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Snack Sticks

Who doesn’t love a good snack stick. Tangy, smoky, and perfect on any occasion. In todays recipe we will be fermenting our snack sticks to achieve that beautiful tangy flavor. This step is completely optional but will add a complexity to your snack stick that will make them totally delicious.

We are going to be fermenting our snack sticks to naturally lower the pH through lactic acid producing. These bacteria that we add in our snack sticks will consume the sugars in our recipe and release lactic acid. As they release lactic acid the pH of our meat will begin to drop. The lower the pH gets the tangier your snack stick will be. You don’t need to worry about testing the pH for this recipe as I’ve dialed it in for you but if you have a pH meter you would be looking for a pH around 4.5 – 4.8

I used collagen casings in this recipe but if you happen to have sheep casings those work great as well. Just be sure to dry your snack sticks out before cooking so that the casings can adhere properly and the snack stick can take on that tasty smoke. To dry your casing out simply hang it at room temperature for a couple of hours before smoking or set your smoker to very low (110F-115F) with the baffles wide open or the door slightly ajar. This will speed up the process.

Follow basic fermented sausage preparation practices when making this sausage.
  1. Clean and Sanitize all of your equipment.
  2. Keep your meat and grinder parts super cold (below 34F)
  3. Any liquid that is added to the mince needs to be ice cold
  4. Mix your very chilled meat till the mince becomes very tacky
  5. Stuff the mince into sausage casings and prick out any air pockets
  6. Ferment your snack sticks at room temperature for 24 hours (75F-90F)
  7. After fermentation smoke and cook your snack sticks low and slow:
    Start at 125F for 1 1/2 hours, 135F for 1 hour, 155F for 1 hour, 165F till the internal temp reaches 140F (smoke is being applied lightly through the entire cooking process)
  8. After they finish smoking submerge the snack sticks in ice cold water to cool them off completely
  9. Finally let them bloom at room temperature for several hours.
  10. Refrigerate and enjoy!!

Here are a few things you might find useful when making sausage

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Print Recipe
4.15 from 54 votes

Snack Sticks

Smoky, tangy, and incredibly delicious
Prep Time2 days
Cook Time6 hours
Total Time2 days 6 hours
How much do you want to make? 1000 grams

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Clean your meat of any silver skin, sinew, arteries and cut into small strips or cubes. Place the meat and fat in the freezer for an hour or until the temp reaches 32f – 34F.
  • Prepare all of your seasonings, clean and rehydrate your casings, and rehydrate your starter culture. The starter culture needs to rehydrate for 30 minutes prior to use.
  • Grind your very chilled meat and fat on a course plate then regrind on a medium plate
  • Add your seasonings, the ice cold water, and the starter culture to your mince meat and mix till it becomes very tacky. If you grab a small handful it will stick to your hand if you hold your hand upside down.
  • Stuff your mince meat into the casings and hang them in an area where the temperature is 85f-95F for 24 hours (you can also place them in your oven with the light on during this fermentation stage)
  • After 24 hours of fermenting place the snack sticks in your smoker and begin to apply smoke (we use an external cold smoker for this)

Cooking Schedule

  • Start at 125F for 1 1/2 hours, 135F for 1 hour, 155F for 1 hour, 165F till the internal temp reaches 140F (smoke is being applied lightly through the entire cooking process)
  • Once finished cooking submerge in ice cold water and hang to bloom for 3-4 hours

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62 thoughts on “Snack Sticks”

  1. I’m interested in recreating the snack sticks you find at gas stations and liquor stores. I’ve made the cooked version like this but you have to eat them within several days or they go bad.

    I’m thinking with a fast ferment culture like F-CL or others that you should be able to ferment at high temperature to greatly bring down the PH value to 4.5, like this recipe shows, and then just don’t cook them so they don’t grow bacteria after the cooking phase.

    Or am I missing something? Can you cook these after the ferment without bacteria regrowing?

    1. If you use a starter like I did you can cook after fermentation and your product will be ok. Commercial sticks use antioxidants, and mold inhibitors in their product that makes it more shelf stable but with a lower pH your product will naturally resist bad bacteria and if you can dry it slightly to reduce the water activity you’ll have a stick that will be more shelf stable.

  2. Hey! Love your channel, can my snack sticks hang over night for a further bloom at room temp ? Or, should I only do 3-4 hours and package and refrigerate ? Thanks so much

  3. Our family likes “spicy” but the pepper really hits home with these snack sticks. Between the cayenne and chipotle powder nothing much else comes through.

