Welcome to the forum. There are lots of good people here with tons if great info on every aspect of smoking,curing etc.
First off, as far as your grinding plates go, I would look for one smaller one to add to your arsenal, around 3/16". When your ready to make some snack sticks, try this. Get your meat to a somewhat frozen state. This makes it allot easier to cut. I would cut it into 3/4 inch cubes and then mix in your spices and ingredients. This makes it much easier to mix everything up versus trying to mix it into ground meat. As far as casings go, I am partial to natural. I only use natural casings, but I understand that the collagen casings provide a uniform shape and I am going to try them next time I make some sticks.
Here is the recipe. Pretty easy, not hard to make.
For a 10# Batch.
8# Venison trimmed as much fat, silver skin, ligaments etc as possible.
2# Beef suet.
3 tsp Salt
2 tsp Insta Cure
1 Tb Onion Powder
1 Tb Garlic Powder
1/2 Tb Cayenne. 1 Tb if you like hotter. Adjust to your liking.
1 Tb Ground Black Pepper
2 tsp Ground White Pepper
1 cup ICE COLD Water
Take all your spices and add to the Ice Water, mix well. This is easier than trying to mix dry spices into meat, more evenly distributed. Take your cubed meat and mix with the Ice Water/spices. Mix well and put in fridge for 24 hours. During this time, take out at least once and remix to stir things up. After our 24 hours are up, put in a freezer and get the meat to the point where it is somewhat frozen, not solid though. The reason for doing this is that when you run it thru your grinder, you want the meat to grind and not tear as it goes thru the blades. Load your casing on the stuffing horn and add meat to the grinder as needed. Now the reason I said to get a 3/16" grind plate was this. Some will grind their meat thru a coarse blade first then add spices, mix and grind again thru a smaller plate and stuff into the casings. When you cube your meat, the ingredients get mixed into the meat quite well and all you have to do is run it thru a smaller plate ONCE and right into the casings. Make sense? The less you have to grind the better. You maintain the integrity of the meat. Take note of Uncle Lars Time and temps he used and the final product. Thats how a nice snack stick should look. As far as hanging them, you simply get more into a smoker. Hope this helped. Make sure you take phots and post them for all to see. Also, if you want to really cut your learning curve as far as learning to smoke and cure meat, I suggest you get a copy of Ryteks Kutas Book, "Great suasage recipes and meat curing" Invaluable in my opinion.