Last Updated on: 23rd October 2022, 12:49 am
Smoking is the finest art which can enhance the flavor of various recipes.
one of these is smoking snack sticks from the leftovers of meat.
But beginners might get overwhelmed on how to hang snack sticks in a smoker.
In this article we are going to explain all the ins and out smoking sticks.
Let’s get started.
The Benefits of Hanging Snack Sticks in a Smoker
Snack Sticks are smoked in a smoker by two methods which are racking and hanging .
Both of these methods have their own pro and cons depending on the position in which snack sticks are cooked.
Racking involves placing snack sticks on the cooking racks and smoke them just like other type of foods.
Hanging is more effective for some people because it involves hanging of the snack sticks vertically which results in even cooking of the Meat.
In addition to the even cooking, hanging is also preferred due to a number of other benefits it provides.
The most common of them are explained below.
- Hanging is an effective way of smoking snack sticks because it cooks evenly.
Because the snack sticks are hanged vertically, each part of the sticks gets a maximum chance of exposure to smoke and airflow.
Which means the snack sticks will be cooked in the same manner throughout it’s length.
- In addition to even cooking, it also requires less effort than racking because the snack sticks are cooked on their own and you don’t have to adjust their position for further cooking.
While in racking , you have to flip the snack sticks to the other side to cook it and you can end up injuring yourself while doing so.
- In addition to the even cooking and Les effort it also provides space for cooking more sticks in single go than racking.
The reason is behind this difference is that when sticks are hanged vertically they occupy less space then racking. So we can hang more sticks by adding more supportive rods .
How to hang snack sticks in a smoker
Snack Sticks is an excellent recipe for utilizing the leftovers of the meat .
You can get rid of the leftovers while getting a delicious smoky snack sticks at the end.
Snack Sticks are a budget friendly way of utilizing your smoker while saving your bucks at the same time.
Here is a step by step guide on hanging snack sticks in a smoker.
The first and foremost step of every process is to gather the necessary equipment that you will need during the process.
Although snack sticks are are really simple to smoke , you may need some ingredients to get the most out of your sticks.
Here are the supplies that are usually required when smoking snack sticks.
- First of all, you will need a smoker to smoke the snack sticks .
It is an obvious requirement and if you are trying to smoke snack sticks without a smoker then probably you are out of your mind.
That said , the smoker should have a versatile temperature range from low to high to smoke the sticks efficiently during different steps.
- After smoker, the next thing that is needed to smoke the snack sticks is the fuel and you will have to use wood as fuel for your smoker because you have to cook the sticks by smoke instead of heat.
In addition, the wood type will also affect the flavor of the meat to a large extent
- You will also have to buy some collagen casing in which the meat will be stuffed. These should be of around 0.5-0.8 inches
- You will also have to collect some pieces of meat and fat that will be used as a mixture to form snack sticks.
- In addition, you will also need a grinder to grind the meat and fat.
The collagen casings are filled with the ground meat and fat to form snack sticks.
The thickness of grinding plates can vary depending on your personal choice and the type of meat you have chosen for your snack sticks
- In addition to the above, you should also consider having some peppers and other type of ingredients for seasoning your snack sticks. You can also use a marinade of your personal choice.
Freeze the meat
Now that you have gathered all the equipments needed during the process, its time to start the process.
First of all you will have to freeze you meat and fat to Avoid the fat from melting during the grinding.
It should be kept in mind that you will have to freeze the meat and snack sticks several times during the process to maintain the shape of snack sticks.
It is an extremely useful step to avoid the smearing of the meat during the grinding.
But it depends on your personal choice of whether choice on whether you want to freeze before grinding or not.
If you decide to freeze the meat then consider adding it into the freezer for at least 40 -50 minutes to make sure it is freezed properly.
Prepare the snack sticks
After the meat has been freezed for sometime, now you will have to remove it from from the freezer to further proceed in the process.
You will have to mix up the meat with a portion of fat before grinding.
The percentage can vary depending on your personal choice but most of the pitmasters like to go with 80% meat and 20% fat.
After you have mixed the fat and meat you should double check to remove any fat or blood clot that might affect the taste of snack sticks during smoking.
Once you are finished with cleaning of the mixture it’s the to grind.
