Meat sticks with sous vide finish, in bags

  • Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Regular Contributors Power User

    Thought I would add some details for recent meat sticks I made. There are a ton of posts and questions on water sous vide finishing, including whether to bag them or not during the sous vide. I ended up bagging them in 2 gal ziplocks, worked great. Here’s some details.

    7.5 lb final meat block of which 1480g venison, 400g pork fat, 900g ground beef 80/20, and 650 ml or so ice water. So 6.1 lbs meat plus the water to 7.5. I ended up using more water than expected, 23%.

    • 159 g Willies seasoning
    • cure#1 @ 2.5g/kg meat, so 2.78kg * 2.5g = 6.95 g
    • binder, non fat instant dry milk @ 3% = 84g
    • cure accelerator Ascorbic acid i.e. vitamin c, @ 0.1% so 2.8g or 2800mg or about 3 normal tablets, ground and mixed in some water to spread evenly AFTER CURE ALREADY MIXED IN! Don’t add with sodium nitrate in water, it will rapidly off gas the nitric oxide… add separate.

    Mix the cure in some water before adding so you get good even distribution. Can do it with the spice mix, pour water blend over mixing meat.


    I used a 6.5 qt kitchenaid mixer with beater blade. Dough hook was worthless. Too much meat for it, 5lb would have been OK. I ran on speed 2 for 4 or 5 minutes, holding spatula horizontal above meat to keep it forced down into bowl. Worked good, outstanding protein extraction. Added extra water due to how stiff/sticky the milk binder plus mixing made it, and not wanting to burn motor on Kitchenaid.

    All meat almost frozen, barely thawed, separately ground about 3 to 4.5 mm I’d guess as deer was processed elsewhere and ground beef bought. Pork fat was 4.5mm, ground while frozen, from cap on boston butts. Meat mixed first 2 min with spices and cure, fat added with accelerator and mixed 3 or 4 more min. If using Walton’s 20 lb mixer, I would have gone more, but the Kitchenaid was incredible mix.

    Stuffed in 16mm collagen casings from Walton’s, I loved them! Highly recommended, liked better than larger 19 or 21 mm size. Looked like commercial meat stick. However you need a true 10mm stuffer tube for these.

    I have a 15lb stuffer from another company. Terrible design choice to use a 2 in stuffer tube base… not 2-1/8 in everyone else uses. No such thing can be bought, and company didn’t have smaller than 3/4in conical plastic. Bought 10 mm 54mm ie 2-1/8in base from smokehouse chef, ground down to 2in to fit.
    – stuffing went well except for last 1/4" piston travel when another serious design flaw was revealed in stuffer. Had to jerry rig a seal. Wish I’d bought a Walton’s, but didn’t know about company at the time 😞

    Thermal Cook sched. Used a Thermoworks Smoke X4 for all temps, one probe for ambient, 3 probes in meat sticks one per rack level, center and edge.
    20220310_162247.jpg 20220310_155825.jpg

    1. Dry, 30 min in oven at proof setting, 120f with door open, convection fan on
    2. Traeger grill, all sticks in 2 ropes on 2 levels. Smoke setting stabilized at 145 f ambient, less at start with cool grill.
      A. 1 hr 125 to 145 grill. Meat IT to 120.
      B. 2 hrs 145, IT to 133.
      C. 30 min 155, meat IT to 143.
    3. Pulled meat at 141 to 143 internal temp.

    Sous Vide
    1.Cut meat sticks to 11.5 in to fit sideways in 2gal ziplocks.
    2. Packed 1 deep, sealed ziplock around straw, sucked air out and finished seal. Pretty good vac seal! Filled just 2 bags, 1 stick deep for good thermal conduction.

    1. Used an Anova pro sous vide 1000 w, cut a hole in the tray of a cooler to hold it.
      Got water to 172f by boiling 4 qt, adding to 5 qt hot tap water, boiling 4 more qt. Turned on Anova to hold 165f.
    2. Placed 2 x 2 gal bags with sticks into water vertically using 2 cookie racks to hold upright. Burped the air bubble from top of each with a straw. Water pressure deflates bags good.
    3. Cooked 30 min at 165 f. Internal temp went from 130ish where they had cooled during bagging, to 154 f. 10 more minutes gave 160f IT, I lowered sous vide to 160, held 5 more min for 45 min total.
      Ice bath.
      Dumped bags into ice water 15 min, IT 50 f.