  4. 5 stars
    Thanks for a sharing all insights and recipes! Truly inspirational. I don’t have access to hot smoker, but have sous vide equipment and a cold smoker. I guess a plan B could be to ferment, then sous vide, then cold smoke? How do you suggest storing the sticks when they are done? Vacum sealed in fridge should be ok for a couple of months i guess?

    1. I would ferment, then at the end of the ferment cold smoke, then sous vide. The smoke will pick up better in the raw meat. The sticks can be stored safely in the fridge vac sealed for several months..

      1. Hi Eric, these snack sticks sound delicious and I can’t wait to try them, just wanna confirm the recipe calls for 21 grams of mustard powder per kilogram of meat, seems like a lot is that correct or should it be 2.1 g per kg?
        Thx,
        Regards, Corey

        1. Hey Corey. Thanks for catching that!! I just changes it. Must have forgot the decimal.. I went ahead and redcued it to 2 grams😅

          1. You still need to change the calculation on the “English standard” calculator because that one is still off by a factor of 10

          2. Maybe you can help me here. Specifically what are you talking about. The way I see it, it looks fine. Am i missing something. Maybe you can give me a specific example of how the recipe is off..

  5. Eric,
    Do you grind the celery seed to a powder or leave the seeds hole?
    Also, finding pork back fat is not easy. Will ground pork or ground sausage work for this recipe.
    Thanks
    Tim

  6. Bob from North Texas

    Eric

    I want to make these snack sticks

    My issue is fermenting at 85-95 F

    I have the light on in my oven and it stays at 75

    I placed a heating pad on high and got to 83 after an hour … So there is hope

    But my wife thinks there is a timer internal in the pad and she questions whether it will get 24 hours of heat

    I have a Dehydrator that starts at 95 F

    Any chance of Vacuum Packing the sticks and using the Dehydrator for 24 hours ?

    Help…

  7. Bob from North Texas

    Sheet pan under the Heating pad on high helped a lot

    It’s on the floor of the Gas oven

    Up to 92

    I will let it run all night and see if it shuts down

    Might work

    Will let you know

  8. Bob from North TX

    It Worked

    Left the Heating Pad in the Oven on High with the light on all night and the Temperature stayed 92 F all night

    So I am Good to Go on Fermenting

  9. Hi Eric,

    I have a couple of Venison shoulders and I was thinking of using this recipe. Any concerns or advice before I dive in? If I use pork shoulder in the mix, do you have a go to ratio? Thinking 60% venison, 20% pork shoulder and 20% back fat?

  10. Bob from North TX

    Eric

    Let you know after I make them

    I been busy with more landjaeger and Sopresata

    Having a Blast!

    Thanks for your help!

    1. I wanted to add pork fat to this recipe so in this case eye of round works well. No matter the cuts you use you are looking for a 70/30 lean to fat ratio.

      1. Bob From North Texas

        5 stars
        Eric

        You Are Batting 1000!

        Made them , followed your recipe to a “T”, fermented 24 Hours with LHP placed in the oven with the light and heating pad , smoked them to your schedule Cold Water Drench and Dried them for 7 hours room temp with a Fan , cause I could not wait 15 hours

        Nice and Tangy and Perfect Heat!

        Fantastic!!

  11. Bob from North Texas

    Eric

    I am striking out on Back Fat … For whatever reason

    Can I use Pork Belly and Pork shoulder as a substitute

    Or just Pork Shoulder

    I realize Back Fat is probably denser

    Any ideas?

  12. Is there a substitute for the LHP Starter? I know the package is for many pounds but to try this recipe will cost like $36 just for the starter. Is the starter necessary?

    1. The starter isn’t necessary. The starter will naturally ferment your product to produce a tangy snack stick. You can use products like Fermento or Encapsulated citric acid to achieve similar results.

  13. I would very much like to try making these. However, I cannot find LHP Starter culture. We have two stores within an hour drive that sell sausage making supplies. I see Fermento LD, Fermento SD, MondoStart Classic, MondoStart SP, Having never made sausage that requires a culture I am a bit lost. Would any of those listed work?

    1. Fermento SD (I think) is a product that will “simulate” the tangy flavor. You don’t need to ferment the sausage if you use Fermento SD. Fermento LD (I think) is supposed to be an additive that you can add in conjunction to a starter culture. Both the MondoStarts are bacterial starter culture that introduce bacteria to your sausage specifically for fermenting (mush Like I did in this video). Either one would work (just follow my recipe for this sausage if you choose to use that)

  14. Eric,

    I caught a glimpse of your smoker set up. But can’t really get a good feel for what set up you have. Can you give me some specifics, brand, etc? I’m getting ready to invest and am having trouble finding a chamber type smoker that can go low and then get up to temp
    without getting too hot. Not interested in tending to a stick burner. My Traeger is new but even on the lowest seating seems to get too hot
    And have had problems of rendering the fat out. Any help would be appreciated.