Put the mixture into the grinder and grind them for few minutes.
The thickness of plates can vary. The grinder should have a sharp knife to avoid affecting the texture of meat.
Because a dull knife can result in the smearing of meat and melting of the fat.
The thicknesses of the grinding plates depends on the type of meat you are using .
If its tougher then you should definitely move to thicker plates to avoid demaging your grinder.
Once the grinding is done you can move to the seasoning of the meat.
It is done to add some flavor to snack sticks.
You can simply use a mixture of pepper, garlic and salt .
after that you will have to freeze the meat again to make sure the meat absorbs the flavor and melting fat should also be freezed.
Stuffing the snack sticks
Once the meat is freezed and the fat has settled you can move onto the stuffing part to smoke the snack sticks as quickly as possible.
It is the most important step of the smoking snack sticks and can affect on the texture of snack sticks.
You should use the collagen casings of the size around 0.5-0.8 inches to avoid ending up with loosy sticks.
You should stuff the casings carefully and avoid over-stuffing or under-stuffing to get the perfect texture of the snack sticks.
You should make sure that there are no air pockets in the casings which can affect texture of snack sticks.
If you find some Air pockets inside a casing then it’s better to poke it with a pin to remove the air.
Now that we have discussed the width of the casings and the stuffing it’s time to discuss the length of the snack sticks.
The snack sticks are usually of 5-6 inches size but they can vary depending on the size of your smoker.
They should be short enough to not reach the hot zone of smoker.
Once stuffed, the snack sticks should be left to dry for sometime.
Prepare the smoker
Once the snack sticks are stuffed and left for drying you can prepare your smoker for smoking at the same time.
the snack sticks are more easily cooked in vertical smokers with hanging hooks but we can also cook them in offset smoker with some modifications.
If you have a vertical smoker then you can just hang the sticks vertically.
If you have offset smoker then you will have to remove the cooking racks from the smoker first.
After that you can place a metal rod or a wooden stick in the brackets of top racks.
Then you can hang the meat from these sticks.
After that you may preheat your smoker if you want to .
Place snack sticks in the smoker
Once the snack sticks are dried you can consider starting your smoking process.
You should hang the snack sticks in such a way that they should not stick to each other.
There should be some space between the snack sticks for airflow .
If the airflow is not maintained then the smoke will be distributed unevenly which can lead to uneven cooking
After hanging the snack sticks, you may consider adding a water pan below the snack sticks for maintaining humidity inside the smoker.
The humidity can be important because smoking is a lengthy process and humidity should be maintained to avoid drying out of the snack sticks.
In addition humidity also helps in maintaining the temperature and avoiding sudden increase in temperature.
The smoking process should be started at from a low temperature because snack sticks are delicate and they can burn at higher temperature.
You should consider heating up your smoker to 130 F at first .
The air vents should be opened to provide airflow for the distribution of heat and smoke.
The temperature should be increased gradually over time.
After the snack sticks have been smoked at 130 F for some time , you may consider increasing the temperature to 135 for an hour.
After that increase the temperature to 155 F and keep the snack sticks cooking for one hour.
After that you should increase the temperature to 165 F and keep cooking the snack sticks at this temperature until the internal temperature of snack sticks reaches 160 F.
The temperature should be increased gradually in different phases to make sure the snack sticks don’t burn.
You should keep in mind that this should be the overall temperature and you should not cook your snack sticks near the firebox or in the hot zone because it can lead to uneven cooking.
The temperature should not exceed 165 F to avoid the burning of fat.
Temperature control is crucial that’s why you should consider using an accurate thermometer.
Take snack sticks off the smoker
Once the snack sticks have been smoked completely, you should consider removing the snack sticks from smoker to proceed further with the process.
After removing from smoker, you should place the snack sticks into cold water for few minutes.
After that remove the sticks from water and place at room temperature .
At the end freeze the snack sticks again for preserving for longer time.
Snack Sticks are easy to smoke but you should be careful about stuffing because it is the foundation of the snack sticks.
In addition to stuffing, freezing should also be kept in mind to maintain the texture of the meat.
We hope that this guide will help you in cooking snack sticks.
if you enjoyed this article then dont forget to read our article on What to do with spare rib trimmings
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