Venison Snack Stick Recipe - Wild Game

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User Kansas

    Wild Game Banner

    Venison Snack Stick Recipe

    Breaking Down Venison
    Second Grind With Fat
    Protein Extraction
    Stuffing Snack Sticks
    Finished Venison Snack Sticks

    Meat Block

    10 lb of Venison
    2.5 lb of pork straight pork fat or 10 lb of untrimmed pork butts
    1 Bag of Taco Snack Sticks 10.75 oz for 12.5 lb
    1 oz of Sure Cure (Included with purchase) 14.1 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 50 lb Meat Mixer
    Walton’s 11 lb Sausage Stuffer
    Walton’s #12 Meat Grinder

    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.


    This meat was already ground once through a 3/8 plate and frozen. We defrosted it and ground it again through a 1/8 plate. The fact that it was still partially frozen sped up the 2nd ground significantly. What would normally be a process of 10 minutes was finished in under 3.

    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 venison 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 venison as it grinds. We also made sure the pork 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 from 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
    140F for 1 hour
    155F for 2 hours
    175F until internal meat temp of 160F

    When they have reached 160 internal temperature, remove them 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

    Adding pork fat instead of pork butts will give them a more distinct taste and color. The intensity of the difference will depend on the protein you are using; deer works well with pork fat, so the 50/50 mix of venison and untrimmed pork butts will work well, but with something like goose, you really want to find straight pork fat.

    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.

    What Is A Snack Stick?

    Snack Sticks are meat snacks and semi-dried sausages that are stuffed into smoked collagen casings and then hung in a smokehouse for cooking. Many Snack Sticks will have a pH between 4.5 and 5.2 to give them some shelf stability and the classic tangy flavor.

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    Watch WaltonsTV: Wild Game - Venison Snack Sticks

  • Ok folks. According to Hakka brothers. Which is the sausage stuffer I have. 16 mm or 1/2 in tube is the smallest I have. I’m wanting to make venison sticks.I am needing a 12 mm tube for 19 mm casings? I’m a newbie here. I looked on Hakka brothers site. They have a 10 mm. But Isn’t showing a 12 mm. Any suggestions?

  • Referenced by  Austin Austin 

  • I read the above recipe and am unsure what the measurements should be if one is not using the pork fat, but instead using pork butt. What weight of Sure Cure and Binder should be used? I figure one can easily do the math to extrapolate from 12.5lbs to 20lbs. But, was unsure if the weights should be different for pork fat vs. pork butt or meat/fat is all the same?

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User Kansas

    jakeanderton All the ingredients as far as seasoning, additives and what not will remain the same if you were using 17 lb of venison and 8 lb of pork fat or 12.5 lb of venison and 12.5 lb of pork butt. Now, the higher fat content the more “flavor” a sausage is likely to have as it will help coat the mouth and you will experience the taste more strongly but for the most part I don’t think people really adjust formulation strength based on fat content…not that you couldn’t though.

    The more I am typing here the more I am wondering why we wouldn’t. If you want a lower-fat sausage to taste more like a higher-fat one then upping the seasoning per lb of meat would actually make sense. I’d still say just use your seasoning at the same strength but this could be an interesting experiment for the future.

  • Jonathon Thank you very much for clarifying! I, too, was wondering if increasing the seasonings would yield a more full flavor. Perhaps, and experiment for another time, as I have to focus on the current task at hand 🙂

  • The thermal process and smoking in the video is different than what is recommended in the instructions. Which process do you recommend?

    The video say

    • 120F for 10 mins with no smoke and dampers open
    • 130F for 30 mins with no smoke and dampers open
    • 130F for 1 hour with smoke and water. Damper closed 2/3rds.
    • 150F for 1 hour with smoke and damper closed 2/3rd
    • 160F for 30 Mins
    • 180F until internal meat temp of 160F

    And the instructions say:
    125F for 1 hour
    140F for 1 hour
    155F for 2 hours
    175F until internal meat temp of 160F

  • Regular Contributors Power User

    tjrice15 Depending on what you are using for a smoker, you can obtain good results with either smoking schedule.

    Some smokers have better temperature and air controls than others do and getting good results can be more about learning how to use your smoker to get the result you want rather than just following a particular smoke schedule.

    IMO the biggest smoking hurdle the hobby-processor is up against is trying to smoke sausage on a smoker designed for cooking whole cuts like butts and briskets, which are a hot-smoked, cooking processes.

    Sausages need to be smoked at lower temperatures and smokers and grills intended for cooking burgers, briskets, ribs, and pork butts usually don’t have the temperature controls to do the best job on sausage and sticks.

    The basic goals for good smoked sausages are:

    1. Dry and warm the cool exterior of the sausage so it will take the smoke and achieve an even color.
    2. Gradually raise the internal temperature of the sausage while continuing to absorb smoke for good flavor and remove some moisture from the sausage interior,
    3. Reach an internal temperature in the sausage that will kill any pathogens making it safe to eat.

    It is possible to reach these goals and get excellent end results using slightly different smoke-schedules, ie varying the time and smoker temperatures to achieve the desired end result.

    It is worth mentioning that some of the goals can be achieved after smoking.
    A couple of examples:
    More and more guys are completing the final upper end of the thermal process in a hot water bath, ie sous vis.
    When more drying is needed, it can be done after the thermal processing is finished by holding the sausages in a refrigerated space with good air flow and allowing them to air dry.

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