Hey there, fellow snack enthusiasts! Today I want to share with you a recipe that is going to change your snacking game forever. I’m talking about smoked snack sticks!
There’s something irresistible about the combination of smoky and spicy flavors in a convenient, easy-to-eat package. Whether you’re on a road trip, out hunting, or just in need of a tasty snack, these smoked snack sticks are the perfect solution.
Now, I know what you might be thinking. “Making my own snack sticks? That sounds like a lot of work.” But trust me, it’s easier than you might think. And the end result is a delicious snack that you can feel good about eating, because you know exactly what went into it.
In this recipe, we’ll be using a combination of ground meat, spices, and a collagen casing to create our snack sticks. And don’t worry if you’ve never worked with collagen casings before – I’ll walk you through the whole process step by step.
So, grab your apron and let’s get started! Once you try these homemade smoked snack sticks, you’ll never want to go back to store-bought again.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Are you a fan of snacking on the go? Do you love the convenience of grabbing a quick bite, but find that most store-bought snacks just don’t hit the spot? Well, have I got a recipe for you – smoked snack sticks!
I know, I know, you might be thinking, “Why bother making my own snacks when I can just buy them at the grocery store?” But let me tell you, there are a few reasons why you’ll love this recipe.
First of all, the flavor. When you make your own snack sticks, you have complete control over the seasoning. You can adjust the spice level to your liking, add in extra ingredients like hot sauce or chili flakes, and really tailor the flavor to your preferences. Plus, the smoky flavor that comes from the smoking process is truly unbeatable.
Secondly, the quality. When you make your own snack sticks, you know exactly what’s going into them. No mystery ingredients or preservatives – just a simple mixture of ground meat and spices. And if you’re really into knowing where your food comes from, you can even use game meat instead of pork or beef.
But perhaps the biggest reason to try making your own smoked snack sticks is the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel when you bite into that first delicious snack. Trust me, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of knowing you made something tasty and satisfying with your own two hands.
Now, I know the idea of making your own snack sticks might seem daunting, but fear not! With a few basic ingredients and some simple equipment (like a sausage stuffer and a meat mixer), you’ll be well on your way to creating your own delicious snack sticks. And if you’re new to the world of homemade sausages, don’t worry – I’ve got plenty of tips and tricks to help you get started.
So why not give it a try? Whip up a batch of homemade smoked snack sticks and see for yourself why they’re such a great way to satisfy your snack cravings. And who knows, you might just find yourself hooked on making your own delicious and satisfying snacks.
Now let’s take a closer look at the ingredient list for our smoked snack sticks. While the list might seem a bit long at first glance, don’t worry – most of the ingredients are pantry staples that you probably already have on hand.
The first and most important ingredient for our snack sticks is ground meat. You can use any combination of beef, pork, or game meat that you like, but it’s important to pay attention to the fat content. Too little fat and your snack sticks will be dry and tough, but too much fat and they’ll be greasy and unpleasant to eat. A ratio of about 80% lean meat to 20% fat is a good place to start.
Next up is the collagen casing, which is what gives our snack sticks their convenient length and shape. You can buy these casings at your local grocery store or online. Collagen casings are a great option because they’re easy to work with and don’t require any preparation before use.
Spices and Seasonings
To give our snack sticks their delicious flavor, we’ll be using a combination of spices and seasonings. Some of the key ingredients include garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. We’ll also be using a pre-made snack stick seasoning blend, which you can find at most grocery stores or online.
Prague Powder and Pink Salt
In addition to the spices, we’ll be using two curing agents to help preserve the snack sticks and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Prague powder (also known as pink curing salt) contains a mixture of sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate. It’s important to use the correct amount of Prague powder in the recipe to ensure that the snack sticks are safe to eat.
Encapsulated Citric Acid
To give our snack sticks a tangy flavor and to help with the curing process, we’ll be using encapsulated citric acid. This is a special type of citric acid that is coated in a protective layer, which prevents it from reacting with the meat until it’s heated during the cooking process.
Finally, we’ll be using a few other ingredients to add some extra flavor and moisture to our snack sticks. These include pork fat (to add moisture and flavor), mustard seed and fennel seed (for a bit of crunch and texture), and a teaspoon of liquid smoke (to enhance the smoky flavor).
By following this ingredient list and the recipe instructions carefully, you’ll be able to create your own delicious smoked snack sticks that are sure to impress. Just remember to pay attention to the fat content of your meat, use the correct amount of curing agents, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different spice combinations to find the perfect flavor for you.
The Recipe How-To
Now that we’ve gone over the ingredient list, let’s move on to the recipe itself. Don’t worry if you’ve never made your own sausage before – with a bit of practice, it’s easier than you might think!
Preparing the Meat Mixture
The first step is to prepare the meat mixture. In a large mixing bowl, combine your ground meat, pork fat, spices, and seasonings. Use a meat mixer or your hands to thoroughly mix everything together, making sure that the ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the meat. You can also add any extra ingredients at this stage, like hot sauce or extra spices.
