Gamebird Gourmet Pheasant Snack Sticks

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

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    Gamebird Gourment Pheasant Snack Sticks

    Learn how to make homemade pheasant snack sticks with Walton's and Meatgistics. Watch the video, read the guide, and then post your questions or comments below

    Pork Fat
    Grind Without Fat
    Protein Extraction
    Stuffing Snack Sticks
    Finished Pheasant Snack Sticks

    What Is A Snack Sticks?

    Snack Sticks are a meat snack and semi-dried sausage that is stuffed into a smoked collagen casing and then hung in a smokehouse for cooking. Many Snack Stick will have a pH between 4.5 and 5.2 to give it some shelf stability and the classic tangy flavor. They are most often made from pork and beef but almost any protein will work when making a snack stick

    Meat Block

    10 lb of Pheasant Breast
    2.5 lb of pork straight pork fat or 10 lb of untrimmed pork butts
    1 Bag of Willies Snack Stick Seasoning 13.5 oz for 12.5 lb
    1 oz of Sure Cure (Included with purchase) 14 grams for 12.5 lb
    Water (2 lb per 25 lb batch of meat) 16 oz of water for a 12.5 lb batch

    OPTIONAL Additives
    1 Bag of Sure Gel 3 oz for 12.5 lb
    Encapsulated Citric Acid 2 oz for 12.5 lb


    Walton’s #22 Meat Grinder
    Walton’s 50 lb Mixer
    Walton’s 11 lb Sausage Stuffer

    Casing Preparation

    We are using 19mm Smoke Collagen Casings which will fit easily over our 12mm stuffing tube. These casings require no preparation, simply take them out of the package and put them on the stuffing tube.


    Make sure your pheasant breast is properly trimmed and all bones have been removed. Start out with mostly frozen breast, we had it frozen to the point where we had to use a serrated knife to cut it into chunks that would fit down the grinder and that worked wonderfully.


    Make sure your plates and knives are sharp and lubricated with white oil. Grind all Pheasant breasts through a 3/8" plate one time. Then grind again through a 1/8’ plate and add pork fat at this point. The fact that it was still partially frozen sped up the 2nd ground significantly.

    Pork Fat -

    If you are adding just pork fat to your meat block you should add somewhere between 20-25% of the weight of your pheasant meat in fat. In this case that meant we added 2.5 lb and we added that while we were grinding, this allows it to start mixing in with the pheasant as it grinds. We also made sure the pork
    fat was almost frozen to help it grind faster and better.

    Pork Butts -

    If you are adding pork butts make sure that they are untrimmed, meaning that they have a good fat cap on them and that the skin is removed off of the pork butt. You will be able to tell if the skin is still on by looking for small hair follicles if you see that then the skin is still on and you will need to trim that off while leaving as much fat as possible on the meat.

    Meat Mixing

    Next, you need to mix the seasoning and cure into your meat. To do this you can either use a meat mixer or do it by hand. Because this is a product that we are going to cure and smoke we need to achieve a high level of protein extraction so doing this with your hands is difficult but can be done. When using a mixer add the meat to the mixer, then the seasoning and cure and finally the water, you will want to mix in both directions until all seasoning and cure have been mixed in and you have good protein extraction. You will know that a good level of protein extraction has been achieved when the meat is sticky and tacky if you can pull a handful of it apart and it stretches that is a good sign.

    Sausage Stuffing

    Next, choose the largest stuffing tube that your casings will fit over and begin stuffing. Stuff until the casings are full and smooth but leave yourself enough room on the end to close with a hog ring.

    If you can just faintly see a swirl pattern running down the casing that means you have stuffed them correctly if that pattern is obvious then they are understuffed which will lead to excessively wrinkled casings and an odd texture.

    If you cannot see that pattern at all then you have overstuffed the casings and you run a risk of the casings popping when you hang them in the smokehouse.


    If you added Encapsulated Citric Acid or other cure accelerators you need to go directly from stuffing to smoking. If you did not use a cure accelerator of some sort then after you’ve stuffed everything the product has to be held in the refrigerator overnight to allow the cure time to work.

    Thermal Processing & Smoking

    Set up your smoker and hang your sausage on smoke sticks or lay on racks and smoke at
    125F for 1 hour
    145F for 1 hour
    160F for 2 hours
    180F until internal meat temp of 165F

    When they have reached 165° internal temperature remove from the smoker and put them in an ice bath to bring the heat down and help set the casing.

    A water bath is not sufficient for this, the water needs to be ice water or shower them with a fan pointed at the hanging sticks.


    Lastly, leave them out at room temperature for about an hour before vacuum packing them, this will ensure you don’t get additional moisture in the vacuum bag which would affect the shelf life of your meats.

    Wrap up

    The light taste of pheasant really makes finding pork fat instead of pork butts a big difference, the pork fat has little flavor and light color to it, allowing the seasoning and the pheasant to stand out!

