Along with some SS and Breakfast Sausage, I did my first run of snack sticks this weekend. I was very disappointed with the results but think I learned what went wrong and can fix it for next time. Looking for some pointers from the more experienced sausage guys on SMF, so here we go.
Venison and pork fat ground and ready, using Cabela's (PS Seasonings) Snack Stick mix, added 1 Tbs Chipotle powder from Penzeys
Stuffed into the collagen casings that came with the Cabela's mix. As you can see, I need LOTS more practice stuffing.
Into the Warthog for the smoke. Tied some ends to the rack directly, had to spread due to the height limitations of the Warthog (Smokin-it #3). This is a drawback of this smoker, dedicated smokehouse may be on the wish list if I start doing a bunch more of this crazy sausage making. They are not touching the element roof, that's just the way the pic looks.
Out of the smoker, here is where I really noticed problems. Different doneness and color.
Out of the fridge the next morning, color and doneness differences very evident in these pics
Trimmed up and vac sealed, 3 big bags into the freezer (for now at least)
Some close-ups of the sliced sticks
So, ugh, I'm not happy. Some of this was really well done and the other did not seem done enough for my taste. I probed the piece that was the farthest from the element with the Mav during the cook so I knew they were all at temp and "technically" done, but wow this is not cool. I think on these snack sticks I will just need to lay them flat on my racks instead of trying to hang them, that or make them really short and just do a little at a time. The ones that were really done were my favorite, obviously they were the ones or part of the sticks that were closer to the element. To make matters worse, I did not really care for this mix at all. If I had not added the Chipotle powder, I think I would have tossed this batch all together. That at least gives them some spice but the base flavor is just not that good. I will not be buying this mix again, that I do know. I think they will end up in Gumbo or soup at this point.
Is it best to just lay the sticks flat on the racks and cook that way, maybe rotating part way through if needed? Anyone else have problems like this or have some solutions for me, snack sticks are a favorite of mine and I was really looking forward to making these and having a good end product. I'd like to find a mix/recipe that is good and that I can prepare in my Smokin-It # 3 without having these same results.
Thanks in advance for any help you can offer up.