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And BAM... Snack Sticks

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by SonnyE, Feb 17, 2019.

  1. SonnyE

    SonnyE Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    So it was hard earned, but worth it...
    So yesterday my stuffer finally arrived. To pooped to to switch, I finished my Bacon packaging, took a bit of a break, then jumped in.
    I had gotten 5 pounds of my packaged Beef and Pork out to soften up from the deep freezer. It was still frozen as I ground it into a pile of layers in the mixing bowl with the 3/8" slotted plate. My Goodness it made a big pile, almost a bowl full. I worried it might not mix.
    For naught. It mixed fine when I took it back out of the fridge to mix in the seasoning and cure. I weighed out the cure and added it to the seasonings mix to assure the cure was well dispersed.
    I added 1 cup of ice water as it danced and stirred in the mixing bowl blending the meats and seasonings. It seemed to mix very well.
    Then back through the grinder and a 1/8" plate for the final grind and I let it discharge into the LEM Stuffer tank. The tank, filled and stuffed as it could go, went back into the fridge to chill and rest while I got ready to shove the huge pile of goo into a tube through a 3/8" Stuffer tube and 17 mm casings. Fingers crossed, a full tube of 17 mm casing on the horn, I began the cranking and out came the meat mixture. I twisted up the tip of the casing and there came the long rope of snack stick.
    I folded it into one of my 1/4 sheet pans, in ~12" folds. Even when the casing ran out, there was more to do. So I grabbed some 19 mm casing I had been fooling with and finished the meat with that, about 2 1/2 feet.
    This rested overnight in the 36 degree fridge in prep for today's finishing. I strung it to my bars to hang in the smoker with butchers twine at the folds. (I'm dreaming about using Shower Curtain Hangers to make things easier next time.)
    Then pre heated to remove the chill of the fridge and the condensation before lighting up the tray of dust to smoke it. After about an hour, the torch fired off the AMNPS in my "Mailbox Mod" and we were officially Sm00kin my first 5 pound batch of Snack Sticks.

    Ready for the Fridge

    5 pound load of Snack Sausages. 02_16_19.jpg

    Finished. These made two Quart sized Ziplock bags of 6" stix.

    5 pound load of Snack Sausages. 02_17_19.jpg

    Size wise, I really couldn't say there is any size difference between the 17 mm and the 19 mm.
    They taste great! Even my dog is full. :emoji_laughing:
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019
  2. 73saint

    73saint Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    They look great! Like!!
    SonnyE likes this.
  3. gmc2003

    gmc2003 Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Looks like the wait was worth it. Nice job on the sticks Sonny

    Point for sure.
    SonnyE likes this.
  4. TomKnollRFV

    TomKnollRFV Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Good looking Sticks!

    What temp you run them at Sonny? :)
    SonnyE likes this.
  5. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    The sticks look fantastic Sonny!
    Congrats on making the carousel!!
    SonnyE likes this.
  6. crazymoon

    crazymoon Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    SE, Nice job on the sticks !!!!!!
    SonnyE likes this.
  7. Mofatguy

    Mofatguy Smoke Blower

    Looks great! Have you ever used 16mm collagen casings? If so do you like the bigger casings better? Thinking if trying a larger casing myself but not sure I want the larger stick?
    Yours sure look good! May have to order some to try.
    SonnyE likes this.
  8. uncle eddie

    uncle eddie Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I wish we were neighbors haha - would love to try some! Like
    SonnyE likes this.
  9. HalfSmoked

    HalfSmoked Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looks good Sonny would like some pictures of work in progress.

    SonnyE likes this.
  10. zwiller

    zwiller Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    LIKE. Nice job! I think this thread has moved a stuffer into first place over my other smoking tool wants (and SV). I gotta ask: did it go better or worse than you expected?
    SonnyE likes this.
  11. weedeater

    weedeater Smoking Fanatic ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Looks great! Like!

    SonnyE likes this.
  12. HalfSmoked

    HalfSmoked Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks SonnyE for the like it is greatly appreciated.

  13. Co4ch D4ve

    Co4ch D4ve Smoking Fanatic

    Now I need to replace the Kitchenaide stuff with a real stuffer!
    The sticks look great... Point to you!
    SonnyE likes this.
  14. SFLsmkr1

    SFLsmkr1 Legendary Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    And BOOM

    Just like that fresh made smoked sticks..

    SonnyE likes this.
  15. SonnyE

    SonnyE Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks 73Saint, I like them!

    It was a long wait on the stuffer. Still PO'd about that. But the wait is over.

    Thanks Tom. It's a ramping process. Started out low to acclimatize them and dry the sweat off (warm the ropes slightly). Then set at 140° F, and went up 10° each hour. I stopped at 180° F for hours and hours, finally I set it at 200°, but the smoker nor the sticks would go up. At 149° F I decided to look in on my shriveling sticks and merifully put an end to the torture. Then Ice Water Bathed them.

    Thank You, Al. And WOW! Thank You!

    Thanks Crazymoon.

    No, thought about it. But got a package deal on a 3/8" horn X 1 9/16" (Fits the LEM stuffer, Stainless steel) and a package of 5ea - 17 mm Collagen casings. So I bought that. It arrived before the stuffer.
    I was pleasantly surprised how well it worked. So I have the 3 plastic horns, and a skinny steel one.

    I'd share, Eddie. Gladly!

