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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.

The Verdict

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

Spicy Snack Sticks

Spicy Snack Sticks


  • 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


  1. Put the pork in the freezer for 45 minutes.
  2. Grind the pork through the medium plate of a grinder. If using game, grind it as well.
  3. Mix the pork and beef or game together.
  4. Mix the dry seasonings together.
  5. Mix the meat, seasonings , Sriracha and water together by hand.
  6. Run the meat mixture through the grinder again.
  7. Put the meat in the refrigerator for an hour.
  8. Put the meat in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Mix at medium speed for 4 minutes.
  9. Put the meat in the refrigerator for an hour.
  10. Stuff the meat mixture into the casings.
  11. Pinch a flat spot every 6 inches. Tie both sides of the flat spot with butcher string.
  12. Cut between the strings.
  13. Put the sticks in the fridge overnight.
  14. Preheat a smoker to 140 F.
  15. 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.
  16. Plunge the meat in ice water to stop the cooking.
  17. Let the meat rest at room temperature for 2 hours and refrigerate.
  18. Cut the knots off the sticks and freeze any that will not be eaten in the next week.
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31 Responses

  1. Finally, got myself a batch done today.
    They turned out absolutely delicious, David.
    Tasty without too much heat.
    I can’t wait for the Grand Daughters to try them.
    Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  2. Thank you for the recipe OFG! It was easy – we had the ingredients on hand and are happy with the results. I was lazy and used store bought ground meat. The fat content was lower than I’d home grind but it turned out fine. Made a few personal preference changes (no fennel seed/nutmeg, more mustard seed/pepper) and followed the cooking instructions best as I could with our wildly temp swinging little outdoor bread oven (too hot in FL today to have the kitchen oven on for six hours). For the next batch in a month or so, husband says he’ll commit to doing it on the smoker. That will be more fun!
    Thanks again!

  3. Hi OFG,
    Retired guy here in northern MN wanting to make some beef snack sticks. Found your recipe above and would love to try it.
    For a meat cure, I’d like to use Morton Tender Cure (on hand), 1 tblspn / pound.
    Okay substitution?

    Will also add some high temp pepper jack cheese.

    1. I think that also means, I would need to remove the salt and sugar ingredients of your recipe if I use the Morton Tender Quick.

    2. I am pretty sure that 1 tablespoon of Tender Quick per pound is way too much. Most recipes I have seen say 1 1/2 teaspoons. For example, see this recipe for salami from Morton

      The problem with using Tenderquick is it has a lot more salt and you will have to reduce the salt in the recipe. if you would want to use Tenderquick, I suggest you use 1 1/2 teaspoon of Tenderquick per pound and reduce the kosher salt buy 1 1/2 teaspoons (use 7.5 ml per 500 grams and reduce the kosher salt by 7.5 ml).

      It will be a touch saltier than mine as Tenderquick is finer than Kosher salt but it will be close.

      I haven’t worked with high temperature cheese but it sounds delicious!

      1. David,
        Appreciate the quick response. I had done a little more research before deciding to go with Tenderquick for this batch and did decide on 1 1/2 tsp per pound. The container is confusing because it suggests 1 Tbs / pound. My guess is that is for a bribe solution. I’ll take your advice and add in some kosher salt & sugar. Appreciate your time.
        Thanks, Dave

  4. I made these and followed the recipe pretty close and they are the best pepperettes Ive made. Great recipe thanks OFG!

  5. This is perfect! Used it with 5 lbs deer burger and ground in 1 lb of bacon, didn’t have buttermilk powder so I substituted equal parts cream of tartar, paprika, and white pepper. It is the perfect heat

  6. David, thanks so much for the suggestion about Wow, what a find! We, Easterners, have access to a few companies in Ontario, Quebec, and NY State that offer “some of the products” Stuffer’s offers, but in no way can they touch their wide selection of products. Thanks again for the Big Wow Factor!!

  7. My smoker only goes down to 160 degrees, my first batch is “loose” it has great flavor but the meat isnt bound tight. Is this possibly because my starting smoke temperature is too high? I followed the recipe very close.

    1. Your major problem is your smoker doesn’t go low enough. If the sticks are heated too quickly, they “fat out” and get an unsatisfactory texture. Check if you oven has a warm setting around 140 or 150 F. If so, you could do one hour at 140 in your oven, then an hour of 150 and then into the smoker at 160 F.

      I had the same problem with my pellet smoker. It just doesn’t go low enough in temperature to guarantee a good texture. I eventually bought my Bradley Smoker to get a good texture.

  8. I am using a 32 meat grinder with a electric motor
    Put on a 3/8 stuffer tube for pepper sticks and using a stuffer plate.But the meat in the grinder just keeps turning in the auger and turns to mulch .Not sure if the meat is not cold enough. Any idea what is going on.

    1. When I use my grinder to stuff casings, I never have good results. I really suggest you get a dedicated stuffer. Grind your meat with a meat grinder and stuff with a dedicated stuffer.

      1. what model LEM stuffer do you use for your snack sticks I’ve been reading and some say it’s difficult to stuff the 17mm casings with any manual stuffer..

  9. I have a batch smoking right now. I can’t wait to try them. I used 60% venison and 40% pork. I also substituted home ade chile piquin sauce instead of tabasco.

  10. i’m wondering if the measurement for dried chili flakes is wrong. 8.5grams seems like a lot and measures out to way more than 1/2 tsp. am i missing something.

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