The Basics of Making Snack Sticks - Cured Sausage 106
The Basics of Making Snack Sticks
What Are Snack Sticks?
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.
The first thing you need to do is grind your meat. You will want to grind the meat twice; the first grind should be with a 3/8 plate and the second with a 1/8 plate. The second grind is going to take much longer than the first grind will as it has already been broken down once, so it has more surface area. Remember to keep your meat cold through this process.
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 you are going to cure and smoke, you need to achieve a high level of protein extraction, so doing this with your hands is difficult. 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 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. Add your Encapsulated Citric Acid during the last 60 seconds of mixing. 2
Next, you will want to stuff it into casings. For snack sticks, 19-21mm smoked collagen casings are a good choice. They are large enough to make the stuffing easier while still being small enough to be considered a true snack stick. Use the largest stuffing tube that your casings will fit on, and then begin stuffing. Stuff until the casing is full and smooth but not overly full, or they will split when you try to hang them in your smoker.
When you are done stuffing, the product has to be held in the refrigerator overnight to allow the cure time to work. If you added Encapsulated Citric Acid or other cure accelerators, you skip this step.
Thermal Processing & Smoking
Either hang your snack sticks on smoking sticks or coil them on racks and smoke at:
125F for 1 hour With No smoke and Dampers Open (drying stage)
140F for 1 hour With Smoke and Damper Closed
155F for 2 hours With Smoke and Damper Closed
175F until internal meat temp of 160F With Smoke and Damper Closed
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 casings.
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.
- Adding High-Temp Cheese adds a nice taste to your sticks, and with very hot seasonings, it can help cut the heat a little
- Use white oil to lubricate your Grinder Plates and Knives and the Piston Gasket on your Sausage Stuffer
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 them.
1. We did a 10 lb batch here. The bag seasons 25 lb of meat, so we divided out the correct amount of seasoning with our scale. You can use our Seasoning Conversion Chart to find out the correct amount to use for your batch.
2. The Walton’s 50 lb mixer will hookup to a Walton’s #12 Grinder, Walton’s #22 Grinder, or Walton’s #32 Grinder and do the mixing for you. (Return to text)
Watch WaltonsTV: Basics of Making Snack Sticks
Shegge Yeah, I think I have to go back through these and put a foot note that explains the amount of the seasoning I used for each batch. I listed them that way because it was things you would need to make it, almost like supplies…it makes sense in my head! You are correct though, a full bag of Willies Snack Stick Seasoning will season 25 lb of meat.
I believe the is an error in your Meat Block/recipe. The Meat block lists 10 pounds of Pork. However, all other ingredients are then based on 25 pounds of meat. Example: 1 ounce of Cure is enough for 20 pounds. Same for Citric Acid. Assuming the recipe should be 25 pounds of meat, 1 oz cure and 1 bag of Citric Acid - then you should consider a mixer with a capacity of at least 25 pounds.
I believe there is an error in your Meat Block/recipe. The Meat block lists 10 pounds of Pork. However, all other ingredients are then based on 25 pounds of meat. Example: 1 ounce of Cure is enough for 25 pounds. Same for Citric Acid. Assuming the recipe should be 25 pounds of meat, 1 oz cure and 1 bag of Citric Acid - then you should consider a mixer with a capacity of at least 25 pounds.
JMonville Yeah, in the instructions for this we just left it as if you are doing an entire batch but in general breaking down ingredients is divide the weight of seasoning by batch size, then multiply that # by lb of meat. We have most seasonings, all additives, and cures broken down in this chart here https://meatgistics.waltonsinc.com/category/23/seasonings
After 2 years there still has been no correction to the recipe. so as a beginner who knows Nothing you would really mess someone’s weekend up along with a lot of money that went into buying the meat and supplies for such a happy occasion only to have it end in disaster. Just saying
Ok I’m really liking the sausage I made and added f-lc culture but now was wondering if anyone can help me for making snack sticks. Is the ingredients almost the same as the summer sausage but in smaller casings? And as for smoke times I’m wondering how long to go for. Thanks again guys.
Basics are the same. There are a ton of videos here at meatfistics, that show everything, give them a watch. Also many hundred posts from guys making snacksticks, walking you thru it and pictures. Just use the search function if you’d like to read hundreds if posts guys already made, with exactly the info you’ve asked.
Smoke for as long as you want smoke flavor. Or 6 hours or so to cook going from 130 to 180, until internal temp of 160f. The cook schedule is posted eveeywhere, on almost every video.
Or smoke an hour then sous vide.
Here is the proper breakout quantities for seasonings, cures and additives. The meat block and proportions are not covered here.