    Other Notes

    Depending on your pH and your Water Activity your sticks might be shelf-stable but without a way to test this you should vacuum pack and refrigerate these and since these are wild game they wouldn’t be considered “shelf-stable” technically.

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  • Team Orange Power User Veteran Wisconsin

    Actually watched this one twice. Without a doubt the most concise video to date. Well done!
    Even the part about marrying the plate and knife. 👍

    On the knives…Is there any significant difference between the straight and curved?

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    PapaSop I think that there is but it isn’t necessarily the fact that they are straight or curved. The straight ones have an insert on the blade that is sharpenable and are made from a higher quality metal so they do a better job in my opinion at least. Thank you for the compliment, we are starting to figure out the best way to do these! Eventually, all of the older videos will go away and everything will be reshot in this easier to digest format!

  • Team Blue Regular Contributors Canning Green Mountain Grill Veteran Cast Iron

    Jonathon I watched it twice also and agree with PapaSop this is by far the most informative video to date…I wish there was videos like this when I first started yrs ago…GREAT video Jon!!

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    blackbetty61 and PapaSop Both have ensured their stockings will be filled with more than coal as far as I am concerned!

    If either of you has time could you watch the Venison Snack Stick and let me know if you feel the same about that one? We are getting ready to do A LOT of wild game processing videos and I just want to make sure that we are on the right track.

  • Team Blue Regular Contributors Green Mountain Grill Masterbuilt

    Jonathon I really liked this video as well and I think you did the same format on the Venison snack stick video as well. You can tell a definite difference between these and past “How to” style videos you guys have done. To me it is obvious that the quality of the content and presentation is getting better with each video you guys put out. Keep up the great work!

  • Team Orange Power User Veteran Wisconsin

    Excellent. Just as well done. Definitely on track with this format. Couple of side notes.

    Sanitation: Great idea on this. Something I do every time no matter what type of meat. Perhaps worth a mention in all videos.

    1/16 plate? Have never used one and didn’t know they were an option. 1/8 is smallest I have and so far yet to use it. Plan on using it for hot dogs after the holidays. Does Walton’s even sell them?

  • Team Blue Regular Contributors Green Mountain Grill Masterbuilt

    PapaSop I forgot about the 1/16th plate thing, I don’t even think that is a thing. My guess is he either meant a 1/8th or 3/16th but gave us a combination of both.

  • Team Blue Regular Contributors Canning Green Mountain Grill Veteran Cast Iron

    Jonathon the venison video is equally as good as the pheasant one…I like the way you explain everything in detail in these new improved videos…great job

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    PapaSop i said it at least 3 times that week for some unknown reason! Absolutely should have been 1/8 so…not a perfect video

  • Team Orange Power User Veteran Wisconsin

    Jonathon no worries!

  • Yearling

    Jonathon said in Gamebird Gourment Pheasant Snack Sticks:

    Venison Snack Stick

    I’ve never used encapsulated citric acid, but it sounds like a good addition to stick making for me. In the video you did not specify how the acid is added. Is it dissolved in water or added dry? In the note section of the write-up, if I understand the process correctly, you may want to specifically add that the sticks should be smoked immediately after stuffing.

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    MT Elk Hunter You would add it during the last 60 seconds of the mixing process to prevent the encapsulation from rupturing and I wouldn’t mix it with water first. The encapsulation wqill stand up to room temperature water without any problem but I’d just add it dry as you are mixing. I had verbiage saying something like “If you added ECA you can skip this step” But I am going to change the order so that is first and a little more clear on what you can skip, I can see someone getting confused and thinking that they can skip the first step of smoking. Thanks!

  • Yearling

    Jonathon When you think about the order changes, don’t forget to mention that you prefer to add the encapsulated citric acid dry. In addition, if you update your already excellent “Cured Sausage: 202 Using Encapsulated Citric Acid” viedo, think about clarifying your dry preference. About 45-60 seconds in the video, the encapsulated citric acid is added to water and the comment is “leave that little bit of cotton seed oil over the top” which confused the issue for me. Thank you for all the generous time you and the others provide and take my commentary as constructive and nothing else.

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Meatgistics is brought to you by Walton's ( Meatgistics is a community site, knowledgebase, forum, blog, learning center, and a sharing site. You can find help and ask questions about anything related to meat processing, smoking and grilling meats, plus a whole lot more. Join Austin & Jon from Walton's and sign up for our Meatgistics community today. We have created Meagistics University, where we broke down meat processing into different categories and then broke it down into a class like structure. The introductory classes are 10s, the intermediate are 20s, and advanced are 30s.

About Walton's

Walton's Inc. sells meat processing equipment and supplies, including all of the Seasoning, Equipment, Supplies, Packaging, and Casings needed to make almost any type of sausage. Walton's sells to the commercial customer with a focus on the small to medium-sized processing plants or butcher shops, and directly to the hunter or processor who makes their own product at home. Whether you are a commercial or retail customer of Walton's you will be receiving the exact same seasoning and supplies, we do not have a different "line" for commercial and retail customers so that everyone can make the best sausage or jerky possible!

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