Snack Stick Questions



  • Recently made a batch of sticks using the Jalapeno blend from Waltonsinc (below). I measured out the suggested amount exactly but was quite surprised at the lack of flavor that came through in the finished product (seemed to need way more salt). Fat ratio was slightly over 30%. Added 6 oz water per 5 lb.

    I was thinking to either add more seasoning next time or add in MSG as I prefer seasonings with MSG included. What would you recommend?

    I let these sticks refrigerate for 36 hours before smoking but there was still a total lack off tanginess. However, I generally find with ECA that the recommended amount creates an overly tangy product. Would it make any sense to let the meat sit for a day then add in say half the usual citric acid prior to stuffing? Or should I just add less ECA and stuff immediately

    Lastly, is there any downside to cooking to an IT of 170? I’ve made some mods to the smoker, but I still get about a 10 degree difference in IT from the hottest to the coldest spot. I don’t notice any fat separation as long as the meat was thoroughly mixed.

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  • Walton's Employee

    @ericm First, if you want a really strong Jalapeno taste and some heat then I would recommend either more seasoning than recommended (though be slightly careful with this, something around 10-15% more) or add jalapenos.

    For the Encapsulated Citric Acid, if you are using it then you need to go right from the smoking to the stuffing, holding it overnight could allow the Encapsulation to break and leak the citric acid into the meat too soon. However you also don’t want to hold the meat and then add the ECA as the meat will start to set up and could break your stuffer when you try to stuff it into the casings. My recommendation would be to cut back slightly on the ECA and still stuff immediately.

    Cooking to 170 will not create any real problems other than drying the meat out a little, if you are happy with the moisture and texture of your snack sticks with your current smoking schedule I say keep with it!



  • I wanted to put my raw sausage in my cabinet size dehydrator to dry them out before transferring them to my smoker,any thoughts?


  • Walton's Employee

    @skipdiggidy I’ve never done this, I know some recipes and smoking books call for the meat to be dried before smoking but I am more comfortable doing it in my smoker with no smoke and the dampers wide open. I usually do this at 120° for an hour, then I close the dampers 2/3 of the way (or so) and begin introducing smoke. Let me know if you need anything else!



  • @jonathon thank you,I’ve tried to put in my smoker without smoke for an hour or two @140°
    But last time it didnt seem to dry them out,and I had uneven smoke on them,maybe I was just impatient waiting till they were dry


  • Walton's Employee

    @skipdiggidy If you aren’t drying in that time at that temp I would think it might have something to do with how much water you added to the meat? Just a thought, it could have been anything (including the humidity outside that day) that caused it to have issues drying.


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  • D

    @newbe … Afternoon… Keep the meat BELOW 40 degrees F… Bacteria is growing while the meat is warming up… then again when cooling down… The LAST thing you want or need is a batch of meat that has been warm for an hour or longer… One good way to do that is double bowl the meat… Ice in the larger bowl and the smaller bowl, with the meat in it, on ice… You don’t want your family to get food poisoning… Dave

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  • P

    I do it all the time. Still remember my mom saying it’s not a good idea. I’m sure if you are buying a nice steak and intend it eat it as a grilled T-bone you might notice some flesh cell break down (texture change). If you are going to use it in sausage you will not notice any difference. Made brats last night. Once frozen pork and elk. Refroze the brats. I do it time and time again.

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  • E

    Here is a link to a website that has a handy Excel spreadsheet. It is, as it says a free non-commercial site.
    As for Waltons dropping the ball, I vote they are doing a great job.
    I think for all of us there are general guidelines, but unless you have a temperature and humidity controlled environment, both for the preparation, cooking (if you cook them) smoking, hanging etc, the results are bound to vary from batch to batch.
    Personally, I am searching how to get my home made smoked and dry cured pepperoni to the exact texture and firmness of Margarita pepperoni from the store.
    Through trial and error I have the flavor where I want it, but not the texture or firmness. I know time, temperature and humidity are all crucial, but the best I can do is in the basement and then subject to the environment that is there.
    I figure as long as I am not killing anyone or making anyone sick I am making progress. Thanks Waltons for all of the great information so far.
    Having said that, it would be nice to have your chart in an Excel spreadsheet.

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  • K

    @jonathon

    Thanks Jonathon! One question tho! You eluded to 178 being high for a temp! Don’t you guys recommend setting the temp at 175 during the final stage to completion to internal temp? Three degrees shouldn’t make that much difference should it??

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  • K

    @lamurscrappy

    Sounds reasonable. Thanks for your input. Pulling the meat at 152 will make a big difference I bet! Thanks again.

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