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Snack Stix First time (Help)

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
My first time trying to smoke some snack stix. What went wrong. First my equipment. It is a two chamber smoker charcoal fired. It looks like a trash can with a little bitty trash can attached to it.

First I mixed the meat and the seasoning. I got it from Excalibur snack stix seasoning.

Then shot it through a jerky gun

Then I started the smoker with charcoal then added the hickory chunks to it. Temperature was around 140 to 150. Then smoked the snack stick heavly for about 5 hours. The sticks tasted like hickory twigs that was smoked.

So what did I do wrong? To much smoke? Should I have used casings?
Is there a good thread to read on how to smoke using one of these types of smokers? Thanks

What is the proper way to smoke these snack stix. Pl
post #2 of 19
Unfortunately I have never done the snack stix. Hang tight and someone will be by soon to help you.

Just posted this to bump it back to the top for ya.
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks This is my first time smoking anything. I did some jerky with this smoker and it worked great. NOw Snack sticks is giving me fits
post #4 of 19
I haven't done the sticks, but have done quite a bit of jerky.

Based on what you posted, I would guess that it was just too much smoke. I find that in doing jerky a little smoke goes a long way......for my tastes anyhow. When I do jerky I put the smoke to it for only an hour or two (depending on how heavy the smoke was flowing that day) and use the rest of the time to just dry it out to a consistancy that I am wanting.

Like I said, haven't done the sticks, but this sounds just like too much smoke to me.

On edit. Your jerky post came in while I was typing........if you got jerky you liked but the sticks didn't work out, then I just don't know...........was the seasoning the culprit?

Should have just sat this one out........
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
I should have said the jerky was in a dehydrator and not the smoker. My fault I should read and re read what I type. My bad. Anyways. So little bit of smoke goes a long ways. I will have to try it again. With out the smoke. HOw do you control the temperature better on these charcoal type smokers? I keep it around 140 to 180 but it went over 200 a couple of times. This smoker was given to me by a friend and he has a very nice temp gauge mounted on it.
post #6 of 19
The best way to control the temp on a charcoal smoker is to put a hot plate in the bottom of it and use that for the heat. LOL Spikes are no big deal on a butt, but can kill your jerky in a hurry. Trying to keep the temps down in the Florida heat was driving me nuts.......hotplate was the answer for me

That is what I did after quite a bit of frustrastration with trying to keep the temps down. You can just baby sit and add just one piece of charcoal/wood to your pile of ashes, but that gets old quick IMO.

Since you have a dehydrator, I would just babysit the smoker for a while giving it the smoke for an hour or two and then move it to the dehydrator to finish. I don't own a dehydrator so I went the hotplate route.......sometimes move it to the oven if it is a small batch.
post #7 of 19
You say that you used "Excalibur snack stix seasoning". Did you follow their mixing and smoking instructions?
post #8 of 19
alot of variables you havent mentioned,like did u add any fat to the mixture or go with ground beef or hamburger or????. Sounds like you also may have smoked it to long and at to high a temp also.And casings always help imho they help to keep the meat moist also adding a binder mite help.
post #9 of 19
this is onl m 2 centsbut,i think your smoke was probabl to heavy and i myself think casing the sticks would help keep them moist. i usually only put a couple of hrs of light smoke to my sticks. typiclythis is it. one hr at 130 deg no smoke,two hrs at 150deg with smoke, turn up to160-170-deg no smoke until internal temp reaches 155 deg.take out and give cold water bathfor quick cool. hope this helps ,PDT_Armataz_01_29.gif
post #10 of 19
I have been doing quite few venison snacks. I do them in my masterbuilt using a mix of apple and mesquite. I am using very fine chips and using sparingly. I try to hold around 160 until I get the doneness I desire. Here is my base recipe:
3lbs. ground meat
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion salt
2 1/2 Tbsp. Morton Tender Quick.

