Are you looking for an easy yet delicious way to enjoy venison, pork, or beef on a lazy Saturday afternoon in the backyard? Consider making snack sticks in a smoker!
Whether you’re serving them as a treat for the kids or as a savory addition to a birthday dinner, smoked snack sticks are a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.
But how do you hang them in a smoker exactly? In this article, we’ll provide you with all the information you need to create them perfectly.
From preparing the smoker and the meat (using a mixture of 80% meat and 20% fat) to stuffing and hanging the sausages on hooks, we’ll guide you through the entire process.
So keep reading to learn more!
Table of Contents
- What Are Snack Sticks?
- Benefits of Hanging Snack Sticks inside a Smoker
- How to Hang Snack Sticks in a Smoker
- Precautions to Take
What Are Snack Sticks?
These bite-sized meat snacks are created by stuffing partially dried sausage into casings with a small diameter.
Ideal for convenient on-the-go munching, whether you’re embarking on a road trip or simply seeking a swift energy boost post-workout.
With an assortment of both sweet and spicy flavors at your disposal, snack sticks serve as the impeccable choice for bustling families in pursuit of delectable options harmonizing with their dynamic lifestyles.
Benefits of Hanging Snack Sticks inside a Smoker
Racking and hanging stand out as two prevalent techniques for crafting homemade snack sticks, each bearing its own set of merits and demerits.
The racking approach excels in ensuring uniform heating; however, it necessitates regular turning. In contrast, the method of suspending the snack sticks fosters superior air circulation, obviates the requirement for incessant rotation, and guarantees the harmonious amalgamation of all constituents, enabling flavors to flourish exquisitely.
Moreover, using the hang method with the sticks creates more space within the smoker, allowing you to hang additional meat without any telltale grill marks. On the whole, employing the hang technique during the smoking process yields an irresistibly tantalizing dish, destined to be relished by all.
How to Hang Snack Sticks in a Smoker
There are several simple steps to follow:
1. Setting the Smoker
The process of setting up the smoker itself is remarkably straightforward.
Begin by removing the smoker racks and crafting a 12-inch wooden stick, carefully tailored to match the width of the smoker. Next, attach the snack sticks to the brackets designed to secure the upper shelf.
After completing this step, the subsequent actions are equally uncomplicated: gracefully hang the looped snack sticks from the dowels, and then, with a sense of anticipation in the air, await the enchanting transformation that will unfold.
2. Prepare the Meat and Stuffings
The process of preparing meat and fillings for snack sticks involves a sequence of fundamental steps, each playing a crucial role in attaining the ultimate perfection.
To begin, the meat selected for crafting can encompass any lean variety, harmoniously combined with fat in an 80:20 ratio.
Prior to subjecting the meat to the grinder, it becomes imperative to meticulously eliminate any superfluous fat, blood clots, sinews, or any undesired fragments.
The grinding process entails a two-fold progression: commence with a 3/8-inch grinder plate for the initial grind, followed by a 1/8-inch grinder plate for the subsequent refinement. This sequence yields finely crushed meat and fat.
Subsequently, the amalgamation of meat and spices transpires within a bowl, ensuring an equitable distribution of flavors.
For the task of suspending the snack sticks, select a casing not exceeding 0.8 inches in diameter, available in either collagen or natural sheep composition.
Delicately pack the meat mixture into the casing, meticulously eradicating any pockets of air, while simultaneously ensuring the length aligns with the smoker’s specifications.
Upon meticulously filling and fashioning the snack sticks into ropes, they embark on an hour-long sojourn within a chamber heated to a precise 90° F. This span serves to absorb the curing essence.
It’s imperative to avoid any contact between the snack sticks during this phase. Remarkably, the more desiccated the sausages become, the more superlative the ensuing outcome when subjected to the smoking process.
3. Smoking the Snack Sticks
The essence of achieving flawlessly smoked snack sticks lies in ensuring their uniform cooking on all sides, which calls for optimal spacing between each stick during the hanging process.
For safeguarding against the undesirable cohesion of meat while cooking, it’s advisable to introduce a petite pan into the smoker’s base, augmenting the humidity factor.
Prior to commencing the smoking phase, preheat your smoker to a temperature of 125°F, subsequently either suspending the snack sticks or placing them on the rack.
If where your smoker’s capabilities fall short of this temperature, embark on your culinary journey at the lowest attainable temperature, gradually ascending the heat over a calculated interval.
Embark on the smoking ritual, subjecting the meat to 125°F for approximately an hour and a half. Subsequently, orchestrate a gradual temperature elevation, reaching 135°F for a duration of one hour, followed by a final transition to 155°F for yet another hour. Finally, sustain the temperature at 165°F until the sausages attain an internal temperature of 160°F.
