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Another snack stick thread...

JBPilot

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Joined Sep 29, 2019
Ok so I’ve done a couple of different batches before I joined this board and I was mostly pleased with my last batch. It got some really good reviews from friends who tried them but I’m still struggling with the casing not staying stuck to the meat. I’m not sure if there was too much water, too little water or if the casings were just crap (bought the lem ones from academy).

Sooo I’m changing things up a little this time. I’m using 5lbs of ground deer mixed with bacon that I do myself up to about 10-15% fat content, the LEM snack stick seasoning and cure mix, Walton’s 19mm collagen casings, and some high temp cheddar. I may mix in some jalapeños with the last strand or two. I got this all mixed today. It’ll sit in the fridge until tomorrow morning when I hope to get them stuffed and into the smoker.

My plan for the smoke is to let them hang at ambient temp (30’s) for about an hour to adjust and hopefully not sweat too much. Then probably 100-120* with smoke for 1.5-2 hours, then bump the temp up until I get to 155* internal. After that I’ll let them cool down in the smoker for about an hour then bring them into the house and let them continue to cool off before putting them into a brown paper bag (I got from Kroger for this specific reason) and into the fridge and let them set a couple days before slicing up.

From what I’ve read the letting them set in the fridge for a while is the most glaring difference in what I’ve done in the past but seems that most every experienced SS maker here does. I’m hoping that helps the casings stick to the meat better. I can pull it off and just eat the stick but I really like the snap you get biting into these when they’re done right.

Anyways that’s my plan and here are some gratuitous meat shots. What do y’all think?

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73saint

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Looks like a good start! Can’t have too many snack stick threads...
 

chopsaw

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Plan sounds good . I use sheep casings . If it's cool enough , I hang them in the basement . In summer I'll hold them in the fridge .
 

DIYerDave

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Try putting them into ice cold water for about 15 minutes immediately after your IT hits 155°. Then let them dry / bloom under a fan for an hour or two. Then into the frig in a paper bag.
 

SmokinAl

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I do the same as Dave. I hit them with an ice bath as soon as they hit the target temp.
Al
 

JBPilot

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Joined Sep 29, 2019
Thanks for the replies guys. I may have to try the ice bath. Here are the pictures I took from the stuffing this morning. I really need to get a dedicated stuffer. It almost seems like the last run through emulsifies the meat. Also seemed like it mashed the cheese a lot more than I was expecting. Oh well, we’ll see! I did 2 strings with a bunch of jalapeños in them so that should be interesting! I’ve got them in the smoker just hanging with no heat or smoke right now. I want them to get to a pretty stable temp before I start adding smoke and heat. Also I don’t know why its turning the hanging picture on it’s side... and I’m kinda frustrated that the casings split where I inserted the temp probes. Oh well
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JBPilot

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Joined Sep 29, 2019
Well flavor wise they came out great. Several of the casings felt loose on them but I’m hoping as they dry up they’ll tighten up some. If this doesn’t work I may have to get some of the thickening agents or whatever. I just want to avoid adding too many chemicals to them.

I didn’t cut them up yet, just threw the whole mess into a brown paper bag and into the fridge. Hopefully I can wait a full 24 hours before I pull them out and see how they did. I didn’t have time to do an ice water bath but I did spray them down with cold water, pat dry then lay out with a fan blowing on them. They sat like that for probably two hours while I worked on dinner. (It was a bust so no write ups). Here is the only pic I took after they got pulled.
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DIYerDave

Smoke Blower
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Joined Feb 15, 2018
Looks like you are using your grinder as a stuffer. It is possible that your loose casings are being caused by air trapped inside the casings. Just a thought.
 

JBPilot

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Joined Sep 29, 2019
I am using the grinder as a stuffer (although I’m trying to find a good used stuffer now lol) but always make sure to keep air out of the casings. I may have not stuffed all of them as fully as I should. First taste test today they’re doing great and putting them in the fridge really pulled the casing back tighter on the one that I cut up. I’ll post pictures after I cut them all up this afternoon.
 

JBPilot

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Flavor wise they’re great! I’m disappointed in the cheese that just got smushed. I did some looking for a used stuffer today and couldn’t find one. I was in Academy for something else and they had a “Game Winner” brand (Academy brand) 5lb stuffer on sale for $99.00. It’s got ”Heavy duty steel gears” so hopefully that will help me not have a “meat paste” that’s what’s been getting stuffed into my casings. I’m hoping to make some of these for a dirty santa Christmas gift that my wife’s family plays every year but if I can’t get them to my satisfaction I’ll have to come up with something else.
 
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SFLsmkr1

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Nice lookin sticks.
 

JBPilot

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Joined Sep 29, 2019
Did another batch yesterday. I added 1/2 cup of NFDM and used a dedicated stuffer. HUGE difference!! Best that I’ve ever done! I’m going to post a review thread about the stuffer but I’m impressed so far!
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