Mix with hands in a mixing bowl and refridgerate for 24 hrs. You can smoke, dehydrate or due in the oven. If you do not do in the smoker you can add liquid smoke. You can change or add anything except for the Tenderquick. I usually double the garlic powder and add some cayenne pepper. This is a fool proof recipe. I get rave reviews and the meat processor likes them better than theirs. I run them out the stuffer on my grinder and cut them in equal lengths. I use a 5/8". I tried the 3/8" and they dried out too much If you have questions, you can pm me. I try to make all my own mixes. It is much cheaper and you have control over the end product. Gander mountain carries small chips. You might try some alder or apple. Good luck!

post #11 of 19
I think bill hit it right on the head. The combination of too much smoke and too high of temp did in your sticks. Looking at my schedule (back when I did it professionally) 125* for the first 30 - 60 minutes, along with a shot of smoke. Then turn it up to 150*, with the damper closed, until you get an IT of 148* - 152*, for a product that has pork added to it.

I don't own a charcoal unit, so I can't comment on the best way to regulate the house temp, other than very close supervision. ( opening and closing inlet and outlet dampers)
post #12 of 19


yup what Bill says,to much smoke&to hot,and yes caseings work better-I make them now&then,I start the smoke after they been in a while,also I outfitted mine with a 1000 watt hot-plate-I find it works better on certian foods-snacksticks-jerky,heck I just finished 9lbs. of canadian bacon,in 3 chubs-used hotplate to take it low&slow-WOW did it turn out great,best I have had-next gonna be BBB-and hey guys,my gal just set me up to send Q-view,so watch out-pics will start comming,oh and theres lotsa links on snack sticks-jump in & look.
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks this is wonderfull stuff. MOre Questions then. The hot plate you talk about. Where do you get it? Where would you put in a Smoker Like the one I described the Two barrel type. Do you put the plate in the small barrel or do you put it in the big barrel below the grates where the food is sitting?

You are all correct my smoke was way to high. And my heat was not controlled very well. Lesson learned and next batch should not taste like a hickory tree or smoke with texture to it..
post #14 of 19
Sounds like you have an off set smoker with the side fire box. I have the Charbroil silver smoker and I control the heat be closing the vent on the fire box. I never close the vent on the stack, limit the amount of charcoal and close the air vent on the fire box and you will keep the temps down.
I use casings when I make snack sticks and they come out moist after several hours of smoke and I bring them up to a temp of 152 to kill the bacteria.
Keep trying and post some pics of your next smoke.
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
I will take pictures next time.

If I do it like last time all you see is a big smoke screen in the pictures icon_biggrin.gif

I think the smoker I have is a charbroal or something like that. It used to be black. It is a rust black color now.

do you use a hot plate?
post #16 of 19
A hotplate is just the simple ones you can get at Target or Walmart......where ever for $20 or so. Nothing fancy. Edit - something like this http://www.target.com/Elite-Cuisine-Electric-Burner-ESB301F/dp/B000B2WOWE/sr=1-10/qid=1198764721/ref=sr_1_10/601-4370330-0807341?ie=UTF8&index=target&rh=k%3Ahotplate&page= 1

Depending on the distance from the plate to your grate, you may need to put in the firebox side, you will need to experiment and see how hot it gets. Start up the hotplate and put a pie pan, iron box, whatever on top of it and put the wood on the box, when the pan heats up the wood should smoke. If it doesn't get hot enough to smoke the wood or keep it going, you can hit it with a torch or put a single (one) piece of charcoal in with the wood and light that to keep the wood smoking.
post #17 of 19
No hot plate here...
Like I said, I use small amounts of charcoal and wood when I want to keep the temps down. Its a trial and error thing. When I smoke cheese I only use 4-6 pieces of charcoal so i can keep the temps around 100 and even then its hard sometimes. Keep playing with it and you will get it down.
Get a nice digital thermometer and put the probe through a piece of wood and place it on the grate so you get the real temp in the smoker. The thermo in the door is not the best way to keep track of temps in the smoker. You will want a 2nd digi thermo for any meats you cook to keep track of the temp.
post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the tip Off to get a digital thermometer and hot plate in case I can not control the heat that well with the charcoal. This should work Hopefully this weekend I will post pics of all of your suggestions.
post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 
Here is a pic of my snack sticks. It is beef and they turned out great. Thanks for all the help and I am learning many things here.
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