So a little birdie told me that last batch of stix (which were really mild) My niece and her hubbie ate and didn't share with the rug rats. Can you even imagine such! BiL and baby Sister are headed Memorial Day to play with her daughter and her grand babies so I thought I'd try sending some more. I guess I am doing good, Sister says they love sticks and will fight for 'em and the silly girls will get a pizza and eat the pepperoni and cheese and leave the rest of the pizza (my Mom would never have allowed that) LOL. So I got 5 lbs. of shoulder roast (on sale), and a pound of pork. The pork was really fatty so I made it 4.5 ground beef and .5 pork. When making stix, I use the finest plate I have. I never had a lot of guidance about plate sizes. My rule of thumb, "The bigger the casing the bigger the plate". And actually I don't usually even think about it. I chunk up the meat and add the seasoning except the cure, I always ad it with a bit of water just before stuffing. Here's what I am trying, looking for a pepperoni taste. 4.5 Beef (fine ground) .5 Fatty Pork (fine ground) 6 T Butchers and Packers Pepperoni spice 4 T Powdered Buttermilk 1 t AmesPhos Yellow Mustard Seed ( Why, Because it makes everything better!) I ground it all together with the spices above and allowed it to sit over night in the nice cool reefer! After it goes in the reefer and the grinder is cleaned up, I pulled out the bowl of bags of casing, sheeps this time. I seperate, wash and inspect the casing and leave in a bowl of water next to the ground meat in the reefer. Then the next day added 3/4 C of water with 1t cure #1 dissolved. Worked it in. It was a bit more water than usual, I don't know if it was the meat or the spices but it needed the water to get it thru the stuffer. Actually could have used more water. Stuffed stix, back in the reefer....... Oh and the dirty dishes.....LOL I could make a lot more with a swamper to clean behind me....LOL Can you see that yellow tupperware bowl? If you ever see on for sale anywhere buy it, it low profile so it fits easily in any reefer and holds 10# of ground meat. I have two and love 'em! So today, I was amazed how dry the stixs casing were just out of the reefer. I loaded the dowels w/ raw stix and the A-MAZ-IN Oval with corn cob and apple. Preheat the smoker to 275, light the oval, let everything mellow out. Hang the stix, set the oval on the grate, leave the door on latch, and set the temp to 150 and walk away. 3 hours later I reset the temp to 160 degrees. And an hour later............... I'll cut 'em up tomorrow and seal 'em up. And BTW, I had to taste...... I am impressed! The Ames makes 'em plumper with a little twang, I am not sure if the buttermilk brought anything to the table <shrugs> But it most definitely has a pepperoni taste to the stix. Thanks for checking it out.