Stuffing the Casings
Now it’s time to stuff the casings. If you’re using collagen casings, simply slide them onto your sausage stuffer and start filling them with the meat mixture. Make sure to pack the meat in tightly, and try to avoid leaving any air pockets or gaps in the sausage. If you’re using natural casings, you’ll need to prepare them beforehand by soaking them in cold water and removing the interior membrane.
Smoking the Snack Sticks
Once your casings are stuffed, it’s time to smoke the snack sticks. Start by preheating your smoker to a low temperature (around 150-170 degrees Fahrenheit). Arrange the snack sticks on the smoker racks, making sure to leave a bit of space between each one to allow for air circulation. Smoke the snack sticks for a couple of hours, or until they reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Chilling and Storing the Snack Sticks
Once your snack sticks are smoked to perfection, it’s important to give them a chance to cool down and firm up. Dip them in an ice water bath for a few minutes to bring down the temperature quickly, then remove them and place them on a sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil to dry. Once they’re completely dry, you can vacuum pack them for longer-term storage or enjoy them right away!
And there you have it – your very own homemade smoked snack sticks. The end result is a delicious snack that’s packed full of flavor and perfect for on-the-go snacking. So why not give it a try and see just how easy it is to make your own delicious meat sticks?
Substitutions and Variations
If you’re feeling adventurous, there are plenty of ways to switch up the flavor of your smoked snack sticks. Here are a few variations to try:
Spice it up
If you’re a fan of spicy foods, try adding some extra heat to your snack sticks. You can adjust the amount of cayenne pepper or chili flakes in the recipe to your liking, or try adding in some fresh chopped jalapeños or habaneros for an extra kick.
For a different take on the classic savory snack stick, try adding some sweetness to the mix. You can experiment with adding brown sugar, honey, or even maple syrup to the meat mixture. Just be careful not to add too much, as it can make the snack sticks too sweet.
Try different meats
While the classic snack stick recipe calls for beef or pork, there’s no reason why you can’t experiment with other types of meat. Venison snack sticks are a popular variation, but you could also try using game meat like elk or bison. Just remember to adjust the fat content accordingly.
Change up the spices
If you’re looking for a different flavor profile, try switching up the spice combination in the recipe. Mustard seed and fennel seed are classic options, but you could also try adding in some coriander, paprika, or even cinnamon for a unique twist.
Mix up the casings
Finally, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can try using different types of casings to create a unique texture for your snack sticks. Natural sheep casings will give you a more traditional, semi-dry sausage texture, while collagen casings will be a bit firmer and snap more when you bite into them.
Whether you stick with the classic recipe or try out some of these variations, the end result is sure to be a tasty snack that you’ll be proud to have made yourself. So go ahead and get creative – you never know what delicious combinations you might come up with!
Serving and Pairing
Once you’ve made your own delicious smoked snack sticks, the next thing to consider is how to serve and pair them. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Enjoy them on their own
Of course, the simplest way to enjoy your snack sticks is just on their own! They’re the perfect on-the-go snack for hunting, camping, or road trips, and they’re sure to satisfy your hunger in a delicious way. Plus, since you made them yourself, you can feel good about what you’re snacking on.
Pair with cheese and crackers
For a more sophisticated snacking experience, try pairing your snack sticks with some cheese and crackers. A sharp cheddar or aged Gouda would be a great choice, and the crackers will help balance out the smoky flavor of the snack sticks.
Add to a charcuterie board
If you’re entertaining guests, why not add your homemade snack sticks to a charcuterie board? Along with cheese and crackers, you could also include some cured meats, olives, and other savory snacks. It’s a great way to show off your culinary skills and impress your friends.
Serve with a dipping sauce
For an extra layer of flavor, try serving your snack sticks with a dipping sauce. A simple mixture of mayo and hot sauce is always a crowd-pleaser, or you could try making a honey mustard or ranch dip for a milder flavor.
Pair with a cold beer
Finally, if you’re looking for a beverage to pair with your snack sticks, you can’t go wrong with a cold beer. A light lager or pilsner will help cut through the richness of the meat, while a hoppy IPA will bring out the spicy flavors.
Whether you choose to enjoy your snack sticks on their own or pair them with other snacks and beverages, the end result is sure to be a delicious and satisfying snack that you’ll want to make again and again. So go ahead and get creative with your serving and pairing options – you never know what delicious combinations you might come up with!
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
Once you’ve made a batch of delicious smoked snack sticks, you’ll want to make sure you’re storing and reheating them properly. Here are a few tips to ensure that your snack sticks stay fresh and tasty:
Make-ahead and storing
If you’re planning to make a large batch of snack sticks, you can easily make them ahead of time and store them for later. Once your snack sticks are fully cooked and cooled, you can vacuum pack them or store them in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. This will help them last for several weeks or even months.