    Dry… dried on racks out of bags 30 min.
    Cut in half, vac packed.

    Sticks plumped back up nice from the smoker, during the ice bath.


  • Team Blue Cast Iron Sous Vide Canning Dry Cured Sausage Masterbuilt Military Veterans Power User Regular Contributors

    They look fantastic, wow good job.

  • Team Blue Cast Iron Sous Vide Canning Dry Cured Sausage Masterbuilt Military Veterans Power User Regular Contributors

    Glad to see you truly doing the ice water bath, in my opinion that really makes a real difference in the quality of the finished product.

  • Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Regular Contributors Power User

    mrobisr thx, and I got a lot of great info from that sous vide thread. Just wanted to throw some times and numbers, which can help a lot on first few times thru a procedure.

  • Cast Iron Canning Green Mountain Grill Team Orange Masterbuilt Power User Military Veterans Regular Contributors Yearling

    Dave in AZ Great info. Thanks. The sticks look fantastic.

  • Team Blue PK100 Regular Contributors Sous Vide Power User

    mrobisr Been curious on this. When you pull from a smoker you will likely get carry-over temp increase however for sous vide they will never creep up past water temp. So wondering how necessary ice bath is.

    Also when I do a bath I usually just use cold tap water versus ice. I have always figured it is more about the delta to quickly lower temp and 155F meat will come down as fast in 45F tap water as it would in 32F. SO save me from dumping my entire ice maker.

  • Team Blue

    Them look perfect to me I have never made anything but sausage I am giving bratwurst a try this weekend

  • Team Blue Cast Iron Sous Vide Canning Dry Cured Sausage Masterbuilt Military Veterans Power User Regular Contributors

    Jamieson22 said in Meat sticks with sous vide finish, in bags:

    they will never creep up past water temp.

    Since my water bath temp is 170f there is some room for excess temp creep.

    “45F tap water”
    Unfortunaly I don’t know if I ever have 45 degree water without ice, so you may have the advantage there.

  • Team Blue PK100 Regular Contributors Sous Vide Power User

    mrobisr Why not set water to IT temp you are chasing? That is one of the big benefits of sous vide.

    And I guess Chicago winter gives me a nice cold water temp. Even so, using tap water for initial chill then a quick drain and ice bath may be more effective and use less ice.

  • Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Regular Contributors Power User

    Jamieson22 heat transfer thermodynamics. Speed of the internal temp rise. Heat transfers between two things in relation to the temperature difference. If you set 160 in the water, the meat internal temp will approach 160 asymptotically, tapering off below it and approaxhing super slowly.

    By setting 170 or so and just monitoring temp, the meat IT will get to 160 waaay faster. There is no cooking benefit going on at 160, you are just reaching the USDA instantaneous kill temp for meat pathogens. To my mind, faster I get there and stop and cool, less issues with my fat sitting at 160 and melting out due to long exposure.

    I set 170 to 175, stick a probe in the meat, as it approaches 160, like 159, I might pull the water temp down to 163 so I don’t race past it.

    In my pic, you can see I had sous vide at 167, actual water temp was 163. It was taking longer than I wanter to reach IT 160, so I was heating it up a bit.

    But yeah, if you don’t mind sitting around extra time that IS a huge benefit of sous vide, that I use for steak all the time. But after 4 hours on these meat sticks and kids clamoring to eat them, I don’t want to waste any extra time at end 😉

  • Team Blue Cast Iron Sous Vide Canning Dry Cured Sausage Masterbuilt Military Veterans Power User Regular Contributors

    Jamieson22 Dave said it very well as he said it is a fat thing, a time thing, and since I have found the pasteurization times and temps on the USDA website I usually go to about 152f-155f then go straight to ice bath.

  • Team Blue PK100 Regular Contributors Sous Vide Power User

    Dave in AZ I guess in my experience when I pull sticks/links off smoker they are often varying temps. So when I drop them into bath with water at desired IT I can guarantee all of them will end up where I want them. If I were to overshoot water temp and monitor I’d need to check quite a few of them and pull in multiple stages else risk some being over/under cooked.

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