• I have been working on my snack sticks for quite awhile and I began smoking at a very low temperature then moving to sous vide to finish. Well my last batch turned out AMAZING!!! Sticks were full, plump and had a great snap. I feel like my mix was good and stuffing was good. I shocked them in ice water for about 30 minutes after bringing them to 152 in the water bath. I pulled them and sat them out to dry for roughly an hour and fridge over night. Next day they were amazing. Following day they were amazing. I cut them into uniform sticks and vac packed in my chamber vac. Issue now is the casings are slightly lose and sort of like wet paper almost. They don’t slide right off but they’re not quite right. Any advice?

  • Can’t say for sure, but I wonder if it has to do with freezing them. Expansion of the moisture in the product while freezing, then shrinkage as the product thaws out. I have experienced the same thing when using collagen casings and freezing them. That is one of the reasons I use natural sheep casings when making snack sticks. Natural casings do require a bit more care when stuffing to prevent blowouts, and the casings do have to be soaked/rinsed before using them, as well as keep them refrigerated for longevity. For me, the tradeoff is worth the extra step and care. And the casings don’t slip from the meat either. I have used collagen casings when making a batch for friends, when they have no intention of freezing them. I’ve been to,d they never last that long. They don’t in my house either!

    If someone has an answer to why this happens, I’m all ears. There’s a lot of talent here, and we can all learn from the expertise of others.

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    Jimmy Miller Can you post some pics? What temp did you pull them out of the smoker and transfer them to water? 20 minutes is enough in the ice water, it’s possible that leaving them in there for 30 overhydrated them? I’ve never seen or heard of this happening but from a logic standpoint, it seems to make some sense. Maybe I will do a decent-sized test batch and try pulling them at different times from the ice bath. Also did you have any fat rendering out of the sticks? The most common cause of your issue is fat getting between the meat and the casing. It doesn’t sound like it was your issue but it’s never a good idea to skip over the obvious answers.

  • I had them in my smoker for roughly 3 hours at the highest point was about 130ish. I put them all in a large ziplock bag and put them in water set at 152 for 2 total hour. Took the entire bag and put it down in ice water for 30 minutes. Pulled them. There was a slight bit of fat rendered on the outsides of the casings and I wiped them all down. Let them sit on a cooling rack for 1 hour then I cut them and sat them on a rack over night in the fridge uncovered. They literally were perfect and now this. Can’t figure out how to post a picture.

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    Jimmy Miller If it is easier you can email it to me at [email protected] When you say you moved the bag into the ice bath, id you toss the entire bag in the ice water or did you take them out of the package? I have never left them in the bag for an ice bath. I don’t see that as an issue just direct contact with the ice water will cool them down faster and help set the casing better. So, maybe that was part of it, though it doesn’t seem likely. If you had some fat on the outside of the casings you almost assuredly had some in between the casing and the meat, so that is more likely the culprit. Next time you make them add a Binder if you aren’t already and mix until everything is really super sticky. Also, try taking them out of the bag and putting them right in the icewater. Parksider will say (and he is correct on this) that you don’t need to put the sticks ina bag for the cooking process as long as you aren’t using a sous vide circulator that draws water in and then shoots hotter water back out.

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