Deer snack sticks

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by jpbsmoke, Dec 22, 2015.

  1. Did my first batch of snack sticks today on my mes 40. I used 3lb of deer burger and 2lb of beef 80/20 with cabelas hot snack stick kit and added high temp pepper jack cheese. I cooked them for an hr @ 130. Then smoked for 3 hrs with hickory. I jumped the temp up to 175 to finish them. I pulled them off the smoker and let them hang to cool. They turned out a little dry and the casing turned out to be a little tough. Will a water bath soften the casings or did I mess up somewhere? Any help would be appreciated.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2015
  2. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    What was your final IT of the sticks ?
  3. 152
  4. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    My personal opinion is you need more fat than the 80/20 beef mixed in cause deer is so lean. I think with only 20% fat is the reason they dried out on you ! Just my opinion !

    Edit: This also depends on the deer burger if it was mixed with anything when ground or if it was just the deer meat ground up alone. I have a guy I work with that grinds his whole deer but adds nothing to it fat wise ! I think most add some fat to theirs though. If there was some added to yours, do you know the percentage ?

    Maybe some of the sausage gurus will see this and chime in !
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2015
  5. crazymoon

    crazymoon Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    JP, I agree with WHB about your meat mix. You needed a bit more fat in the mix as lack of fat would make your sticks dry.The casings may not be tender due to a short soak instead of a day long soak. Use the search bar to find Boykjos' post on proper casing handling/soaking. I will take those sticks off your hands though as I'm sure they will be good ! [​IMG]  
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2015
  6. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I just did some over the weekend as well.. I mix mine 70/30 .. 70 % Venison 30% pork butt .. for the first time I added NFDM (non fat dry milk)... as my previous sticks have been a little dry.. the NFDM took care of that problem... as for the casings... Myself, using collagen casings.. I have never been able to get a casing that is soft/easy snap... just the nature of the beast ...
  7. how much nfdm do you add per pound?
  8. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I go 70-30, or 75-25 venison to pork butt. For Nfdm I use a 1/2 cup per five pounds of meat.
  9. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    myself... I used 1 cup per 5 lbs... this what I was told and read...

    Case... 1/2 cup per five lbs did good for you ?? a whole cup did seem like a little much ...
  10. So its looking like I need some more fat and some nfdm. Are you supposed to do an ice bath with snack sticks or doesn't it matter? Also I mixed 1/2lb of the high temp cheese, is that not enough or did it melt? It seemed like a lot when I was mixing it?
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2015
  11. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    it's recommended 1 lb of cheese for 10 lbs of meat... a little note... I don't mix the NFDM and cheese in until right before I stuff... so mix cure and seasoning and let sit overnight in refer... mix NFDM and cheese when ready to stuff
  12. lancer

    lancer Smoking Fanatic

    If you deer burger was lean and without added fat your final fat content was only 8% which is way too lean.  My family prefers about 20% fat in most sausage and 15% fat for burger.  We use venison and either pork or beef fat to keep as much venison flavor as possible.  We prefer pork fat for most venison sausage as we think beef fat has a more assertive flavor and masks more of the venison flavor.

    While high temp cheese can be added at up to 10% we prefer somewhere closer to 5-7% and as you experiment you'll benefit from keeping good notes.  We've never felt the need for NDFM so I can't speak to that but I am planning to try some just to see what happens.

    Fat melting temperatures will vary by the animals diet, age and what part of the carcass the fat comes from.  Some pork fat can start to melt at 85 degrees or less and some beef fat can melt at as low as 105 degrees.  At any rate, all beef fat will be melting by 125 degrees which for a snack stick in particular argues (in my alleged brain cell anyway) for applying smoke at well below the 130 you used and raising the temperature quickly to about 20-25 degrees above your target internal temperature. 

    After surface drying snack sticks (we use 20-22mm sheep casings) we smoke as cool as possible and then bump the temperature to 170-175 until an IT of 150.  I've have also had good luck poaching sausage too as it allows the gentlest heat and very precise temperature control.

    Have a great Christmas.

  13. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Snack stick collogen casings will be a little tough depending on quality and freshness. I see collogens to be tougher when beef or deer is used. Adding Pork gives a better result in casing softness.

    A water bath would allow you to remove the casing from the snack stick after it has cooled and bloomed. They can easily be removed by peeling it off while the snack stick keeps its same appearance. Although if you do a water bath and don't remove the casing, they will become chewier........ You can dry the snack sticks in a dehydrator or place them in a paper bag and place them in the fridge. The will become more brittle and easier to chew......... If you are looking for a snap when you bite into a snack stick then I suggest you use a natural sheep casing. Buy quality casings and stay away from home packs packed in salt. I recommend butcher and packer
  14. I appreciate the tips and the good info thank you everyone! I'll have to give it another try soon.

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