When it comes time to reheat your snack sticks, it’s important to do so carefully. If you’re reheating them from the fridge, you can simply pop them in the microwave for a few seconds or heat them up in a pan on the stove. However, if you’re reheating them from the freezer, it’s best to thaw them first in the fridge overnight before reheating.
If you’re planning to vacuum pack your snack sticks for longer-term storage, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, make sure that the snack sticks are fully cooled before vacuum packing them. If you try to vacuum pack them while they’re still warm, you may end up with air bubbles or a less-than-perfect seal. Also, be sure to label the vacuum pack with the date and contents, so you know how long it’s been stored and what’s inside.
Avoid aluminum foil
While aluminum foil can be a great option for storing other types of food, it’s not the best choice for smoked snack sticks. The acidity of the meat can cause the aluminum to break down and create a metallic taste. Instead, opt for parchment paper or vacuum packing for best results.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your smoked snack sticks stay fresh and delicious for as long as possible. Whether you’re making a big batch to last you through hunting season or just whipping up a few for a road trip, you’ll be able to enjoy your homemade snack sticks with peace of mind.
When it comes to making perfect smoked snack sticks, there are a few tips and tricks that can help you achieve the best results possible. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Start with quality ingredients
One of the most important things you can do to ensure a great final product is to start with high-quality ingredients. This means using lean, fresh venison meat or plenty of pork sausage, depending on your preference. You’ll also want to make sure you’re using fresh spices and dry ingredients, as stale seasonings can impact the flavor of your snack sticks.
When making any kind of sausage, it’s important to measure your ingredients carefully. This includes the meat ratio, the amount of kosher salt and other seasonings, and any additional ingredients you may be using. Be sure to follow the recipe closely and measure everything out precisely for the best results.
Keep everything cold
To ensure that your snack sticks turn out well, it’s important to keep everything as cold as possible during the preparation process. This means starting with chilled meat and using a jerky gun or meat gun that’s been pre-chilled in the fridge or freezer. You can also chill your grinder plate and mm plate before use to keep everything at a consistent temperature.
Pay attention to the cooking time and temperature
When it comes to cooking your snack sticks, it’s important to pay close attention to the time and temperature. Smoke your snack sticks at low temperatures for a long time to ensure they’re fully cooked through and reach the internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Using a meat thermometer can help you keep an eye on the temperature and avoid overcooking.
Consider different casings
While collagen casings are the most popular option for smoked snack sticks, there are other types of casings you can experiment with for a fresh snack stick style. Natural casings, for example, can give you a more traditional texture, while plastic wrap can be a good option if you’re making naked homemade beef sticks.
In conclusion, making your own smoked snack sticks is a great way to enjoy a tasty snack that you can feel good about. By using quality ingredients and following a few key tips and tricks, you can create snack sticks that are even better than the ones you’ll find at the grocery store.
Not only is making your own snack sticks a fun and rewarding project, but it also allows you to customize the flavor to your liking. Whether you prefer a classic spicy flavor or want to experiment with something new, there are plenty of variations you can try to make your snack sticks unique.
Overall, making your own smoked snack sticks is a great way to get creative in the kitchen and impress your friends and family with your culinary skills. So go ahead and give it a try – you never know what delicious combinations you might come up with!
Homemade Smoked Snack Sticks Recipe
- Meat mixer
- Jerky gun
- 4 lbs lean venison or pork sausage
- 1 package snack stick seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
- 1 teaspoon mustard seed optional
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed optional
- 1 teaspoon monosodium glutamate optional
- 1 teaspoon celery juice powder optional
- 2 teaspoons sodium erythorbate optional
- 2 teaspoons pink salt sodium nitrite
- 1/4 cup cold water
- Collagen casings or natural sheep casings
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground meat and all dry ingredients until well combined.
- If using a meat mixer, add the cold water and mix on low for 2-3 minutes until the mixture is sticky and thoroughly mixed. If mixing by hand, add the water and mix thoroughly with your hands.
- If using natural casings, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before using. If using collagen casings, remove them from the package and let them come to room temperature.
- Using a meat gun or jerky gun, fill the casings with the meat mixture, making sure to avoid air pockets.
- Hang the casings on the smoker racks, making sure to leave space between them for smoke circulation.
- Smoke the snack sticks at a low level of heat (around 165-170°F) for 3-4 hours, or until the internal temperature of the snack sticks reaches 160°F.
- Once the snack sticks are fully cooked, remove them from the smoker and place them in an ice bath to cool quickly.
- Once cooled, remove the casings and vacuum pack or store in an airtight container.
Adjust the spice level to your liking by adding more or less cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, or other spices.
When filling the casings, make sure to leave a little bit of space at the end of the casing to tie it off.
These snack sticks can be stored in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for several months.
YOUR OWN NOTE
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Shara @The Bird BBQ
Shara loves to experiment with different flavors and techniques when it comes to BBQ. She has been perfecting her craft for years and loves hosting backyard BBQs with friends & family. She often comes up with creative recipes that her guests rave about.