• I recently purchased a new PK-100 smoker as an upgrade to the smaller Masterbuilt unit I had. I have been trying to dial in the settings and times to do a perfect or at least consistent batch of snack sticks. It seems that each time I try a batch of 25lbs they all come out different. I have read many posts about batch size, water content, humidity, air flow and temperature settings but always seem to get the product to the final stage and it stays at around 120-130 degrees and never seems to go any higher but then the sticks seem dry and wrinkled. This is the setup that I have and running now if anyone can please advise what I am doing wrong I would greatly appreciate it.

    Snack Sticks consisted of 15lbs venison/10lbs pork trim ground with dual grind grinder then mixed in hand mixer with 6 cups cold water, willeys snack stick packet, sure cure, sure-gel binder with good protein extraction, then put into electric 30lb stuffer and stuffed into 19mm collagen casings. Placed in meat tub and held overnight.

    Smoker is a PK-100 modified with an Aubre wireless PID Programmable step controller
    Snack stick are in loops hanging over 1/2" aluminum angle.
    Three Hanging Sticks 25lbs of Product.
    Factory PK-100 drip pan on bottom level just above sawdust bowl and Heating Element

    Next morning removed snack sticks from refrigerator and placed into smoker over the hanging sticks. Inserted temp probe in one stick on each row front, middle and back and also temp probe from controller in stick on back row.

    Left them hang in smoker for about 2 hours to come up to room temperature.
    Started my preset program and ran as follows

    110 Degrees for 1 Hour top and bottom vents open
    125 degrees for 1 hour bottom vent 1/2 top vent 1/8
    125 degrees for 1 hour bottom vent 1/2 top vent 1/8 added moist sawdust and water pan
    140 degrees 1 hour continued with smoke/water pan
    155 degrees 2 hours
    170 degrees till internal temp 160.

    Problem is the smoker has been at 170 degrees for over 6 hours now and the sticks are not going any higher then 121 degrees.

    The smoker heater is keeping up and with the programmable controller is within 1 degree of the set temp 170.
    Why won’t these continue to climb to the 160 Degree final temp? Heck I would be happy if they hit 150 degrees as I read if you get to the 150 degree mark and hold them there for 1-2 minutes they will be safe.
    I thought it was an issue with there being too much product in the smoker tho its rated for 25lbs. I did try a half batch and again could never get them to hit the 160 degree mark.

    Any HELP at this point would be great as I’m frustrated to say the least.
    I did contact the smoker manufacturer, tried to add a fan in the bottom and now upgraded to the programmable controller.

  • Power User PK100 Regular Contributors Team Grey

    mfrievalt once at 170* step up temp if it don’t move keep increasing by 5 degrees every 30 minutes til it comes off the stall. Sorry I don’t have an explanation why it’s doing that right of hand. Everything looks good in my opinion. One thing though, did you close all dampers when you stepped up to 170*?

  • Thanks for the quick and accurate response. After all the research I did and followed to the tee I never saw to close all dampers for final step which would make sense. Everything I saw talked about damper settings starting off fully open for drying the partial closed for other steps but nothing about closing for final step. You nailed it! Once I did that, sticks came up to temp quickly!
    I’m trying another batch tomorrow and I’m sure this last step will save me hours of time!

  • Power User PK100 Regular Contributors Team Grey

    mfrievalt the smoke/cook cycle is the exact one I use and given to several people not only here but other processing sites as well. I apologize if you read that somewhere and I accidentally left closing the dampers out of the recipe. I did notice that on another site and included that a few days later.

  • I’m just glad I posted as I’ve never done that before and your response was very quick. Thanks again as I was pulling my hair out trying to figure out what I was doing wrong. Got it now. Excited to do another batch tomorrow . Bet they will get done in half the time.

  • Power User PK100 Regular Contributors Team Grey

    mfrievalt I don’t know about half, but let us know. And pictures of finished product would be awesome

  • Regular Contributors

    good info, and please post pics of the next batch!

  • IMG_6141.jpg

  • Team Blue Big Green Egg Masterbuilt Canning Kamado Joes Regular Contributors Power User

    mfrievalt nice looking pile of sticks.

  • Team Blue

    They looks great. Nice job.

  • Team Orange Power User Canning Masterbuilt Veteran

    mfrievalt Looks like you did a good job, nice looking batch.

  • Sous Vide Canning PK100 Team Blue Power User Regular Contributors Veteran

    mfrievalt - Good Job!

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