Wild Turkey Breast Snack Sticks

  • Has anyone tried using Wild Turkey Breast in Snack Sticks? I am going to try a batch using the Buffalo Bleu seasoning. Trying to decide how much pork to add, amount of water and binder.

  • Walton's Employee

    @dahattok I’ve never used Wild Turkey breast but store bought turkey breast is fairly low in fat content and like any wild animal the fat content is going to be far lower with your Turkey. Myfitness pal lists Wild Turkey at 5 grams of fat per lb of Wild Turkey Breast, so for our purposes we are basically at 0. I would add at least a 50/50 ratio of either ground pork or if you can find it 20-25% of pure pork fat. If you don’t get up to that fat content then you are going to have binding and texture issues.

    Either way I would absolutely add carrot fiber or Sure Gel and I would seriously consider adding Cold Phosphate. The cold phosphate increases the water holding capacity of the meat by changing its ionic strength. I’ve used this the last two times I have made poultry brats and I have been very pleased with the results.

  • Thanks for the information Jonathon. If I make a 12.5 lb batch how much Sure Gel, Cold Phosphate and water would you add? Do you mix the Cold Phosphate with the water like the Sure Gel?

  • Walton's Employee

    @dahattok I wouldn’t increase the percentage of either of the ingredients so for a 12.5 lb batch I would add 3 oz of Sure Gel and 1 oz of cold phosphate. I wouldn’t add either the cold phosphate or the sure gel into the water first, what I would do is add them both to the meat and then add the water. Really either way is okay but adding the Sure Gel and the Cold Phosphate to the meat in the mixer and then adding the water to that has given me the best results in the past.

    As for how much water to add there are a few things to consider. If you are using a smaller diameter casing then I would add the full 1 qt of water for a 12.5 lb batch, this is going to make it easy to stuff and with the sure gel and the cold phosphate very little of it will be left over and what is left over should just cook out during the smoking process. If you are using a larger diameter (21mm and above) you don’t need to add the full qt though I still would just to make it easy.

    Now, since you are using Cold Phosphate in a cured product you can not use Encapsulated Citric Acid as one raises the pH and the other lowers it. That means you will need to hold the product overnight to allow the cure to work. This should be done after the stuffing process but before smoking them.

    Let me know if you have any other questions!

  • I will be using one of your 19 mm casings so I will go with the quart of water to help the stuffing process. I am glad you mentioned not using the Encapsulated Citric Acid as I probably would have. Is 8 or 12 hours overnight enough time for the cure to work? I am also considering one of your stuffers too. I only do this a few times a year which hand stuffer would you recommend primarily for snack sticks? Or should I just spend the money and go with your 26 pound electric model.

  • Walton's Employee

    @dahattok Glad I said that then as it wouldn’t have given you a well cured product! In the future you could use sodium erythorbate as a cure accelerator if you don’t want to hold it overnight. If you let it sit for 12 hours that will be enough, 8 is a little on the low side in my opinion. So if you can, let it sit the full 12. As for which stuffer to buy if you are doing snack sticks then the don’t buy the 26 lb stuffer, the snackstick tubes and casing are just too small and the motor has difficulty pushing the meat down through that. I would recommend the 11 lb stuffer, that is the one I use in all the videos and the majority of my own processing. I end up doing a lot of the stuffing by myself so the 11 lb works well for me as it has the smaller diameter piston like the 7 lb stuffer but obviously can hold more than the 7 lb stuffer can.

  • I went ahead and ordered the 11 lb stuffer. Not sure it will arrive today or tomorrow. I am having trouble finding just pork fat. I can get ground pork but hate having to use 50% of that when I am trying to use as much turkey breast as possible. I did find some fresh pork belly. I would have to remove the skin but do you think that would be okay to use as my fat additive?

  • Walton's Employee

    @dahattok Good choice on the 11 lber and I checked and it looks like you should be receiving it today!

    Yes, using fresh pork bellies will be fine instead of ground pork, in fact it is preferable. Just remember that pork bellies are somewhere in the 60/40 fat to protein ratio so you can’t just add 20%. I’d say you are best off staying in the 60-70 Turkey Breast to 30-40 pork bellies.

    I know you are wanting to use as much of the wild turkey breast as possible so the 70-30 will probably be the way you go. If that is the case make absolutely sure that you have very good protein extraction when mixing otherwise you are going to have some binding issues and you will “fat out” during the smoking process.

    Let me know if you need anything else.

  • Regular Contributors

    What would happen if he substituted chicken thighs for some the fat I know they don’t have the same fat content but it would certainly help get a little bit of rich poultry flavor in there as well.

  • Walton's Employee

    @parksider Yes, you could absolutely do that but I would still add some pork fat of some sort for binding and juiciness. I defrosted some of my chicken breast brats this weekend and when I am comparing them in my mind to the taste of the thigh brats the thigh brats were significantly better! Going forward I am going to be using more thighs maybe even doing some 50/50 thighs to breast.

