• I am new to meat sticks and i am not happy with the results. maybe you can give me some pointers. I have been grinding with the smallest plate so the meat is super fine to go through the smallest tube when using sheep casing. it helps a great deal to not have blow outs. 73% meat 27 % fat. 2 cups binder with 10 pounds meat. when i did a sample cook it was like sawdust. when I filled the casings they were packed perfectly. after the process, first inspection was they were firm but when i tried it they chewed like firm mashed potatoes. There was a crunch to the skins but the inside was very soft. IT was 165 degrees. As a beginner im thinking that i should have used the next biggest plate which i think i used an 1/8 so then a 1/4 may have made them tougher ? This is about the 5th time ive made meat sticks and each time has been a different problem. most of the time there has been so much shrinkage that the casings are not even touching and they were packed full when I started. FRUSTRATING

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  • Team Blue Power User Traeger Primo Grills PK Grills Canning Sous Vide Community Moderator Kansas

  • Team Orange Masterbuilt Sous Vide Team Blue Power User

    Bigsexy I had same problem with texture. I used first grind with 10mm plate I think and 2nd grind thru 3/8. Used 21mm casings and it came out much better.

  • samspade problem for me is that non of my plates or tubes are marked so I have no idea what size they are.

  • Ohh the pain. I have felt your pain. It took me a long time to get snack sticks to come out right. You did not mention adding water to your mix. I use the proper amount of binder and seasoning and 1qt of water for 10 to 12lbs of meat I use 8lbs of 80/20 ground beef and 2lbs of fatty pork . I also use something to help shelf stability but the name escapes me. You need to use a motorized mixer. Hand mixing won’t do. 4 minutes by the motor, disconnect the motor and use the handle to crank the mixer the opposite rotation for 2 minutes then hook the motor back up to the mixer for another 4 minutes. The mix should be sticky when done. Then stuff right away. This works for me. How you finish them is another experience.

  • Canning Masterbuilt

    Here is my 2 cents.
    I use the next larger plate above 1/8” I think it is stamped 4.6mm.
    I do not use that much fat more like 90/10
    I use 80 percent pork 20 percent beef also
    No fillers like carrot or soy only sure gel from Walton’s
    After stuffing I place in fridge for 24 hrs before smoking to allow sure cure to cure meat.
    Sure gel and sure cure are two different products
    I smoke them in my masterbuilt smoker
    Low and slow 130 1 hr, no smoke, 140 2.5 hr smoke, 150 2.5hr smoke, 160 2 hr no smoke, 170 2 hr no smoke, 175 if very cold outside maybe 180 never higher with damper closed pull sticks when internal temp is 155-160

  • Canning Masterbuilt

    Jesser I only use 21mm mahogany collagen casings

  • I use 19mm Fresh Collagen casings from Waltons. I had to buy a case, that is the only way they sell them. The 21mm are too fat for me. I smoke mine at 125 for 2 to 3 hours laying flat on the grates in my PitBoss 7 Series Copperhead upright pellet smoker. Then I drop them in my SousVide unit for about an hour until the reach 165 degrees. They come out the way I like them. No rippled casing, not dried out.

  • Team Orange Power User Canning Masterbuilt Regular Contributors Veteran New Mexico Sous Vide

    Bigsexy You can measure the holes in the plates to figure out what you have (1/8", 3/16", 1/4", 3/8" are pretty standard).

  • Weekend Smoker I didn’t add any water and surprisingly it was extremely moist there was water dripping out of the casings. The meat didn’t feel wet at all. So you’re thinking that I simply did not mix it long enough?

  • Jonathan has a video showing what the texture and look of the meat should be. Several people told me to use a motorized mixer and it worked for me. The meat gets sticky and adheres to the casing. If you have water squinting out while stuffing it isn’t mixed enough.16662114209867774467861531064983.jpg 16662115228038204907024742893916.jpg

  • Weekend Smoker where did you get your power mixer ?

  • Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Regular Contributors Power User Arizona

    Walton’s has a very good sale, PreThanksgiving, going on right now, with both mixers on sale.


    If you make 5lb batch or less, you can also use a kitchenaid mixer.

  • Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Regular Contributors Power User Arizona

    You don’t give too many details so I’m just guessing. But all the problems you described will come from a few things, so they could be issues:

    1. Meat texture crumbly. Not enough mixing and protein extraction to bind the fat and water into meat.
    2. Casings pulling from meat, shrinkage… fat and water melt out due to bad bind. Not enough mixing usually.
    3. No water… water helps produce good bind and moisture. Use 10% of meat weight in water.
    4. Meat not kept cold enough throughout…needs to be 30 to 34f at every single step. Freezer before grind so halfway frozen. Grind. Refreeze almost. Mix 4 to 5 min power mixer, 10 min with a hand cranked mixer. Refreeze to 30-34f. Stuff into casings. If meat gets up to 38 or 40f, 5x as much fat will come out (see 2guysandacooler test video), leaving mear dry and rumbly texture.
    5. Binder… what are you using as a binder? 2 cups seems way too much for 10 lbs meat. Binder is usually 1% of meat block or so, which would be 45grams… that is less than 1/2c of nonfat dry milk or SureGel from Waltons. It sounds like you’re using 4x too much binder, which would of course make it all dry and crumbly like sawdust. You don’t even need binder for snacksticks if you just mix well.

    Hope one of those may sound like a culprit and is helpful.
    Jonathon has tons of videos on Waltons stepping you through process.

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User Kansas

    Bigsexy What does the floor of your smoker look like after they are done? I am guessing that you are not getting enough protein extraction when mixing, the meat should be really sticky, like stretches a good amount when you pull it apart, and this will help keep the fat in your product and not on your floor. The fact that previous times you have had problems with casing adherence leads me to believe that this is the issue also. What will happen is the fat cooks out of the protein and makes it way between the casing and the meat, the casing then can’t adhere to the meat. There are other things that could cause that, like too much water, an incorrect smoke schedule but I am guessing it is a protein extraction issue. Also, 2 cups of what binder? How big was your batch? For cured sausage, we don’t recommend that you use a larger than 1/8" plate.

  • Jonathon soy protein 10 pound batch. Bottom of smoker has a few drips. But I bet that is my problem. I’m not mixing it long enough. Seems that I just do it to the point that it starts to get sticky and stop. The stickier the better i guess.

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User Kansas

    Bigsexy The other thing I would say is Sure Gel Meat Binder is a far better binder for sticks, Soy Protein blend can make stuffing really hard for snack sticks. The sure gel doesn’t have that issue, or at least not near as much. Don’t give up, you’ll get it and sticks are wonderful, great flavors, great portability and since they are cured they have a long shelf life!

  • Bigsexy You power mixer is actually your grinder. It attaches to the mixer. You just have to make sure they are compatible. I got mine from LEM (They were scratch & dent) way before I found Walton’s. Walton’s has a lot of good units.

  • Canning Masterbuilt

    Bigsexy I wish you the best but I never had any luck using a soy binder

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