Even though smoking snack sticks seems pretty easy, it can be a disaster if you don’t know the proper way of doing it. That’s why I’ll tell you how to smoke snack sticks today.
Let’s hope that the guide will save you from unwanted situations and result in really beautiful snack sticks.
There are a few small things people often don’t think are essential when smoking snack sticks. These mistakes, in the end, can ruin your whole recipe.
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So, I recommend you read the entire article so that you don’t miss anything important.
9 Simple Steps on How to Smoke Snack Sticks
Before jumping into the process of smoking snack sticks, you need to make sure that you’ve gathered all ingredients and tools. Ensure that you have everything ready by your side so that it’s not necessary to stop in the midst of the cooking procedure.
Things You’ll Need to Smoke Snack Sticks
- A Snack Sticks Smoker
- Butcher Strings
- Preferred Seasoning
Have everything ready?
Let’s see how you can prepare some amazing snack sticks without facing any complexities whatsoever.
- Step 1: Freeze Your Meat Beforehand
There are some tiny but crucial steps in smoking snack sticks. Freezing the meat for about 45 minutes before starting the procedure is one of them, especially in my opinion. Many people wonder why this stage is so essential.
For those who are wondering, freezing the meat will prevent the fat from separating. If the fat separates from the meat, the entire texture can get ruined.
- Step 2: Grind The Meat
The second step is to grind the meat using a grinder. I’m not specifying what plate you should use because it depends on the type of meat you’re using. This step is for those who are smoking the snack sticks entirely on their own.
- Step 3: Add Spices
The next step requires you to mix the spices. The seasoning depends completely on your preference. I use a variety of spice mixture that changes from time to time.
The last time I made snack sticks, I used kosher salt, garlic powder, pepper, buttermilk powder, sugar, dried chili flakes, onion powder, nutmeg, fennel seed, mustard seed, and Prague powder.
Once I add all dry ingredients to the meat, I add ice water and Sriracha sauce to the mixture.
After you’ve added everything to the meat, mix it using your hand. It takes about one minute to mix. Then, place the container in the refrigerator for about an hour.
- Step 4: Mix Again
After keeping the mixture in the refrigerator for an hour, bring it out and use your mixture to mix it again. Keep your mixer’s speed on medium. Mix for about three minutes before putting it inside the refrigerator again. Keep it there for another hour.
Remember that it’s essential for the meat to be cold before you put it inside the smoker. That’s the reason why you have to refrigerate it in between steps.
- Step 5: Stuff The Meat
Next, you’ll need to stuff the meat mixture inside the collagen casing. Use a stuffer to make the stuffing perfect. Overstuffing or under-staffing will create an unwanted impact on the recipe. I always go for half-inch casing, which seems to be the perfect size for making snack sticks.
- Step 6: Time To Use the Butcher Rings
You don’t want to overstuff your casing because you’ll need to separate the sticks. Use your finger to create a flat area every six inches. Now, use the butcher rings to tie both ends of the flat areas.
Cut between the knots, and you’ve got yourself some beautiful sticks. Many people don’t do this step, but I prefer refrigerating the sticks overnight before smoking them.
- Step 7: Preheat Your Smoker
Remember that the core tip for smoking snack sticks perfectly is managing the temperature. Some smokers can’t provide you with low temperatures, so you can’t use them for smoking snack sticks.
Some people prefer starting at 130 degrees F, but I initially use 140 degrees F with my recipe.
You need to preheat the smoker first. Use 140 degrees F temperature. Add the meat sticks to the smoker and let them smoke for an hour at 140 degrees F.
You can use your preferred wood for smoking the sticks. The recipe I’m doing works well with hickory, so that’s my preferred wood type. You can select any type that you feel comfortable with.
- Step 8: Adjust The Temperature
As I said, the key to perfect snack sticks is balancing the temperature. You need to increase the temperature slowly. After you’ve let the sticks smoke for about one hour at 140 degrees F, it’s time to increase the heat.
For the next hour, allow the meat to be smoked at 150 degrees F. Make sure to open the damper or door a bit when increasing the temperature. You will have to keep increasing the temperature by 10 degrees F per hour until the temperature reaches 180 degrees F. Also, keep opening the damper as you increase the temperature.
The next thing to do is keep the internal temperature in check. You want the internal temperature to reach 155 degrees F. Remember that it’s crucial to keep checking the internal temperature in between.
- Step 9: Stop Cooking
After your snack sticks reach the desired internal temperature, it’s time to stop cooking them. You can’t let them cool down gradually like all other recipes. You need to soak them directly into ice water to stop cooking them.
The next thing to do is to let them hand in room temperature for a few hours. Then, cut the knots from each end. Freeze the snack sticks you don’t intend to consume during the following week.
