Questions - making snack sticks

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by dwdunlap, Oct 6, 2016.

  1. I want to make - eat - snack sticks. A little background... I will be the only one to eat the sticks. Rest of family will object because they're not store bought and smoked. Their loss!

    I'm trying to figure out how to utilize what I have for equipment. I don't want to invest in big equipment such as grinders and stuffers. I want to stay with my Kitchenaid grinder and stuffer until I see how I like homemade sausage and then consider if I need better equipment.

    In reading here I don't see what I need to make (stuff) the sticks. How to obtain the right filler tube to fit my machine and also what size hog casings to buy. It sounds like I can also buy pre-blended seasoning to start with. I have Cure1.

    Does anyone know where I should turn to get the right parts for my KA?

    Suggestions on seasoning?

    I have read how to deal with drying, slow smoking, ice baths and handling the stuffed sticks. But haven't seen how to use the KA and the stuffing tube and casings needed. I'll bet I'll get the help to get started.

    Many thanks in advance..

    David in Richardson, TX 
  2. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You can get the KA stuffer tubes at some Bed Bath Beyond stores. With casings with the KA tubes you will need 22mm collagen. Your KA is great for a mixer and grinder but really sux for a stuffer. You will find out. For mixing your meat with the KA use the dough hook.

    When you smoke just keeps your starting temps low around 130, bumping up slowly until your get a smoker IT of 170. If you exceed 170 your asking for a fat-out of the sticks. IT of your sticks should be 152.

    Yes there loss because store bought sticks are yucky.

    Good Luck
  3. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi David and welcome to the madness!

    You can certainly get started with the KA and you can get the smaller tubes on Amazon for the grinder/stuffer attachment.

    I'm in the Richardson/Plano area as well, so I would recommend that you get some snack stick mixes from Academy or BPS first, and then branch out into making your own flavors.  Their mixes come with cure #1, so you'll be good to go.  BPS and Academy both carry collogen casings which is what I'd recommend you start with.  For natural casings, you'll want small diameter sheep casing for the smack sticks.

    If I can be of any assistance, just drop me a line.
  4. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If you want to try with the KA you are going to probably need to buy a stuffing tube that fits the LEM or Kitchener stuffers. Look for 19-22 mm sheep or collagen casings for snack sticks.

    With your KA it is going to be tough to do sticks. You will need two people. One to feed the meat, one to deal with the casing.

    As for seasonings there are a ton of great recipes here and since you have the cure look at some of them and pick one that sounds good. mix up your spice add the appropriate amount of cure and make some sausage. Should you buy a kit and it comes with cure, use what it came with and follow the directions outlined by the manuacturer.

    Once again There's tons of great recipes here. And they all vary mainly do to personal preferences. Don't use google use the search feature on this site. It works great. Search for some of these members threads:

    Chef Willie
  5. Wow! Great info and so FAST!

    CrankyBuzzard suggested I look at seasoning at Academy or BPS. I'm not familiar with either source. Are they local stores around here or online?

    Also, some of you mention using 19-22 mm sheep or collagen casings. I understand the sheep casings as they are smaller but I am not familiar with collagen casings. More replies mention collagen. Is collagen prefered and if so, why?

    I'm getting eager to try making sticks. I'm not yet walking following knee replacement but I hope to be soon so I want to have what I need on hand when I can get around better.

    Again thanks for all the support!

    David in Richardson, TX  
  6. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    CB has you, Academy, BPS has LEM mixes. Collagen are easier to work with for a first time, less frustrating.

    And y'all are neighbors even. How cool is that
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2016
  7. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Colagen can be a bit easier to handle. But in my opinion not as good eating wise. In fact I will peel the collagen casing off.
  8. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I do the same. some of my friends just dont like the collagen even though its edible.
  9. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Academy is on 75 at Springcreek in Plano.  Bass Pro Shops is on I-30 in Rockwall at the Lake Ray Hubbard Bridge.

    I'm with Dirtsailor, I generally peel off the collagen, but most eat it.  It's an easy one to start with.  

