Venison Snack Sticks - Test Batch #1

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by mickey jay, Aug 3, 2016.

  1. mickey jay

    mickey jay Meat Mopper

    I'm on a bit of a quest to make a great eating venison snack stick.  I've been researching on the forums and decided for the first batch to use Big Casino's recipe as a base to work from.  I adjusted down to 3lbs (67/33 venison/pork butt), and reduced the heat.  They came out okay.  The flavor and smoke (hickory and apple) were good, but the texture could be better.  I think I need more fat, a bit more salt, maybe some NFDM (they got a bit dry), and a bit more heat.  Batch #2 will reflect these changes; hopefully I'll get to it in the next couple weeks.

    Here's Big Casino's recipe using venison and scaled down to 3 lbs (with reduced heat and I added some chipotle powder):

    2 lb ground deer venison
    1 lb ground pork butt
    2/3 c ice water
    1/2 tsp + 1/8 tsp Cure #1
    2 tsp + 1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp kosher salt
    2 tsp brown sugar
    1/2 tsp + 1/8 tsp ground mustard
    1 tsp + 1/4 tsp mustard seed
    1/2 tsp + 1/8 tsp black pepper
    1 tsp + 1/4 tsp white pepper
    2 tsp paprika
    1/2 tsp + 1/8 tsp onion powder
    1/2 tsp + 1/8 tsp garlic powder
    1 tsp crushed red pepper
    1/2 tsp cayenne
    1/2 tsp chipotle powder

    Collagen casings are so easy!  Excited to work with these more.

    18" sticks

    A bit of tying involved

    Nice and straight!

    On the smoker to dry:

    Venison snack stick cheeseburger for lunch with the leftovers!

    and 8 or so hours later

    You can see the meat looks a little 'pasty'.

    crazymoon, smokinal and bearcarver like this.
  2. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks & sounds Great to me, MJ !![​IMG]----[​IMG]

    Nice Job!![​IMG]

  3. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    They look fantastic!

    Great job!


  4. crazymoon

    crazymoon Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    MJ, They look excellent sir !
  5. driedstick

    driedstick Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looks great from here,,,, ya the NFDM may help I use it in all my sticks,,, 

    A full smoker is a happy smoker

  6. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I would use either Amesphos or Butcher & Packer's "special meat binder" instead of the NFDM.  I've been using the B&P in my last few sticks and summer sausage smokes and the moisture retention and improvement of texture are well worth the small cost of the phosphate.  I was picking up some other stuff at B&P so I went with theirs instead of the Amesphos, but they are both just food grade phosphates (and do not change flavor profile, just texture for the better).
  7. mickey jay

    mickey jay Meat Mopper

    Thanks for the suggestions and kind words!  I've been eyeing Amesphos for a while now; the only thing holding me back is that I generally try to stay away from added chemicals if I can help it.  Cure #1 is obviously a necessity, but phosphates probably less-so.  While I haven't ruled it out, I will probably try the NFDM first because I already have a box in my cupboard.

    Can anyone describe the difference in texture between using NFDM and Amesphos in a snack stick?
  8. What temps did you smoke them at?
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2016
  9. mickey jay

    mickey jay Meat Mopper

    Ran it up gradually from 120 up to 175 over the course of about 5 hours.. Took over 8 hours total. I didnt have any fat pooling so i'm fairly confident temps were in line. Calculating the fat content; it was probably around 8% total.
  10. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've tried NFDM and phosphates, and there is a huge difference IMO.  NFDM does help with moisture retention and texture, but phosphates do a much better job and with a whole lot less product. The advantages of phosphates in sausage are generally:

    Improved cooked flavor.

    Reduced loss of meat fluids.

    Increased tenderness and juiciness

    Improved firmer texture

    Better and faster color development

    I know some recipes call for dissolving the phosphate powder in water or beer before adding to the meat.  The B&P I have wanted to clump more than dissolve so I've just started adding it to the dry spice mix and then add that to the liquid like normal before mixing.  It's dispursed enough that way that clumping is not an issue.

    As to the concerns of additives, phosphates have been around in meat processing next to forever and you are only adding 0.3 to 0.5% of the finished weight, so it's not much.  It's just a chemical like salt, and anything else you are putting in the meat mix.  Also you will be adding a whole lot more NFDM that you would a phosphate.

    Oh, one last point on NFDM.  If you have the grocery store NFDM instead of the stuff made for sausage making, it's a lot courser than the sausage NFDM.  Just run it trough your blender to make a fine powder out of the grocery store stuff and it will basically be the same as the stuff made for sausage making.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2016
  11. jeffinn

    jeffinn Fire Starter

    I Use NFDM right out of the box and have never had a problem with it. It retains moisture well and keeps the sausage sticks from drying out. Fresh meat, fresh spices, a little liquid, some cure #1 and a bit of NFDM are all you need to make great snack sticks. Smoke them with the wood of your choice and increase the temps slowly and you'll be all set.
  12. mickey jay

    mickey jay Meat Mopper

    Thanks everyone for the info! Regarding adding nfdm, i've been using 1c per 5lbs for brats etc. Does that standard hold true for snack sticks as well?
  13. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yeah buddy.

    Nice sticks
  14. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Some info.


    Milk powder has been used for years in sausage making. Acts as a binder by helping to retain the moisture of the meat. Although not highly effective as a binder, it can impart a creamier taste to some sausage products. You can use up to 12% (of the meat weight) without affecting the taste of the sausage. This product is good at hiding salt flavor in most sausage and is used in liver sausage, hot dogs and bologna.


    (Also Known As SODIUM PHOSPHATE) is a food grade phosphate that is used with meat products to help in the retention of moisture and soluble proteins. Sodium Tripolyphosphate is compatible with all curing ingredients such as nitrites, nitrates, sugar, salt and ascorbic acid or its derivative, sodium erythorbate.

    NOTE: NOT The TSP you get from Lowes.


    Try 3/4 cup of good quality buttermilk in your sticks

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