Let me start off by saying there are several ways you can make this sausage. You can season the meat before you grind or after you grind. I have found that if you season the meat before you grind you will get protein extraction much quicker, but the choice is yours. Let's get started.
Prepare the meat
Clean your meat of any silver skin, sinew, arteries and cut into small cubes. Add all of the spices, binder, and liquid to your meat and mix well (DO NOT ADD THE ENCAPSULATED CITRIC ACID AT THIS POINT). Once you have it mixed well, cover with cling film and place into the refrigerator.
This would be a good time to prepare your sheep casings by rinsing, flushing and soaking them in water. Place in the refrigerator overnight. (I usually add 1/2 tsp of baking soda for every 2 cups of water that my casings are soaking in)
The Next Day
Chill your preseasoned meat. You want it to be below 34f (1.1c)
Grind your very chilled meat and fat on a medium plate (6mm). Then regrind on a fine plate (4.5mm). Rechill between each grind, keeping the temperature below 34f (1.1c) at all times. I would recommend partially freezing your meat before the regrind.
I find that having your meat partially frozen and formed into small balls that fit into your grinder throat works best for me. Toss in a little at a time and try not to clog up the head of the grinder. When your meat is properly chilled everything should grind nice and easy.
Once you are finished grinding, rechill your meat. Once the meat's temperature falls below 34f (1.1c) you can start mixing.
Mix the meat till it becomes very sticky. Once it gets sticky you can add the encapsulated citric acid and mix a little more till everything has been well incorporated
Stuff your mince meat into the sheep casings and form your links.
After you form your links you are ready to start smoking these pepperoni sticks
If you have a digital smoker here is a great cooking schedule
100f (37.7c) for 1 hour (this dries out the sausage) Leave the dampers wide open125f (51.6c) for 1.5 hours (apply smoke)150f (65.5c) for 2 hours (smoke or no smoke it's your choice)175f (79.4c) for 2 hours (no smoke)200f (93.3c) till the internal reaches 150f (65.5c) (no smoke)
If you don't have a digital smoker
Smoke these at 150f (65.5c) very slowly for 3 hoursbump up the temp to 200f (93.3c) and cook till you get to an internal of 150f (65.5c)
Once finished cooking submerge in ice cold water and hang to bloom for several hours. Enjoy
This small diameter sausage takes on smoke very quickly so I only smoke for 1.5 -2 hours, I find that more than that will overwhelm this snack stick.
Check the internal temp of your snack sticks around the 175F stage. They should be getting close.
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