Animal-free "meat": Snack sticks or Restructured Jerky?

  • Hi, all. Trying to accommodate a family request by turning a meat substitute (“Beyond Beef” ground beef in this case) into a snack item. According to the package it contains about 16% fat by weight. Would I be better off making snack sticks or restructured jerky with this? Anyone attempted this before?

  • Team Blue

    21cedar I don’t have an answer but I’m curious to see what we can come up with here. I have a morbid curiosity with the new meatless fad but have yet to try it myself. I’ve also seen several ‘mushroom jerky’ recipes lately that have me intrigued as well.

  • Yearling

    Hello, I’m not in favor of the meat substitutes. You may want to check the typical high sodium levels, other ingredients, and the manufacturing process to make them. I’ll stick to the clean and natural wild venison I harvest every year.

  • MT Elk Hunter I don’t see this diminishing the enjoyment of our wild take – if anything, I’m just trying to spread the Walton’s Goodness for everyone to enjoy.

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    21cedar I really want to do this! When do you need to know by? I’m going to buy some Morning Star Grillers crumbles and try adding Carrot Fiber or Sure Gel and see if I can get it to bind together…This could be really cool BUT like MT Elk Hunter says be careful with who eats this, it will have VERY high levels of sodium and I would think you wouldn’t want someone with a heart condition (hypertension) to eat too much of this.

    21cedar is there a seasoning you wanted to try?

  • Jonathon Yes, the sodium count will matter here, for sure. A quick google says that raw ground beef has about 75-100 mg sodium per 4 oz serving. Beyond Beef (the one I’m looking at) has 390 mg per 4 oz serving, and Impossible Burger (hard to find) has 370 mg per 4oz. Morningstar Crumbles has about 500(!) mg per 4 oz serving.

    Off the top of my head, I’m guessing that one of the sweeter seasonings (and/or smoky) would be more compatible with the preexisting sodium content. But you can probably make a better guess, with all the ingredients info at your fingertips!

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    21cedar Hmmm I think Ill pass on the morning star one then and look for something with just 4 times the sodium of ground beef.

    To answer the initial question I imagine that snack sticks is going to work better as it will at least have a casing to keep it together. Now, I don’t think this is going to work as I dont thing we are going to be able to get anything to bind together. My plan is to just keep adding more and more sure gel until we get some sort of bind and then laying them on racks for smoking…I dont even know what kind of smoke schedule to use as the main ingredient has already been cooked and any proteins will have been denatured. I’ll keep everyone up to date on how this goes!

  • Jonathon Some additional thoughts: I noticed that off the shelf Slim Jims contain 480 mg sodium per finished 1 oz stick. Let’s suppose there was 50% loss in water weight, then that was originally 240 mg per oz, or 960 mg sodium per 4 oz serving before cooking. That may actually leave some wiggle room on the seasoning side.

    On the binding side, it may be a little out there, but I wonder if something like transglutaminase might help. Not the first thing I’d try, but it is available.

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    21cedar Yeah transglutaminase (meat glue) should work. Moo Gloo is a brand that is even sold at Walmart. Maybe Ill try it, though I’ll probably try it without it first.

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    21cedar Experiment #1 is in the smoker! I used gardein meat crumbles to try to make a snack stick, I added some Taco Snack Stick, as I am doing a venison video right now with that seasoning, and realized there was going to be an issue right away! There is just no way to make them bind together. I added a little sure gel and some water to see what happened but nothing would bind together, so I added some more sure gel and still no bind. Then I decided to try some carrot fiber, now, the carrot fiber did start to form a paste like substance but still, the crumbles themselves were not binding with anything, they were just being “suspended” in the paste. I ended up adding 2 oz of carrot fiber and 3 oz of sure gel to a 13.2 oz bag of the gardein beefless ground. I stuffed them into collagen casings and tied off the ends to prevent it from spilling out and we shall see what we see…but I do not have high hopes right now!

  • Team Blue

    Jonathon You might try using some window caulking. lol

  • Joe Hell Would this call for silicone or acrylic? 😉
    Jonathon Thanks for the update! None too promising, it sounds like – but I appreciate the effort. In the meantime, I’ll be ordering some snack stick seasonings and see if I can get it to work with Beyond Beef, which might be better behaved than crumbles-type products.

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    21cedar Yeah, total failure, the texture goes to sawdusty. Adding some pork fat might have helped but then what would the purpose be! Maybe you will have better luck with beyond meat, let us know!

    And I am going to post this on the post that made us order it but WOW Taco Snack Stick seasoning is awesome!

  • Team Blue

    21cedar I’d go with silicone. I was going to suggest the Beyond products as well. One of these days I will get around to buying some to compare to the real thing.

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