    What major cross street are you at?
  10. okie362

    okie362 Smoking Fanatic

    Cabelas is in Allen as well.  
  11. uzikaduzi

    uzikaduzi Meat Mopper

    i want to echo how poor of an experience it is stuffing with the KA... if you are extremely frustrated with how long it takes and how finicky it seems while stuff, don't give up on making this stuff, just plan on eventually getting something better to stuff with.
  12. I did one batch of hot links with the KA and yes it was a tussle and took three of us. Then we learned to lightly oil the the tube and the stuffing was much easier and quite successful. The hot links... not so much! No longer taking up space in the freezer!!

    I plan to make a small test batch of sticks to test out, proportioned using one of Chef Jimmy's formula. I'll find out how the collagen casing and the new small feed tube work with the KA.

    Sausage making sounds like a fun hobby and diversion from holding down my recliner watching the Tube. I may not like all the work involved to making sausage and why I don't want to invest in big equipment. The last thing I should eat is sausage so I have to find a recipe others like and share. Saving back a small supply for me of course.

    Still wondering which casing to use. Collagen or natural sheep? What is the advantage of one over the other?

    David in Richardson, TX 
  13. uzikaduzi

    uzikaduzi Meat Mopper

    i wasn't saying not to use your KA to stuff... it's smart not to buy more equipment until you know if you want to keep doing it... i was just saying that if the stuffing part makes you want to quit, know that it is pretty terrible in the KA compared to a vertical stuffer... if you don't mind it on the KA, know that a vertical stuffer will make it that much better. I stuff ~5 pds in like 5-10 minutes by myself including putting it together, lubing it and putting the casings on the tube.

    as far as collagen vs sheep... sheep is much much better if you're going to leave it on. it is pretty delicate compared to either collagen or hog casings, but i think following this makes it much easier to work with.

    collagen is going to much easier to work with but you won't be able to twist links and have them stay twisted without twine or rings.
  14. Of course I am thinking back to beer tavern days and eating a few Slim Jim's so that is what I have in mind for me to make. I'll have my daughter pick up a few next time she is at the store so I can remember the taste and texture of the casing. Any guess what they use?  What do you use for stick casings?

    David in RIchardson, TX
  15. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I prefer to use natural casings for any sausage that I will be eating the casing. I don't like the texture of the collagen casing. which is why I peel it off prior to eating the sausage. As mentioned collagen casings are easier to handle and since you are using the KA I'd recommend collagen for your first go. You should read this thread to get you a head start on natural casings before you use them:
  16. uzikaduzi

    uzikaduzi Meat Mopper

    slim jims are collagen cased,
  17. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I have not tried this recipe, but it is said to be a Slim Jim clone. I have read several others and they all have similar contents and they all mention the 20+ hour low temp smoke.

    How to make it

    • Mix all ingredients well and let sit for an 30 min.
    • Stuff into casings.
    • Smoke with your favorite wood atl 150-155°. If you smoke for 20-24 hours you will increase the tanginess of the taste. For less tangy, cut the smoking time in half.
    • Makes approx 100 feet of sticks.
    • To test the taste make a small patty before stuffing and fry to test the flavor. This will give you the basic flavor
  18. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Dave, Hope the knee is improving.  What recipe did you use on the Hot links and what was the issue that you were not happy? Just curious....JJ
  19. I am somewhat of a newbie here and I hesitate to name a recipe I didn't like. I will send to you PM.

    Someone more experienced might might make this recipe with better results and enjoyed the taste. I didn't. Mine were very hot but not what I expected. I was looking for sausages that mimicked Earl Campbell store bought hot links. I chose this recipe as it used all beef and perhaps that is why it was so dry and not juicy like I was expecting. 

    I don't want to insult the recipe when others may love it. Live and learn.

    David in Richardson, TX
  20. I use a lot of premix seasoning products and have had good luck with them. sometimes I will add stuff but if its to hot that is hard to mellow out. I always take a sample and fry in a pan or bake in the oven to do a taste test then adjust flavor from there before smoking.

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