First time for beef sticks, and first time using collagen casings. Used only 2.5 pounds of beef for this trial batch. Not a complete success, but the taste was great, and best of all, my son-in-law, daughter and grandkids thought they were great! (They took the remaining links home with them.)
I created my own recipe based on several Spicy Beef Sticks, and Honey BBQ recipes found here.
Ground lean beef, mixed seasonings, stuffed into collagen casings, into refrigerator overnight.
Using WSM, heat (130F) for one hour, followed by smoke for 2 hours at 140F, increasing 10 degrees every hour until 175F. After 9 hours, (stall) with internal temp at 125 degrees, pulled and into kitchen oven at 175 degrees.
Ice bath at 155F internal temperature.
Hanging to bloom at room temperature.
Results - great taste, good chew (maybe a tad bit crumbly) but the casings were tough. Consequently, I stripped all of the links of their casing.
Conclusions - Maintaining 130F in a WSM with an outside air temperature of 50F (Arizona in winter ) is difficult to do! So, rigged an electric hot plate for low temp, and AMAZEN tube for smoke.
Possibly add NFDM to recipe? What to do with collagen casings to improve the bite? My feeling is that the casings were too old (had been under refrigeration since purchase), or were subjected to heat for too long (11 hours total).
Appreciate your thoughts.