Lance Very Nice & tasty looking too! Great Snackin.
Rotate snack sticks on dowels?
I’ve made 3-4 batches, mostly snack sticks, but also summer sausage. Product comes out pretty good, but I still struggle a little to keep the 19mm smoked casings taut after cooking and water bath. I’m using Sure Gel and get good protein extraction.
This question, though, deals with dowel rods to hang my snack sticks in the smoker. Right now I’m using an electric MES clone and I have have a good set of electronic thermometers to monitor both smoker temp and meat temp. Currently I’m smoking the sticks in coils laid flat on the smoker racks. Like most smokers, mine has hot spots, so sometimes a section of a coil on the outside is ready before the rest.
I want to try hanging the sticks to see if that evens out the cooking some. If I tie the ends of each sausage “rope,” then I can rotate them not only left to right on the dowel, but I can also rotate the loop top to bottom, to even out that variable as well.
If I’m making any sense, has anyone else tried this? Does it help, or am I being waaaay too picky and technical? I know some folks add fans and take other measures to even out the temp, I’m just looking for something a little simpler. If someone else has explored sliding “ropes” around left to right and vertically, what can you tell me?
Kentucky Fisherman I dont think this is a bad idea, like you said most (if not all) smokers have hot spots/cold spots so some rotation might help. I don’t think its something I would want to do on every batch but i’d guess it is worth it at least once to see if you like the results better.
As for having issue keeping your snack sticks taut how tight you stuff them is going to have some effect as well. You dont want to stuff them so tight they blow but if you are looking for a tighter product try overstuffing them slightly. You might also try pulling them at 130 and then finishing them up in hot water. There is a ton of information on how to do that here but the one I know of the Advanced thermal processing section of the Cured Meat class in meatgistics university. You might also want to make sure you are at 25% fat. What proteins are you using and are you doing anything else like adding bacon or something?
Jonathon Thanks! On these sticks I’m running 4 pounds of lean venison and adding 1 pound of bacon ends, so 20% fat, plus Sure Gel and then ECA at the end of mixing. I think you’re right that much of the solution could be simply stuffing the casings just a bit tighter. On this last batch I was using a new manual stuffer by myself, so I was cranking with one hand and tensioning the casing with the other. Since blowouts mean stopping and tying off the two ends, my subconscious probably caused me to let the casing slip off the horn a little too freely.
I’m glad you agree that my idea of rotating the snack sticks on a dowel isn’t whacko.
Kentucky Fisherman Well, the reason I asked about bacon is that I find my sticks dont stay as taut when I use bacon…well actually now that I am thinking about it taut isnt the probelm it is firm, they tend to be not as firm. Might be related but not the same? I hope that makes sense, if not let me know and I can show some pics of the ones I added bacon too and the ones that I have that are wrinkled!
I also tie off the ropes and rotate top to bottom for more even cooking.
Usually the top will reach 160 and the bottom of the rope is 140. I am using a weber smokey mountain with a sausage hanging rack and pre cut the casings at 30 inches for consistency of size and keeping them centered in the cook chamber.