    1. Sure Bruce. The smoker I use is from smokin it. It’s a model 4d-wifi. All of their digital smokers (wifi or not) work the same and can achieve super low temps. The wifi is easier to program (n the smart phone) but the regular unit is fairly easy to program as well. With this smoker I can start at 90f and through the programming have the smoker automatically increase the temps over a designated period. It’s pretty sweet and takes a lot of the guess work out of smoking. It’s completely changed the way I cook sausages and can’t really see myself cooking sausages any other way. One thing I did do was add a cold smoke generator to the side (they sell that also) because I like to start applying smoke at 125f and although I could add wood to the smoker itself, that wood wouldn’t begin to smoke till it reached 160f+. Now when I do brisket or pulled pork or ribs I generally just add wood to the smoker and let it rip. Hope that helps. Let me know if oyu have any other questions. The owner at Smokin-It is, Steve and he’s great. He’s generally available if you call him, let him know I said hi😉

  15. I have a propane smoker but even on the lowest setting the temp gets to 225F in non-winter months. Would turning is on and off to reglate the temperature work to keep with your temperature steps?

  16. 5 stars
    Eric,

    Great recipe! I finally was able to make a batch. I can not find LHP in my area, so took your advice and used the Fermento SD. It worked very well. Also took your advice and smoked these over hickory. Flavor is spot on! I was very happy with the results! Keep up the excellent work!

  17. if using encapsulated citric acid for culture, is it the same amount as LHP and would you need to cook same day as you add the citric acid?

  18. 5 stars
    Can you explain “hang to bloom”? I assume that’s at room temp? I just put mine in the ice water, They smell great, and when I lick my fingers of the grease after handling them it sure tastes good 🙂 I can’t wait to enjoy them!

    1. Yes. Just let your sausage hang out at room temp for 4-5 hours. This step is totally optional but it does make the color greatly enhanced. It doesn’t do anything for the flavor.. So your call..

  19. 5 stars
    Hi Eric,
    Awesome site that got me going on the curing quest. I made snack sticks yesterday with your recipe. Took out the chipolte powder and added chili powder (can’t do the heat).
    I had a bit of left over mince and made it into two small logs the size of the sticks. Can I put those in the smoker and look for the same internal temp?

  20. If I don’t have a smoker. Can I dry these snack sticks in the oven using the lowest setting of 170F-180F? If so what is the proper way to do this and for how long?

  21. Hello Eric, can I skip the LHP fermentation step and just go to the smoker? Or do you have a recipe that Simular to what I’m taking about?
    Thanks,
    Bill

    1. Hey Bill. Yes. Skip the LHP but keep everything else the same. After you stuff them into their casings let them rest in the fridge overnight then smoke the next day..

  22. hi sir. I have a problem with the skin on my snack sticks being too elastic, no snap. I have used collagen and sheep casings. My smoker, if I leave the door cracked, I can achieve lower temperatures 100f to 120f for 1 hour then I have issues around 130 to 140 but am able to dial in at 150f and 170f. any suggestions on getting that perfect snap.

    1. Use natural casings, if you have a binder that would be a good addition as well. Make sure your knife and plates on your grinder are sharp and chill your meat at every step. If the fat smears and runs out during the cooking it makes the sausage casing tough. Before you cook place the snack sticks in the smoker (off) for a couple hours at room temp. This step is critical. Once your sausage is dry to the touch you can start cooking. Try that and let me know how it turns out.

  23. Howdy,
    When fermenting, i watched in your Lebanon Balony video you used a sous vide to keep it at the proper temp. Can you do that for these snack sticks, then smoke?

    Also, if I wanted to dry them a little more to make them shelf stable could I just hang them in my walk in or in my kitchen? Ideally I would use a curing chamber to keep humidity and temp conosistant, but if that is not an option would wither of the former work?

    Thanks

  24. 5 stars
    I loved this recipe. I did make some altercations based on what I had on hand:
    – 1st, I made this from pork shoulder with the fat component being beef fat from brisket trimmings. I went with a 70/30 ratio
    – 2nd, I used ancho chili powder which is less spicy than chipotle powder. I used about 60% of the recommended amount of chipotle with ancho powder
    – 3rd, I used 1/5 the amount of cayenne as my wife cannot tolerate much spice
    – 4th, I used a small amount of my homemade (home-grown and smoked then dehydrated) chipotle powder
    – 5th, I used encapsulated citric acid rather than fermenting the meat

    The results were amazing. I will absolutely be making this recipe again. Thanks Eric!

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