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Smoke schedule for snack sticks...Issues!

jrypka

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I did a batch of 18MM snack sticks last weekend. 5 pounds lean venison, 4 pounds ground pork (probably around 80/20 on the pork). I have a MES 30 and I fit about 6.5 pounds total in there. I smoked for: 1hr at 125, 1 hr at 140, added a water pan and smoke from here on, 2 hrs at 160, and another 4 hrs at 180 before I hit 165 internal. It took me 8 hrs to get those 18mm sticks cooked and they turned out pretty dry. I used carrot fiber as a binder and a premix seasoning from B&P.

Should 18MM sticks take 8 hours? I assume they need to go to 165 since it is a ground meat product and uses wild game.

On a side note, I mixed up more than I could fit in the smoker, so I put the rest on the Traeger pellet grill. Kept them between about 125-140 for an hour, and then had an oopsies and my grill went to 350. By the time I got it back down the sticks were over 165 internal. They smoked for less than 2 hours. I had no issues with fat-out, and the product is definitely moister than the ones from my MES.

What changes should I make in my cook schedule? Remove the water pan? Smoke low for 2-3 hours then go up quickly to get them cooked before I lose all the moisture? I did “everything wrong” with the Traeger, yet they turned out better than following the smoke schedule in the smoker. Any suggestions? I'm hoping to do summer sausage this weekend and if 18MM took 8hrs, 2.5" logs will take a long time...
 

oberst

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I never run my temp that high. I start timing my sticks when they hit 145 degrees and then pull them after 4 minutes, which is a minute longer than the time/temp tables require. Sometimes I’ll go to 148 degrees and then time for a couple minutes. When I have gone to 152 degrees, which requires 33 seconds, it occurred to me that I might have been 10 minutes or more at 145+ degrees. Way more than necessary. Going to 165, with my smoker, would possibly be hours of overcooking.
 

SWFLsmkr1

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You need more time on the lower temp and increase temps at 10* intervals.

My time and temp scale
By Rick B on Thursday June 4, 2015 at 7:51 am.
Here is the temp and time scale i use for most of my sausage making. I use this for chubs and sticks. Please note that YOUR RESULTS MAY VARY.

Outside weather conditions can also have a big part of how long it takes the meat to target IT.

TRY NOT TO EXCEED SMOKER TEMPS OF 170

I do not use a meat probe while smoking, the probe can cause fat cavitation and give false readings. Use a Thermapen to check IT of meat. I know that opening the door is going to increase your time, just the nature of the game.

Hang your stuffed casings at room temp for 2 hours to dry and set. Have your smoker pre heated at 130* I use a TSM 30 lb Smoker and Pit Boss vertical pellet smoker. Keep your top vent open. Closing the vent off will increase moisture inside your smoker and give you an unpleasant discoloration on your product. Remember this is semi dry sausage, not dripping prime rib.
1. Hang in smoker at 130* for 2 hours (no smoke)
2. 140* for 1.5-2 hrs smoke (Use of a water pan is your call)
3. 150* for 2.5 hrs (smoke opt)
4. 160 for 2.5-3 hrs (smoke opt) check meat IT here from the top of the chubs. You may have a stall in this time period.
5. Increase smoke temp to 170* (opt smoke) For 3-4 hrs. Check IT again, You should be close to your target IT of 152.
6. If needed increase smoker to 172-174* for 1-2 hrs. DO NOT GO HIGHER OR YOU WILL RISK A FAT-OUT. CHECK IT OFTEN
7. If you dont have time to do a complete smoke you can use hot water to finish. DO NOT EXCEED A WATER TEMP OF 165 AND MOVE THE CHUBS/STICKS AROUND IN THE WATER. Cold water bath after your IT is up to you.
 

chopsaw

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I do it like post 3 . Matter of fact , that's where I learned it . I put a bit of my own spin on it now , but follow what he says and that will help .
Hang your stuffed casings at room temp for 2 hours to dry and set.
That part is very important in my opinion . I go longer for chubs .

I have a MES 30
Me too .
Make sure you know what your temps are inside the smoker . They can be all over the place in those , and be lower than the display .
I switched to a PID controller , and cook times dropped by a couple hours .
If you do the chubs this weekend , start a thread and check in if you have questions .
 

SWFLsmkr1

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I went through 5 MES POJ. Masterbuilt told me they will not honor any more replacement tag returns even in warranty. They said that the smoker was not made to be used like i was using it. This was years and years ago.
 

jrypka

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Joined Nov 11, 2020
You need more time on the lower temp and increase temps at 10* intervals.

My time and temp scale
By Rick B on Thursday June 4, 2015 at 7:51 am.
Here is the temp and time scale i use for most of my sausage making. I use this for chubs and sticks. Please note that YOUR RESULTS MAY VARY.
SFL, I don't disagree with you that more time on the lower temps is good, and I will prolong my lower temps. However, in this particular case, I have a hard time believing that was the problem since the batch that was running on the Traeger concurrently where we had an 'oopsie' and the temp went to 350 before i got it back down, with a total cook time of less than 2 hours actually turned out better in this case with no fat-out. Now, I don't intend to make that a habit and I want to get it right in the MES with low temps over a long period, but it just seems that in this case something else went wrong in the MES.

Did I simply overcook?
Should I have used more water in my recipe?
Do I need a different binder? I used carrot fiber.
I know I need to figure out a way to hang vs coil on the racks, even though I left space between the coils.
Anything else?

Thanks all of you for helping a new guy out!
 

chopsaw

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Anything else?
Make sure you know what your temps are inside the smoker . They can be all over the place in those , and be lower than the display .
I know I need to figure out a way to hang vs coil on the racks
I added angle at the top , and slide a rack in there with s hooks . I have the older rack mounts , and can also use a dowel rod on the top mount . Just depends on the length .
20190429_152058.jpg 20180630_110539.jpg
 

jrypka

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I added angle at the top , and slide a rack in there with s hooks . I have the older rack mounts , and can also use a dowel rod on the top mount . Just depends on the length .
View attachment 474670 View attachment 474671
Thanks. I forgot to mention I have a Maverick 4 probe thermometer. I had one ambient probe on the top rack and one on the bottom. The MES was running about 20 degrees below display temp and the top was a bit warmer than the bottom. I adjusted the MES control up to 200 to get smoker temps of 175-180.

How did you add the angle? Sheet metal screws? I made dowl sticks that will slide in the top rack slide, but would prefer to mount higher like you did.
 

SWFLsmkr1

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Butcher Packer has bell shaped SS smoke sticks that work well. The bell shape keeps the links from touching.
 

chopsaw

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How did you add the angle?
I have it shown on here some where . I pre drilled the angle , the used a 2 x 4 for a spacer against the top of the smoker . So you dont have to try and measure . Used 1/2 " self tapping wafer head screws . Just go slow .
 

chopsaw

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J jrypka Found it . Several ideas here . I show how I did mine starting post 23 .
 

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