Snack stick grind too fine?

  • It’s been several years since I’ve made these and I’ve forgotten a lot. I followed the recipe here at Walton’s and have a couple of questions:

    1. I did a 3/8 grind on 4# of venison, followed by a 1/8 grind. My 1hp #8 grinder did just fine with the 3/8 plate, good particle definition. But when I did the 1/8 grind it really slowed down and darn near emulsified the meat and fat (I added 1# fat trimmings from bacon). The consistency and appearance were almost like bologna. I’m smoking now, so I don’t know how they’re going to be, but I want to know if the bologna-like consistency is correct? I’m wondering if I shouldn’t have just done a second grind with the 3/8 plate.

    2. I started out trying to stuff with my grinder but it’s way slow. Is that a common problem when stuffing with a grinder? I ended up using a PVC hydraulic stuffer that I MacGyver’d a few years ago. It does great, but has so much “horsepower” that it’s kind of hard to throttle it down for snack sticks. So, my question is “Does everyone eventually gives up on stuffing with a grinder or am I maybe doing something wrong?”


  • Walton's Employee

    @Kentucky-Fisherman The second grind is always going to be slower and this is doubly true when going from a 3/8th plate to a 1/8 plate. By breaking the meat down into a ground product you are making it harder for the grinder to push the meat down to the plate and knife and you are also trying to make it go through a smaller plate. Best thing i can tell you to fight this is to get your meat ICE COLD before grinding, some ice crystal forming on the meat is just about right! This will speed up the process and improve your finished product.

    With it looking like bologna I have the feeling your 1/8 plate, or the knife you use with it, are in need of sharpening or replacement. What you are describing sounds like your plate and knife are smooshing your meat instead of cutting it cleanly.

    As for the stuffing, yes, trying to stuff snack sticks off of a stuffer is incredibly difficult, frustrating and annoying! It is much easier to use a stuffer when making any type of sausage but especially when making snack sticks.

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  • @papasop I have a response from the manufacturer…
    They said that they designed the mixer in a way that it would not need to run in reverse for a long time. It should mix efficiently enough in one direction and it was designed to mix in just 1 direction. So, using the grinder in any scenario (grinding or mixing) you should limit the reverse time to approximately 5 seconds at one time.

    My own opinion on the mixing is that I wouldn’t mix in just 1 direction though. I think there is still a benefit to going in reverse, even if temporarily, so I think my course of action for the future will probably be to mix 90% of the time in 1 direction, but still do the reverse in the 5 second interval. Probably something like 30 to 60 seconds forward, 5 seconds backward, then another 30 to 60 forward, etc… I think that would get enough benefit of a direction mix cycle, but still limit the reverse action as much as possible.

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  • @alan Lol, I’m an idiot, just the other day I said that I am fully capable of thinking one thing and typing something else! Getting information from an old timer is usually a great way to go! Glad you got it worked out though! Send pictures of them!

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  • @Danbow Back when I was in customer service I know I talked to someone who either said his wife did it exactly how you are explaining it or I talked to the woman who did it, I wonder if I was talking to either you or your wife?!

    Wrapping it in foil would keep more moisture in the product, same basic process that some people do when they are smoking ribs. I can absolutely see how this would work and I think the way she is doing it, without a casing, would be more effective when wrapping it in foil. I don’t think you’ll ever convert me from using a casing but we might be making some updates here and when we do I might have access to an oven and will give this a try!

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  • A

    Lol, no rice in Andoullie. You are thinking of Boudin.
    I spoke to an Old Timer Cajun down here and he said, after you cure your meat for 24 hours, spray and moisten the meat just before stuffing it. If the stuffing is too dry, the meat will shrink when smoked and it will make voids between the stuffing and casing.
    The recipe I use is hundred plus years ago and I added some modern safeguards and seasonings. By the way, I use Boston Butt & Cushion Meat, in lieu of the hogs head and neck.
    The Smoke Houses are selling it for over $10 a pound here and I can make it for $1.30.
    LaPlace, LA is, The Andoullie Capital of the World!

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  • H

    @jonathon Thank you for your quick and detailed response. It is greatly appreciated. Just another reason why Walton’s is the best. For some reason, I thought that you needed to soak the collagen before loading it on the stuffing horn. Thanks for the correction there.

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