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

ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4

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Print Recipe
4.75 from 16 votes

Snack Sticks

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



  • 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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52 thoughts on “Snack Sticks

  1. charlene edwards
    charlene edwards

    can you smoke these sticks in a pellet smoker like traeger or rectec?

  2. Sam Stevens
    Sam Stevens

    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. Eric

      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.

  3. Don Gray
    Don Gray

    I already have Bactoferm F-RM-52 US, BLC-007-US, and T-SPX. Would any of these work in place of the LHP?

    1. Eric

      F-RM-52 will do the trick.

  4. Mark Tipsord
    Mark Tipsord

    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

    1. Eric

      Hello Mark. I hang mine overnight (with a fan on them) at room temp. All in all my sticks hang for about 15 hours..

  5. RO

    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.

  6. Knut

    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. Eric

      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. Corey Schonke
        Corey Schonke

        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?
        Regards, Corey

        1. Eric

          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. T. Hanson
            T. Hanson

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

          2. Eric

            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..

  7. Eric

    Any substitutes for the Bactoferm LHP Dry? Just trying to save a few bucks.

    1. Eric

      You can use encapsulated citric acid and not ferment…

  8. Tim

    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.

    1. Eric

      I leave the seeds whole. If the grind isn’t too course and it was ground properly, I don’t see why not

  9. Bob from North Texas
    Bob from North Texas


    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 ?


  10. Bob from North Texas
    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

  11. Bob from North TX
    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

    1. Eric

      NICE!!!! I love it when a plan comes together. How did they taste? Nice and tangy?

  12. Glen Flowers
    Glen Flowers

    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?

    1. Eric

      That sounds amazing. Your fat/lean ratio should be good enough..

  13. Bob from North TX
    Bob from North TX


    Let you know after I make them

    I been busy with more landjaeger and Sopresata

    Having a Blast!

    Thanks for your help!

  14. Bob from North TX
    Bob from North TX

    Eric you call for lean Beef in the recipe
    Are you thinking Eye of Round or will chuck do?

    1. Eric

      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
        Bob From North Texas

        5 stars

        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!


        1. Eric

          Sweet😁😁. This is one of my favorites..

  15. Bob from North Texas
    Bob from North Texas


    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?

    1. Eric

      If you can get fatty pork shoulder that would work but you can also use belly as well. Just remember that belly is usually 50/50 lean to fat..

  16. Eric Countryman
    Eric Countryman

    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. Eric

      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.

  17. Steve

    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. Eric

      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)

  18. Bruce Richards
    Bruce Richards


    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. Eric

      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😉

  19. Tony Mitchell
    Tony Mitchell

    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?

    1. Eric

      You could but I would think that would be extremely difficult.

  20. daylon

    Hey Eric, do these snack sticks need refrigeration if unopened? I vac seal mine. Thanks

  21. Steve

    5 stars

    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!

  22. daylon

    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?

    1. Eric

      If you use ECA you will use .75% – 1% of the weight of the meat (depending on how tangy you want it). Yes. Cook the same day

  23. Marie

    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. Eric

      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..

  24. Carl Burton
    Carl Burton

    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?

    1. Eric

      Sure. That’s what I would do.

  25. Sam

    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?

    1. Eric

      You can finish these in an oven. Just take them to an internal of 155f..

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