Well, I made my beef sticks this last weekend and it was an experience. First, not having the proper feeding tube for my enterprise. So I took the feeding tube from my grinder, mcgivered a holding washer out of the plastic lid of a coffee can. That solved that problem. Stuffing took awhile and man, those casings at 22mm are small to handle.
The product took about 5 hours total to smoke and cook. I made a couple of mistakes though, and am learning as I go. Don't get me wrong, the beef sticks taste pretty good, but they don't look that appealing.
Here are the mistakes I think I made:
1) oversoaked my hickory wood chips. It didn't seem like it was smoking very long at 140 degrees, so I kept adding more wood. By the time I wanted to be done with the smoking process and cranking the heat, the extra heat got all those wood chips going big time and I had more smoke than I knew what to do with. I let it go for about 20 minutes and then finally had to open it up and pour out the wood.
2) I had all four trays filled with beef sticks, 10lbs total. It was packed. The heat distribution did not seem very good. The right side of the sticks (hinge side) got well done and very dark, while the middles stay pink. The left sides got a little color. I am thinking I had too much food in there.
3) I left the water pan in. No water though. Either I needed to take the pan out or add water. I am thinking this may have caused the uneven heating.
So, the end result, a few beers were released from my fridge, the sticks came out and actually taste pretty good, a little smokey, but not bad.
So, if any of you have any tips and could let me know what I am doing wrong, it would be appreciated.