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Snack Stick Help

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Ok, for the past 2 years I have been learning the art of smoking meat... It is now time for the snack stick and sausage making... I have absolutly no clue what I am doing here and need guideance... I have made beef jerky before but it was done by slicing the meat, not grinding it up.

I previously pruchased a jerky shooter whichI have yet to use. It came with a tip to do jerky, and a tip to do sticks...

The questions that roll around in my head are as follows:
  • Do I need casings to make sticks like a slim jim?
  • Do I need a food dehydrator to dry them out?
  • Do I smoke them or just use liquid smoke?
  • Do I purchase pre made packages of seasonings?
I guess what I need is a step by step tutorial on how this all works.

Thank you all in advance!
post #2 of 16
I have never done the snack sticks but was always wanting to...

Here is a recipe I did collect, but have never tried it...

The Original Slim Jim

  • 1 lamb intestine casing 18mm (4 feet long)
  • 2 1/2 pounds top round chuck, cubed
  • 1 pound beef fat, cubed
  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon insta-cure No. 1 curing salt
  • 4 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1/3 cup lactic-acid starter culture
  • Rinse salt off the sausage casing. Soak in ice water for at least 1 hour.
  • Combine meat and fat. Run the mixture through a meat grinder into a large bowl, using the finest setting. Add all ingredients, along with one cup of ice water. Knead vigorously until mixture is the consistency of bread dough (about 8 minutes).
  • Rinse casing one last time. Choose the narrowest gauge tube of your sausage press. Splash the tube with ice water, then pull the casing over it. Transfer the mixture, about two fistfuls at a time, to the sausage press and then pump the meat into the casing, splashing more water on the tubing as needed to stop the casing from tearing.
  • Preheat an electric smoker to 100 degrees. Hang sausage in the smoker for 22 hours. Temperature should never dip below 90 degrees or go above 110 degrees. After 22 hours, raise the temperature to 150 degrees and cook until the internal temperature reaches 150 to 155 degrees (about 30 minutes).
  • Remove from smoker and let cool at about 50 degrees in a dry place for 4 hours. Cut sausage into 4-inch lengths.
16 servings
post #3 of 16
The best advise I can offer is to purchase Rytek Kutas - Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing. Do some reading on sausage making and the curing process before you dive in and you'll be a lot more knowledgeable about what your doing and the results will show.
post #4 of 16
What Lou said. It's a good book! PDT_Armataz_01_01.gif
post #5 of 16
BigTrain74, I use casings to make snack sticks. I use a 21mm snack stick casing

I would use my smoker to smoke the sticks! Not a dehydrator.

Liquid smoke?..... I use real smoke. Apple wood to be exact.

You can use pre-made kits to start out. They have all the instructions right on the package for you to use. Not hard to do at all. It takes time to get a feel for smoking.... You will make mistakes and you will learn from them. Start out with a small batch and go from there.

Good Luck, Blza

post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Great! Thank you so much... I feel a little better about this now...
post #7 of 16
Just pay attention to the finishing temp. Too high and they are dry like jerky. Snack sticks are awesome once you get the hang of them. Making any kind of sausage is very rewarding, and really pretty simple. You can start off just making breakfast sausage or Brats then go from there. Texture is everything, so pay attention to the size of the grind.
post #8 of 16
As most know I am a huge Curley Sausage guy. Kit comes with casing, seasoning and most importantly for a beginner....directions. They are delicious!!!

The first sticks I made about 10 years ago took about 10 hours to make and seemed like that much time to clean up the mess, they were the most horrible tasting crap I had ever ate!!!!

Now takes about an hour to stuff 25 pounds, got the cleanup to a mininum and they turn out great!

Give them a try www.curleyssausagekitchen.com Hope this helps!
post #9 of 16
Big Train -YES ryteks book,he has a recipi in there for them-I make these ALOT-and add diff flavors to them-not only spices but pickeled japs-etc.glad to have another sausagemaker in the group-any questions feel free to pm me.
post #10 of 16

Snack sticks

I make mine with a jerky shooter straight to the trays and into the smoker without casing smoke for about 6 hours at 200 or until the texture feels right, kind of stiff but not brittle. You can use pre made mixes, I like the cabelas sweet hot mix with a couple shots of chipoltle added for a little extra heat.
The directions on the package are easy to follow. Good luck
post #11 of 16
Here's how I do it....I use either 100% beef, or a 50/50 pork/beef. I think I prefer the 50/50 myself. If I use all beef, I use the 80/20 I get from Sams Club, if using 50/50, I will use the 90/10 beef, and ground pork butt will give about the right fat content. I have always used the Leggs snack stick seasoning with good results. I tried the recipe from Rytek Kutos's book, but found it pretty bland... I always have consistent results from Leggs seasonings. Another option that is good is to add some shredded cheese and chopped jalapenos to the mix, about 10-12% cheese by weight and about 1/4-1/3 cup dehydrated jalapenoes to taste ( I reconstitute them before adding to the meat). If using just the Leggs seasonings, I always add some cayenne pepper for some added heat. It will help in stuffing to add extra water to the meat block..I add 3 cups ice water to 10 lbs. of meat, otherwise stuffing into 18mm casings can be a work out!
Once stuffed, I hang them in the smoke house for about 1-1.5 hours at 110-120f to dry out the casings. When the sausage gets to about 100-110f I will rasie temps to 145-150 and apply heavy smoke for several hours, and then raise temp of smoke house to 165. When the slim Jims temp temp is 142-145 I will remove the smoke and put a pot of boiling water on the burner and steam until they are 152-155, remove them and give a cold water washdown. Steaming them greatly reduces the time in the smoke house and improves the bite of the sausage. Once you start steaming them, they are usually done in 20-30 minutes verses another 3-4 hours without the steam.

All stuffed and ready for the smoke house:

In the smoke house with smoke just started:

Hanging out to "bloom" after cold water washdown:

Cut up and ready to pack:

All vacuum sealed and ready for freezer or to give to friends:

post #12 of 16
Does the Legg's Snack Stix seasoning contain a cure?
post #13 of 16
No it does not. Just use the Prague or instacure #1, 1 teaspoon/5 lbs.of meat. It does contain sodium erythorbate, which is a cure accelerator.

post #14 of 16
Red ,I like the tip of the boiling water pan I have an elec. 20lb smoker from the sausagemaker and was always afraid of doing it that way. Do you think I'll be ok as I usually finish my dogs in a vat of 165* water on my stove? Just wondering if the dripping condensation would mess something up? Also I'm assuming the vents are half-quarter open? Thanks ahead of time to any anyone who answers.
post #15 of 16
I started out with that same smoker and use to put the pan of water in it also. I seem to remember stuffing a rag up in the vent to keep the steam in. On my present smoker, I have to leave the vent open with the exhaust fan on low to keep the temps from getting too high. The only problem I ever had with that 20 lbs smoker was the bottoms getting too done as compared to the tops of the sausage.

post #16 of 16
I'll have to look up thar book too. I think I'm ready for some thing alittle differant. and I like sausage and links too.
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