The Key-Factors You Must Know While Smoking Snack Sticks
I’ve created a table below to demonstrate some key factors determining the snack sticks’ perfection. Take a look to ensure that you don’t mess up the recipe with small mistakes.
Temperature is crucial. If you don’t follow precise steps with temperature adjustments, you may end up with undercooked or overcooked snack sticks. Make sure that you don’t make any sudden changes to the temperature.
Keep opening the door slowly when increasing the temperature. The internal temperature is also an essential aspect. Consistently check the internal temperature to ensure when the meat reaches the desired temperature level.
Snack sticks can require six to ten hours to smoke. It depends on a lot of issues, including the meat type you’re using. So, ensure to keep the internal temperature in check to avoid undercooking or overcooking the sticks.
You can either go for charcoal or propane when smoking snack sticks. Even though electric smokers are comparatively more convenient, they don’t offer you the same level of smokiness as the smokers with direct heat do.
The type of wood you’re will surely have an impact on the flavor. So, make sure you’re okay with the wood chip’s flavor that you are using. You’ll find many varieties when it comes to wood. Hickory is a good choice, but there are also other options.
For instance, apple bbq wood and cherry are two great options if you want your snack sticks to have a mild and subtle or sweet flavor.
Even though you can get creative with spices, you don’t want to experiment with a recipe if you’re a beginner. Try to stick to a certain recipe if you don’t want your smoke sticks to taste weird. Also, don’t forget to compare the ingredients’ amounts with the amount of meat you’re using.
How Do You Hang Snack Sticks In A Smoker
Some people prefer smoking their snack sticks while laying them on the racks, whereas others prefer hanging them inside the smoker. What method is comparatively more effective?
There’s no right answer to this question. You can do it using either way. Any method you’re comfortable with will do fine. People who are in favor of hanging them think that flipping the sticks once in a while is quite a chore. Hanging the sticks is comparatively more hassle-free.
You have to remove the shelves from the smoker you’re using. Then, use the hooks on your smoker to hang the snack sticks. You’ll also need to ensure that each stick isn’t longer than the smoker in length.
How Do You Cure Snack Sticks
You should freeze the meat before grinding for about 45 minutes. Use the medium plate to grind the meat and add all your preferred seasoning. Mix the meat well using your hand and refrigerate it for one hour.
Now, remove the mix from the fridge and use your mixer to mix it again. After you’ve mixed it for about three minutes, let it sit in the refrigerator for another hour.
Then, after putting the mixture inside the casing, keep the sticks in the fridge overnight before smoking them using the smoker. You should also put the sticks in ice water after you’ve finished smoking them.
How long should you smoke snack sticks?
Snack sticks can take about six to ten hours to smoke, depending on the meat and recipe you’re using. The proper way you can ensure whether your snack sticks are done smoking is to monitor the internal temperature.
The standard internal temperature you’re looking for is 155 degrees F. Until the sticks reach this desired temperature level, they won’t be done smoking. So. there’s really no constant time limit for the sticks to be done smoking.
What temperature do you smoke snack sticks?
You need to preheat the smoker at 140 degrees F. Start smoking the sticks using the same temperature and then increase it by 10 degrees per hour. Don’t forget to open the door a bit every time you raise the temperature. Once you’ve reached 180 degrees, look out for the internal temperature of the meat.
One of the key factors of perfect snack sticks is temperature adjustment. Remember to ensure that the temperature increases bit by bit from a low level. Or else, you can’t expect the sticks to be perfect.
How do you know when snack sticks are done?
The only way you can ensure that the snack sticks are done cooking is by using a meat thermometer. The internal temperature is what counts in this situation. You have to constantly keep measuring the internal temperature of the snack sticks to know when they’re done.
Can you dehydrate snack sticks?
You can dehydrate snack sticks using your dehydrator. The duration and the temperature are similar to using a smoker. You’re looking at eight to ten hours of dehydrating until the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees F.
How long do cured snack sticks last?
How long your snack sticks will last depends on the method you are using. If you intend to store them at room temperature, they’ll last about two to three weeks. If you use your refrigerator to store them, they’ll last up between three to six months.
The longest you can store cured snack sticks is using the freezer. The sticks can last up to a year if you are using your freezer.
We always want to be innovative when we cook. However, when you’re doing something for the first time, I always recommend you stick to a basic structure and follow a proper recipe. That’s why I created this guide on how to smoke snack sticks. Once you master this recipe, you can experiment to see what works better.
If you see your snack sticks failing repeatedly, try to find what you’ve been doing wrong. Sometimes the smallest negligence can ruin a perfect recipe without you knowing. So, try the following everything with precision, and you’ll have your perfect snack sticks in no time.