  • I did save some of the turkey thigh meat and will use it with the breast. Maybe that will add a little flavor even though they are very lean. Is this the cooking routine I should follow? My pork belly should be in today so I hope to get a batch done in the next few days.

    125F for 1 hour
    140F for 1 hour
    155F for 2 hours
    175F until internal meat temp of 160F

  • Walton's Employee

    @dahattok Since this is going to have turkey in it change your internal temp target to 165° and you are good to follow that cook schedule as you are adding cure.

    For anyone interested this is a good link to a study that shows how long Chicken or Turkey needs to be held at certain temperatures for lethality that is based on the fat % of your poultry https://meathaccp.wisc.edu/validation/assets/App A Poultry.pdf

    Determining this with the accuracy necessary to achieve lethality can be difficult though which is why I just cook to 165° instead.

  • Can I use the 2 Tablespoon equals 1 ounce for the Sure Gel and Cold Phosphate or is that only good for liquid measurements? I may need to buy a kitchen scale to correctly measure it. Looks like I will be giving it a try on Saturday. Thanks!

  • Walton's Employee

    @dahattok That would only be for liquids, different seasonings and spices have different densities so they will have different weights per volume. For example two Tablespoons of carrot fiber would weigh much less than 2 Tablespoons of BBQ Seasoning. Precise scales can be a huge benefit when measuring out seasonings and additives.

    I happened to have a bag of Cold Phosphate I was playing with so I measured and it would be 2.2 Tablespoons for an ounce but I have no clue on the sure gel, sorry!

  • Thanks Jonathan that is what I figured. I will be getting a scale later today which will be nice to have. Would you recommend putting smoke to the Buffalo Bleu cheese sticks or going without?

  • Walton's Employee

    @dahattok I’d add smoke but that’s a personal preference. If I were doing it I would use either pecan or a fruitwood blend of some sort as Hickory or Mesquite might overpower the Buffalo Bleu Cheese.

  • Turkey sticks were a success! I had a little trouble getting them up to 165 degrees. It seemed like they stalled at about 160 and took a long time to make the last few degrees. Is that normal? They seemed to start getting too done where they were draped over the hangers close to the top of the smoker. All in all not a bad experience and final product. Thanks for all the good information. Dave

  • Walton's Employee

    @dahattok Glad they came out well, how was the moisture content? Did you add a water pan? Usually when I have trouble with the last few degrees it is because the evaporation energy is matching the heat, a water pan in your smoker can help mitigate this. It doesn’t fix it 100% of the time but it can help. Usually if I am really struggling to get the meat up those last few degrees I will bump the temp 10 to 15 degrees. I always assume I am going to do less damage but cooking them hotter for a 15-20 minutes than having them spend an additional hour in the smoker, this only applies if I have added a water pan.

  • I think the moisture content was very good. I had a water pan in the smoker and did end up increasing my temp at the end to get to 165. Thanks again!

  • So the sticks that I just kept refrigerated to eat appear to have developed a white powdery substance on the casing. It is dry and wipes right off but I am not sure what it is or what is causing it. Could it be from the Cold Phosphate?

  • Walton's Employee

    @dahattok So this showed up on sticks that were not vacuum packed just kept in the fridge? I’ve never had phosphates bleed out of a product like that before but I am checking with someone who would know if its possible. The only thing I could think of would be if the Phosphates weren’t mixed in very well but since you got protein extraction I dont think that is the issue. I will let you know as soon as I hear!

    Is it showing up on any of the packaged sticks?

  • It looks like there may be some in the vacuum sealed packages too but it is harder to tell. I need to open a package and see. I really only kept a few of the ends and irregular pieces to eat in the fridge.

  • Admin

    Usually it is just salt deposits that collect.
    As long as it doesn’t appear to be fuzzy like a mold and doesn’t continue to grow and grow, you should be fine, especially if they are vacuum packaged.

    I typically see it happen more on jerky where you start to see salt deposits like that, but definitely a strong likelihood your just seeing salt deposits on the snack sticks and nothing more.

    Keep an eye on it to see if it grows at all like mold, but from the description, I’m pretty sure it is just salt deposits.

  • I will definitely watch it but I don’t believe it is salt deposits. The sticks looked great yesterday but over night were covered in a white powder. I mean the entire stick was white. It brushed right off. It doesn’t appear to be fuzzy at all but I can’t explain what is causing it. I did use a bit more cure than was required and then the 3 oz Sure Gel and 4 oz Cold Phosphate with 1 qt of Distilled water that I put 1 tablespoon of Liquid Smoke in. The meat mixed well with good protein extraction and absolutely no “Fat out” noticed.

  • Here is a package I vacuum sealed but have not frozen. It really doesn’t have any and I think they look good. I guess I need to open one and keep it in the fridge over night and see what happens. 0_1528240839404_IMG_1877.JPG

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    So far, the texture of the finished product has been great and I have had no problem with casings breaking etc. from the excess moisture.

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