waltonsinc.com for Cured Sausage Seasoning Shop waltonsinc.com for Meat Grinders Shop waltonsinc.com for High-Temp Cheese
Specialty Sausage 101: What is Specialty Sausage?
Attend this entry level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!What is Specialty Sausage?
As much as you might love bratwurst, summer sausages and snack sticks sometimes you want a sausage that is a bit more unique. It might be a recipe you tried once in another country, one that your grandparents used to make or something just sounds really exotic like blood sausage. Recipes and knowledge of how to make these types of sausage are often passed down from generation to generation.
For whatever reason, these types of sausages have fallen out of favor and are sadly relegated to the specialty stores of the home processor. Maybe opinions have changed on the type of meat used, the way it is cooked or the seasoning or spices used in the original seasoning. The good thing about this is it gives you the opportunity to “rediscover” plenty of types of amazing sausages.Types of Meat Required
Sourcing the meat might be a little harder for this than a normal sausage but a quality butcher should easily be able to get you pork liver, trim and even pork blood that you will need to make some of these. Others like Lebanon bologna and some landjaeger only require a mix of pork and beef and a special seasoning.Casings
Many specialty sausages will also require a special or a specific casing to be used. Braunschweiger has a special plastic casing specifically for the production of that product and others like landjaegar simply require that you use a natural casing like hog or sheep intestine.Smoking
Smoking and cooking will also be different with a lot of these sausages, a normal smoke schedule might not work for your needs on these products. We will be making Landjaegr, Lebanon Bologna and Blood Sausage in the 10’s and then go for some even more out there products in the advanced classesShop waltonsinc.com for Jerky Seasonings Shop waltonsinc.com for Vertical Smokers Shop waltonsinc.com for Weston Dehydrator 160L Pro Series
Weekly Blog Post - PreThanksgiving & Specialty Sausage
Find out what's going on at Walton's and Meatgistics this week. We will have a loose schedule for soon to be released videos, what we are working on long-term and maybe a few quick tips and tricks that are on our mind!What Videos are being released soon?
We just released our Pre Thanksgiving Sales that will be good through Friday so you should absolutely check that out. You will also see that we have reduced shipping on orders over $5 all week.
ThanksBlackMonday - This is the “fun” video that we do every year! This year we split it into thirds so the first round of sales will be good from 11/19-11/26, the second round starts on Black Friday (11/22) and ends on Cyber Monday and the third round is Cyber Monday only!
Specialty Sausage 101 & 102 - In these two videos we will be going over specialty sausage as a category and then showing you detailed steps on making Lebanon Bologna. Ours came out amazing so if you are planning on making any this year watch the video for some tips on how to make a delicious Lebanon Bologna!What Projects are we looking ahead at?
Specialty Sausage 103: Landjaeger - We made Landjaeger or a version of it at least! It came out tasting excellent but the appearance wasn’t exactly what we were going for, for more details keep an eye out for this video in the next few weeks.
Specialty Sausage 104: Blood Sausage - We haven’t made this year and it is going to have to wait until at least after Thanksgiving but hopefully we will get to it soon! We are excited about this as it’s a true odd-ball in America and we want to see if we can make some improvements to it!What’s on our Mind?
It is almost Thanksgiving time and I’m going home for the first time in years! Like everyone else, I am excited to see family and friends and eat delicious food! Don’t forget to take a few minutes this Thanksgiving to really concentrate on what you are thankful for. For me, a huge thing I am thankful for is this job, I really love what I do here! I mean, who wouldn’t love talking, filming and answering questions about meat processing all day!New Products
The Talsa K50 Bowl Chopper and the Talsa K80 Bowl Chopper are two brand new choppers from Talsa. These are large commercial pieces of equipment that allow you to do everything from a rough chop to an emulsification of your meat products. Either of these machines will work on everything from pulled pork to hot dogs!