Making Snack Sticks from already seasoned mild and hot Italian sausage



  • I have a client with several hundred pounds of loose pack mild and hot Italian sausage that they would like converted to snack sticks. I believe it has about 20-25% pork fat already ground in and would need to be re-ground through a finer plate. My question is what spices could I add to these mixtures to make a good snack stick. This loose pack sausage does not have anything other than meat, fat and fresh sausage seasonings so I plan to add sure cure, carrot fiber and encapsulated citric acid. Any suggestions are appreciated.


  • Walton's Employee

    @vjbutler If I were you I might try to talk him out of this. Yes, you can add cure and other additives, regrind (add the Encapsulated Citric Acid after the final grind though) and end up close but there are going to be a couple of issues. You will not be able to add a prepackaged seasoning as the salt content will be way too high if you do this so you will have to just add spices to create a flavor profile and I have no idea what that good spices it would take to work in conjunction with the already present seasonings. Also, even though it was only packed into meat bags it still went through a stuffer and has been “setting up” trying to stuff it again might cause some issues with your stuffer, not to mention that is a lot of stress to put on the meat.

    The best advice I can give is to do a small batch first to test for taste and how difficult it is to stuff them. Good luck!



  • After doing a little more homework it looks like pepperoni snack sticks are going to my best bet. Talking the client out of this process for 1000 pounds of professionally prepared sausage is not really an option. They have a lot invested and need to find a way to move the product. Snack sticks are a hot commodity right now so this seems like an obvious solution. Since this was professionally processed I can get the exact ingredient list and add the required spices to create pepperoni snack sticks or some other similar recipe. I still plan to use sure cure, carrot fiber, encapsulated citric acid and most likely some additional salt to attain the correct levels. If I can master this process I will share it here so anyone with an excess of ground sausage can turn it into snack sticks.


  • Walton's Employee

    @vjbutler Yes, snack sticks keep becoming more and more popular! When you say loosely packed I am assuming that they are in meat bags right?

    Yes, if you can come up with something that works well please share your experience and process. When you said several hundred I was thinking 3-4 not 1,000 lb!

    It sounds like you have a plan the only thing I will say again is to try small batches first, though from your previous response I am sure you were planning on this already. If you need some help with the formulation let me know and I can run it past our application specialist to see if he has any input.


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  • H

    Thanks Jonathon. I pan fried the sausage in a cast iron skillet (my “go to” for the stove) on low heat actually. I could not believe there was no moisture in that skillet. The sausage really was great (Holly), beautifully brown. I was very surprised at no rendered fat, but it is very pleasant to experience a sausage patty that is not greasy. I thought I did something wrong lol.

    Yeah, goat is lean. I will be going the route of adding pork fat, or mixing in some ground pork. I will have to read up on the other options you have suggested as they are new to me. I like to keep my food as “natural” as possible. I do appreciate the assist here.

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  • @homesteader57 When making a fresh sausage like breakfast sausage adding water isn’t necessary and you’d only need to do it to help mix in the seasonings and additives. I personally don’t add water to breakfast sausage or bratwursts. Did you stuff this into a casing or did you make loose breakfast sausage and cook it up in a pan? Either way, I’ve never heard of no fat rendering out when cooking a breakfast sausage, can you give me a little more information on how you cooked it? In a pan over high heat I am assuming, was it cooked at the highest heat? Cast Iron or something else?

    I am going to be very interested to see what happens when you make Brats out of the goats. I’ve never done it but I am pretty sure goat is low in fat content. For brats you want your fat content to be around 75/25 so you will have to add some pork fat if you can. If you don’t want to add pork fat then you can try what I have been doing with lower fat meats. When I have made Chicken Brats I have been using Cold Phosphate to increase the water holding capacity of the meat. I’d also recommend you use a binder like Sure Gel or Super Bind or a moisture retender like Carrot Fiber. Using both of those seems to be the best bet to get a nice juicy product out of a lower fat meat.

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  • @scott-williams First, I’d recommend you use a binder like Sure Gel or Super Bind or a moisture retender like Carrot Fiber. This is always the first thing I recommend when someone has an issue with the texture of their sausage.

    Your fat content is correct and it sounds like you used the correct amount of seasoning. 190° is a little higher than I would recommend, but we have all been there when it’s just taking too long so you dump it a little more than you really should! I don’t think that is the issue but check out this post titled Summer Sausage Nightmare specifically @Parksider’s response to finishing it up in water. It’s a good tip and I am going to be doing some tests on it here to verify a few things.

    What I think probably caused your issue was the mixing in some way. When adding pork fat to your venison I think the best time to add it is during the second grind, it’s possible that your fat didn’t really mix in well with the venison, that would explain why it seemed dry even though you had the correct fat content.

    It also could have been lack of protein extraction, I looked through your posts and can’t tell if you have a mixer or are mixing by hand? With cured sausages, I always recommend using a meat mixer as getting the right level of protein extraction. I am guessing that you had some fat out where the fat renders and cooks out of the product.

    Hope this helps!

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  • J

    I made my first batch of brats last night and was using the 30mm collagen casing, but I could not get it to fit on the 22mm tube. I used instead the 16mm tube. I am just curious about what I was doing wrong. I have the 11lb vertical stuffer.

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  • @papasop Sorry, I didn’t catch that you said by the switch initially.
    I see the same thing now. Weird thing is that the Pro Series also says the same thing. If you couldn’t use any of them for more than 5 seconds in reverse, that would be odd, because then nothing would work well with the meat mixers.
    I’m getting some questions sent to the manufacturer. I’ll let you know if they can clarify further.
    I’ve used both the Pro and Butcher series grinders with the reverse on for more than 5 seconds, and used them to mix a lot of meat, so my initial thought is that it is fine to do on mixing, but maybe just not when the grinder head, auger, plate/knife, etc. is attached. Meat is the “lubricant” for all that when grinding, so in reverse for too long and the meat not being pushed through everything could cause problems.

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  • @danbow The cook cycle definitely can have good or bad effects on the casings, but I would say that the slow temperature increases are not just for the casing, but just in general for what we call “case hardening”. Jumping straight into a hot temperature when cooking any type of meat can create a “crust” or dry and tough exterior.

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