Throughout the process of suspending the snack sticks, exercise prudence in administering smoke, wherein diverse cooking temperatures serve distinct roles: imparting smoke, desiccation, and ultimate finishing.
The pursuit of balance is paramount. Inadequate heat leads to prolonged cooking, while excessive heat triggers the undesirable melting of fat, resulting in snack sticks becoming crumbly.
To retain the fat, smoke them using hickory or apple wood, and make sure the temperature is not too high for the small sections of white fat to melt.
The visual cues to heed involve the casings evolving into a state of dry, rich brown. This signifies the moment to extract them from the smoker.
Significantly, insert a probe into the core of one of the snack sticks to carefully monitor the temperature trajectory throughout the entire smoking process.
4. Cool The Snack Sticks
Once they are retrieved from the smoker, promptly cool them by rinsing with cold water and exercise patience, allowing at least 10 minutes for the temperature to descend.
Following this, allow them to rest at room temperature for approximately an hour before transferring them to the refrigerator or initiating the freezing process. To facilitate future enjoyment, preserve them in vacuum-sealed bags.
Employing vacuum sealing to encase these delectable snacks bestows the advantage of prolonging their shelf life – up to two weeks within the refrigerator or extending to six months when preserved in the freezer.
Opting to place them in a zipper-lock bag within the fridge comes with a caveat: ensure consumption within one week.
Leveraging leftover venison or beef to craft these snack sticks emerges as an ingenious approach to curbing waste. As evidenced, the procedure is not as formidable as it may initially appear.
Beyond being more budget-friendly than their store-bought counterparts, the allure lies in the dominion you wield over the constituents.
Why not embark on this endeavor and relish the fruits of your homemade endeavors?
Precautions to Take
Before hanging, ensure you leave enough space between the sticks and the burner to prevent excessive smoking of the bottom of the meat.
If you’re using racks, you can rotate the sticks to ensure even cooking. However, if you’re suspending the sticks, consider leaving more space between them or cutting them into smaller pieces.
When hanging, it’s advisable to position them as close to the smoker door as possible to ensure an even distribution of heat. While there’s no need to rotate or open the door, you can use a tape measure to cut the sticks to approximately 37 inches and then stuff them accordingly.
Raising the temperature gradually is crucial to avoid overcooking the bottom of the sticks. To disperse the heat from above the smoker, you can utilize a large stone or an aluminum pan filled with sand to help stabilize the temperature.
Can I smoke snack sticks?
Well, the answer is a resounding yes! You just have to make sure you’re on point with the process.
The cool part? Opting for a DIY smoke on your snack sticks is not only doable but also a healthier choice compared to grabbing them off the store shelves.
How to smoke in a smoker?
It’s very simple!
First off, nail the meat mixing part – make it just right. Toss in your favorite seasoning for that extra flavor kick. Once that’s dialed in, slip the mix into the casings and get ready for the smoking action.
Now, here’s the deal: Hang them up in your smoker, but make sure the temperature is spot on. That’s how the magic happens!
You now possess a comprehensive understanding and step-by-step guidance. Don’t hesitate any longer – begin smoking your beef, jerky, or venison snack sticks today.
Ensure the casings are adequately dried before applying smoke, raise the temperature gradually, and maintain sufficient space between the sticks and the heat source to prevent overheating.
By adhering to these tips, you’ll create a delectable snack that your entire family will adore. Go ahead and give it a try!
Wishing you the best of luck!
Hang the sticks
Hanging sticks, make smoked, sticks as close, don’t want the meat, shouldn’t be too long, reaches 160° f, sticks all the time, sticks of any lean meat, smokehouse, sticks in a room heated, sticks have been outside, outside of the sticks, result in your sticks, rack holder, small pan at the bottom, cook the meat, week in a zipper-lock bag, make sure to finish, meat in a mixing, start with the lowest temperature, keep track of the temperature, zipper-lock bag inside, dry well before applying smoke, collagen or a natural sheep, close to the heater, length of the ropes, inside the smokehouse, room heated to 90° f, 90° f for an hour, lowest temperature possible, gradually increase the temperature, temperature to 135° for one, 135° for one hour, skip the gradual temperature, different cooking temperatures serve, setting the heat too high, fridge or freezer, enough space between the bottom, one week in a zipper-lock.
Fernando is the creator and writer behind the food blog Eating with your Hands. Living and working in cities like Paris, Barcelona, and Berlin, and being married to a Canadian foodie, has given Fernando a passion and interest in food and inspired him to run EWYH.