Beef Stick problems please help driving me crazy.

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robert kruzan

Original poster
Mar 11, 2011
I will try and explain best I can,I am trying to make beef sticks in the oven,I am using a pre mixed kit with 21mm casings,I am cooking at a temp of 180 for 4 hours or until the center of sticks reaches 158-160 ok then I remove and run under cold water and I cut one open to see the results and to my suprise it looks like a meatloaf in the middle rather then a beef stick,this isnt the first this has happen to me i get this result every attempt,is there anyone out there that can tell me why I am getting these results?
Hey Robert, welcome to SMF!

As was suggested above, do a search for "Bearcarver" he has a step by step tutorial beef stick recipe in his signature that many of us have tried and it is delicious.  I'm not a sausage expert, but it sounds like your temp of 180° is too high, since I have started messin' with sausage I have learned to start with a temp of 140° and slowly raise it to 180°, my beef sticks have taken 7 1/2-8 hours to reach an internal of 152°.

Are you sure your thermometer is accurate? If you haven't ever checked it  then you should stick it in boiling water and it should read around 212 degrees.
Great advise right there!

Another would be is a Thermapen will be your friend when doing sticks cause sticks generally along the outside walls of the oven will be cooking faster than sticks more centrally located on the ovens racks. We often finish sticks in the oven after smoking to free the smoker for another batch of sticks. When sticks start getting close to the 155º to158º area you need to be constantly taking temps in sticks located in different areas of the oven and a Thermopen will get you results in a second or two.

Another thought is to check your oven temp with a reliable thermometer, your oven may be running warmer than you think.

Over done meat sticks work great to chunk up and add to your next batch of chili, this way you at least salvage them!
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Ok thanks for the replies my temp checker may have some problems,so you all think i may be starting out at to high of temps,i only put a few sticks in to see the results,I will look to see if I have another thermometer also I am going to start out in my smoker at 145-150 degrees im hoping I get differant results.Thanks

Start lower temp like 140 and work up to 175*. 180 is way to high to start with and what your getting is a fat-out of the sticks. This will produce a dry crumbly stick. Also the IT of your sticks are to high. IT should be between 147-150.

My post was in response to you using an oven. If you are using a smoker then my reply will be different. For a smoker I put the sticks in for an hour @ 130º for a drying time on the sticks, then 2 hours adding smoke with a smoker temp of 150º and then 170º to 190º til you reach your desired internal meat temp.
Man looks like you know what your doing,looks good nepas.I switched over to the smoker and am using a hanging method rather then laying on racks my starting temp was 130 for one hour and I just now kicked temp to 140 they are still moist on the outside and one has a liquid pocket at the bottom of the casing,also it seems more swelled up then in the oven is this normal?I will move temp to 150 Mossy.Thanks
Good advice so far. What do ya mean by looks like meatloaf? When I think meatloaf I think moist ground meat. You mentioned a liquid pocket, if it's water you didn't mix it long enough to get a good bind and if it's rendered fat then you're running to hot. Did you check your thermometer in boiling water, What do you use to check smoker temp's?

And could you share your recipe? It might help solve you problem.
I cook mine slow also 100 120 140 160 180 each for about 2hrs.  Sometimes I start at 120.  I pulled mine out at IT of 162°F and I got pockets of fat also that I needed to cut out.  Think I'm leaving them in to long?

I cook mine slow also 100 120 140 160 180 each for about 2hrs.  Sometimes I start at 120.  I pulled mine out at IT of 162°F and I got pockets of fat also that I needed to cut out.  Think I'm leaving them in to long?


Thats called a Fat-Out or fat cavitation between the casing and meat. Cavitation can also happen inside the meat if there is an air pocket. Air pockets are common with home stuffers because of using manual stuffers. Big companies have an automatic follower behind the collagen casing which help feed the casing evenly with the meat. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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