Someone please help me figure out snack sticks!!!
Yesterday, I attempted to smoke 20lbs of snack sticks for the first time. I failed miserably! According to what I’ve read, what should be a 4-5 hour task turned into 11 hours and all 20 pounds of snack sticks ruined. All of the fat rendered out of the meat and looked like a sheath of fat between the meat and the casing. Entire process is below…
Friday, I thawed out 20 lbs. of ground venison that had somewhere between 10-20% pork fat in it from the deer processor. I ran all 20 lbs. through the grinder once (even though it was already ground by the processor). After grinding, I put all 20 pounds in a meat mixer and added the seasoning and cure packets from a “Hi Mountain” snack stick kit and then 5 cups of water. I mixed for what seemed like forever. Probably 20 minutes or so. I mixed for a while because I felt like the 20 lb capacity mixer was too full and it just didn’t seem like it was mixing very well. I used a spatula to help churn things around as the mixing blades passed by. I did that until I thought I had, what in my opinion looked like, good protein extraction. I’m new to this so I’m only going off of watching Walton’s and Meatgistics videos over the last week. Next, I stuffed 17 pounds of meat into the 19mm smoked collagen casings. I ran out of casing so I stuffed the remaining 3 pounds into a summer sausage casing that had been soaking for 30 minutes. Finally, I put everything in the refrigerator overnight (12 hours).
The next morning, at 11am, I weaved the long stuffed casings up and down in between the slots of the top rack of my Masterbuilt smoker. The casings hung down about 20 inches from the top rack. Then I turned the smoker on and followed the Mestgistics smoking schedule to a T. Or at least I tried. 120° for 1 hour (no water, no smoke, vent wide open). Bumped up to 130° for 1 hour (no water, no smoke, vent 3/4 closed). Bumped up to 150° for 1 hour (added full water pan and soaked mesquite wood chips). Bumped up to 160° for one hour (added more wood chips). At this point, I was 4 hours in and the temperature of the meat was only at 130° and VERY SLOWLY climbing. I’m talking like one degree every half hour. I Bumped up to 175° hoping to be done when the meat reached 165° but now the temp was climbing even slower. Thinking the meat should’ve been done by now, I decided to bump the temp to 190°. Still very little increase in meat temp. It’s now 9pm (10 hours from when I first turned the smoker on) and still had 10 degrees to go according to my meat thermometer. I cranked the temp to 225° and finally got the meat temp to 165° an hour later. I immediately removed the meat and put it all in a cooler ice bath for 10 minutes. I pulled everything out of the ice bath and placed it on the kitchen table. What I saw was something along the lines of what you’d see if your wife gave birth to an alien. I didn’t know what I was looking at and how “THAT” was the end result of all my hard work. Most of the entire length of the casings had large, long white streaks. Several spots even had like fluid in the casing that I could move around by sliding my finger along the casing. I cut a section open length wise and not only was the casing not adhered to the meat, but the white sections I originally noticed was all of the fat that had rendered out of the meat. Like a sheath of fat between the meat and the casing. Even the 3 pound summer sausage casing turned out the same way. I did rinse the fat sheath away and taste the meat and you couldn’t even taste the smallest hint of smoke. Needless to say, it was all a disaster and I’m very discouraged. Especially wasting 20 pounds of venison. Extra notes: the meat thermometer works as it should. The smoker was outside in 35° weather. PLEASE HELP!6EB18F25-D4C9-413F-82D2-BDFDD7466199.jpeg 78FC92C9-47E9-4906-8975-30149BEFCD59.jpeg ABCC7EC2-38BE-4A27-9CF3-30E62520BB5B.jpeg