    I'm sorry Warren, I didn't take any. I was too focused on not messing up my first real stuffing. I can say I'm happy using the KitchenAid Pro 600 as my Grinder/Mixer, It performed effortlessly do 5 pounds of a Beef (Stew meat) and Pork shoulder mixture. I did 3# Pork, 2# Beef Stew Meat, For the most part, the meat was still frozen, some hard.
    It ground up fine.
    The LEM stuffer worked flawlessly, and I would recommend it for us home users.
    On mine, there is the slightest tightness to the gearing. I think the backlash could be less. It tends to 'gallop' when free cranking. But not a bother to me. I don't feel it is even worth taking the cover off to look. I want to let the gears lap themselves first, before fooling with it. Maybe a touch of lube would slick it up.
    It came out of the box tight, so not something I did. Has a two year warranty with LEM. So no worries.

    Much, Much easier, SAM. The KA mixing bowl caught and held the meat mixture well. 5 pounds of ground meat almost looked too full.
    Then the KA mixer effortlessly mixed the meat and seasonings. I added 1 cup of Ice Water (from the fridge), just to assure myself the seasonings and cure got folded in well. For as little of added water as I did, it also stuffed easily.
    Anytime the meat was idle, it was in the fridge chillin. I mixed up my Seasoning and Cure #1 while the meat rested from the 3/8" plate grind.
    Then used the stock aluminum paddle to mix the meat, seasoning/cure, and cup of water. Rested the meat again while I cleaned and prepped to stuff. Incidentally, the clamps for the LEM are perfect for our island counter-top. Heavy duty!
    The meat rested while I got the grinder ready for the final grind. I put the plate on that had ~1/8" holes in it.
    Since the mixing bowl was full of meat, I decided to grind into the stuffing cylinder. That actually worked well, I packed the meat down as it piled up. My 5# did all fit, but squished out when I started the ram plate into the cylinder. I probably had ~3-4 ounces to add later, from squish out, and stuffing horn fill.
    The actual stuffing went very well and easily. I simply slid the section of collagen casing on the tube as it comes out of the package, I don't fiddle with it. Then pull the end to start it and twisted it closed without wasting any at all. Once it begins to feed off, the casing remains closed and it's a matter of cranking slowly and feeding the unfolding tube as the meat mixture is extruded into the casing.
    I went slow and easy, stopping to feed the 'rope' onto my little 1/4 sheet pan. It made 12" lays of stuffed casings. Then I merely pinched and folded, making 12" sticks.
    The one tube of casing almost did the 5# load. But I resorted to my 19 mm to finish off the meat. And I added the squish meat.
    I think henseforth, the better plan would be to get going a little bit, backing off the plunger and adding the jettisoned meat, and running the load out. Doing it the way I did was wrong.
    The bottom line was almost all the meat was pushed out. There was a small patty amount left in the port and tube. I decided to fry it for a taste. Not as good as I would have thought, but then, not smoked either. I think the finished stix taste better.

    Thanks Weedeater!
    zwiller likes this.
  16. SonnyE

    SonnyE Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks Coach Dave!
    Well, no, not really. The KA does the grinding and mixing fine for me. I see no reason to change that part.
    But a real stuffer worked wonders over the grinder horns.

    nepas, Rick, Thank You for sharing your experiences and knowledge.
    I think the 5 pound stuffer is probably the cats meow for me, and our SMF home users. Your advice is spot on!
    Personally, I really do not think I would need anything bigger, because I'm just small potatoes, Mr. Small Batch, anyway.
    But the 5 pound stuffer is the MVP in making these little boogers.
    I have my sites set on Kielbasa and Hot Italian Sausages. Daveomak put me onto AC Legg, and I got a package of #103 while twiddling my thumbs waiting for Amazon to S and GOTP on shipping.
    I have a bunch of supplies now. Including another 5 pounds of Beef/Pork chunks to play with.

    I used Butcher twine to hang my ropes from bars made of 1/2" copper pipe I had on hand. I have this idea that hooks might make things go a bit easier. Should I stick with the twine (and stop the whine)? Or do you know of a place for some S-hooks? I tried TSM, and others. So far, shower curtain hangers are looking the best. Crazy as that might seem.
  17. ab canuck

    ab canuck Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Good looking snack sticks Sonny. I see you enjoy the new stuffer. I see a lot of good things coming out of that in the near future. Good job and congrats on the carousel ride.
    SonnyE likes this.
  18. SonnyE

    SonnyE Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thank You, Charlie!
    I've always loved Slim Jim snack sticks. But not the Mustang Ranch price of them.
    Now I can make some any time I'd like.
    This Smoking Meat addiction is multifaceted. :emoji_laughing:

    The stuffer sure made it easier. 5 pounds of meat makes a lotta sticks!
  19. Winterrider

    Winterrider Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    What, no pics of them in smoker ? :emoji_thinking:
    Sonny, how many pipeloads did you have? Able to get all 5# on the top rack of your MES 30?
  20. SonnyE

    SonnyE Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    No, no smoker pictures.
    I'm fresh out of any dowels. So the next best thing was some 1/2" copper pipe.
    I cut two pieces, and put them in the converted MES 40.
    Funny that, I was looking at Hangin Meat Friendly Smokers, wishing I had more vertical room than the MES 30 has to offer. When a new member offered up a free MES 40 with a failed controller. Struck me as a perfect place to put my Inkbird PID, and make a Cold Smoker out of.
    So the racks all live stacked on the bottom position, and the pipes make a good place to hang bacon slabs, or now Sausages as I begin to roll with them.

    This smoken meat thing is a lot like owning a boat. :emoji_thinking:

    You know what a boat is?
    It's a hole in the water you throw money in.
    Only with Smoken, you just burn your money. :emoji_laughing:

    Naw, I like getting hard things back when I spend money, like tools.
    And tools that make great tasting food are a Lot of Fun! :emoji_wink: