I like to golf. She Who Must Be Obeyed says I golf too much. Sigh. When I golf, I find myself getting peckish around the 11th hole and I like to have something in my bag. Snack Sticks are the perfect solution.
This is my go to recipe for snack sticks.
First, I get all my meat very cold by putting it in the freezer for 45 minutes. Like all smoked sausages, it is critical to keep the meat cold or the fat can separate and ruin the texture.
This recipe calls for curing salts. These can be called Prague powder #1, Instacure #1, Pink Salt #1 or several other names. You can use any curing salt that is 93.75% salt and 6.25% nitrites. Nitrites can be bad for you if you use too much so make sure to use the exact amount in the recipe.
I grind up some fatty pork shoulder steaks through the medium plate on my grinder. These have the fat content that give the snack sticks a nice texture. If I am using game meat, I grind it up as well. Otherwise, I use lean ground beef.
I mix the seasoning ingredients together and add them, the Sriracha and the ice water. to the ground meat. I mix the seasonings into the ground meat and mix it by hand for a minute or so. I put the meat in the fridge for an hour.
I put the meat mixture in the bowl of my stand mixer with the paddle attached. I mix for 3 minutes at medium speed. I put the meat in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
I used my dedicated LEM Sausage stuffer to put the sausage in 17 mm (1/2 inch) collagen sausage casings.
I pinched a finger wide flat spot every 6 inches and tied both sides of the flat spot with butcher string. I cut between the ties to make individual sticks. I let the casings sit in the fridge overnight.
My pellet smoker does not go down to 140 F which it temperature I start my snack sticks at so I fired up my WSM mini to 140 F. I get that low temperature by putting a row 4 briquets wide around the edge of the fire pan. I light one end with my propane torch and let it burn around, controlling the temperature with the dampers. I put some chunks of hickory on the coals for smoke.
You can do this in your oven and they will be very tasty. Just increase the heat as shown below. However, the smoke taste really adds to these sticks.
I smoked the sticks at 140 F for one hour. I opened the dampers a bit and smoked at 150 F for another hour. I continued opening them and smoking for an hour at 160 F and 170 F. Then I went to 180 F and continued smoking to an internal temperature of 155 F.
I plunged the sticks into ice water to stop the cooking process. Hang them at room temperature for a couple of hours.
I sliced the knots off the ends and froze any that would not be used in the next week.
Here is a good look at a slice of the sticks.
I love these snack sticks. Although I call them spicy they are not burn your mouth hot. They would be comparable to a mild pepperoni, just a bit of heat. They have a great bite and texture.
The Old Fat Guy
- 500 grams (1 pound) fatty pork
- 500 grams (1 pound) lean ground beef or game meat
- 2,5 grams (2 ml) (0.088 ounces (2/5 tsp)) Prague powder #1
- 13 ml (2 1/2 tsp) (16.6 grams) kosher salt
- 5 ml (1 tsp) (5.2 grams) buttermilk powder
- 4 ml (3/4 tsp) (2.4 grams) pepper
- 4 ml (3/4 tsp) (3.0 grams) garlic powder
- 2 ml (1/2 tsp) (1.4 grams) ground dried Chipotle
- 2 ml (1/2 tsp) (2.2 grams) sugar
- 2 ml (1/2 tsp) (0.85 grams) dried chili flakes
- 2 ml (1/2 tsp) (1.8 grams) mustard seed
- 2 ml (1/2 tsp) (1.7 grams) onion powder
- 2 ml (1/2 tsp) (1.2 grams) nutmeg
- 2 ml (1/2 tsp) (1.8 grams) fennel seed
- 2 ml (1/2 tsp) Sriracha or 1 ml (1/4 tsp) Tabasco
- 75 ml (1/3 cup) ice water
- 8 feet of 17 mm (1/2 inch) collagen casings
- Put the pork in the freezer for 45 minutes.
- Grind the pork through the medium plate of a grinder. If using game, grind it as well.
- Mix the pork and beef or game together.
- Mix the dry seasonings together.
- Mix the meat, seasonings , Sriracha and water together by hand.
- Run the meat mixture through the grinder again.
- Put the meat in the refrigerator for an hour.
- Put the meat in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Mix at medium speed for 4 minutes.
- Put the meat in the refrigerator for an hour.
- Stuff the meat mixture into the casings.
- Pinch a flat spot every 6 inches. Tie both sides of the flat spot with butcher string.
- Cut between the strings.
- Put the sticks in the fridge overnight.
- Preheat a smoker to 140 F.
- Smoke the meat for 1 hour. Increase the temperature in 10 degree increments every hour until it is 180 F. Smoke the meat to an internal temperature of 155 F.
- Plunge the meat in ice water to stop the cooking.
- Let the meat rest at room temperature for 2 hours and refrigerate.
- Cut the knots off the sticks and freeze any that will not be eaten in the next week.