Snack stick texture

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by fitch32, May 1, 2015.

  1. Here is the method I used to make my first batch of sticks. I will explain my method and then ask you for help fixing my problem.

                    I used 5 lbs lean venison and 1.5 pounds pork trim. Sent through the grinder with a course plate.

                    Used Lem’s pepper stick seasoning and cure pack with 5 oz water and mixed until tacky.

    Stuffed into 19mm collagen casings and rested in fridge over night covered with saran wrap. ( I didn’t add additional water before stuffing but wished I would have. Maybe part of the problem?)

                    Put on racks of smoker at 130 for 1 hour to dry with my damper open.

                    3 hours of smoke at 130 ¼ damper.

    Then 10 degree increase every so often. I was trying to keep my cabinet temperature and stick IT as close as possible.

                    I opened the cabinet periodically to rotate the racks front to back and up and down.

                    At 152 ice water batch for about 10 minutes.

                    Then rested at room temperature for two hours.

    All in all my sticks turned out pretty good. Suffered a little shrinkage but I think a normal amount. My biggest issue is the texture. I am looking to make stick that has the texture of summer sausage but I am not sure what to change to make that happen. I know moisture can be affected by both process and ingredients. So I am looking for advice. Bigger casings? Soy protein? Quicker cook time by ramping up temp? Different recipe? Maybe stuff right before smoker?

    Thanks for anything that you share!
  2. bkleinsmid

    bkleinsmid Smoking Fanatic

    I use a ratio of 40/60 to 50/50 with my sticks. My first two batches I did like yours and I thought they were too dry. Venison is such a lean meat, I think it needs more pork in the mix.

  3. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I'd say you probably need to do another grind with a finer plate. When I do sticks I do a course grind then season and back through the grinder using a finer plate. I use the course grind though for things like brats, linguica,kielbasa, etc. Sometimes I will do a mixture, say 80% course, 20% fine etc.
  4. Can you better explain what's wrong with the texture. SS and snicks are too very different things. Sticks are good when they are allowed to bloom naturally without a water bath. I LOVE the shrinkage that happens and I'd advise against saran wrapping them the night before also. That will hold in any moisture released.

    If you want that sort of fluffy full bodied texture of a SS, you're going to have to add a binder like NFDM or Soy Protein. I'd say the goal would be for zero shrinkage. I would also go with larger casings to help the reduction of shrinkage.....this explanation getting weird yet? :)
  5. rgautheir20420:

                  Maybe texture isn't the right word here. It is more moisture than anything. I like the moisture I get in my SS. My sticks are just drier than that. Not sure how to best describe it. I want my sticks to feel more like sausage. The reason I put saran on them is to try and keep the moisture in because I don't want them too dry.

    The shrinkage really doesn't bother me at all. My main concern is moisture/texture.
  6. I gotcha. Adding Non Fat Dry Milk or another type of binder will help. But your're still going to run into moisture loss issues. As another poster said also, you'll need a much fattier blend to help the moisture remain. Shoot for something along the lines of 70/30 lean to fat and use the binder next time. 

    Now, here's my best idea to help. The day before, grind and spice/cure your meat mixture. Add 1/2 cup of water per 5 lbs of meat when mixing your spices. Don't add the binder yet here. The next day the moisture will be gone and the paste will be firm from being cured. Add another 1/2 cup of water and 1 cup of binder (I think it's 1 cup per 5 lbs?). Mix again and then stuff and go straight into a warm smoker to begin your drying and smoking. After your to your desired IT, water bath right away and them bloom only for a few hours.
    Last edited: May 1, 2015
  7. My pork trimmings are mostly fat, just a few slivers of meat on them. I would guess I am coming in somewhere between 20 and 25% fat to lean meat. Will that work?
  8. The fat percentages are definitely a preference thing but I think that would work.

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