First attempt at snack sticks went horrible

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by buccosnation, Jun 11, 2016.

  1. Today was my first attempt at snack sticks. It started off terrible when I realized the casings would not fit the horn. I just picked up a cabelas stuffer which comes with a 15mm,20mm, and 30mm horn. I was trying to use 16mm casings. It did not work. I tried to fashion up a 3/8" horn using pex but that didn't work either. I then decided that it I just take the casings (collagen) and pull them out that I could get them to fit on the stuffer. Barely. It was tight. So I start cranking down and nothing but air comes out. Yet my stuffer is supposed to have an air release. Meat starts coming out and right off the bat the casing breaks. I get a new one on and this time crank slowly so I hear the air come out the release. I keep going and after about 6" of stuffing a huge air pocket comes out and breaks the casing again. Next, these casings are 16mm and they looked like breakfast sausage coming out. Will they shrink that much during smoking/cooking that they will resemble snack sticks? I hear of people using 21mm and I can't imagine how big that looks coming out of the stuffer. So now I'm shopping online looking for a 3/8" horn that will fit my stuffer and trying to figure out how the hel* to do this. Any help would be appreciated. This forum has been so helpful so far for a beginner like myself. You guys and gals rock!
  2. jeffinn

    jeffinn Fire Starter

    16 mm casing can be challenging, I use 19mm most of the time and occasionally 21 mm.
    When you pack your meat into the stuffer be careful not to create air pockets. You'll always get a few small air pockets in sausage but you can usually eliminate those after stuffing by poking with a sterile needle or knife point.
    I've used the 3/8" stuffing horn too. Just know going in that you have to crank slow or make sure your meat batter has more than enough liquid in it. Usual recipes call for 1 cup per 5 lbs of meat. If you cant get it through the stuffer you may need to add more.
    Once you get the hang of it, it'll go fairly fast.
    Hang in there!
  3. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    To stuff 16mm collagen you will need a 3/8" OD tube or 9.5mm (OD) 7/16" OD the collagen will start to get tight on the tube.

    7/16" OD will stuff 16 thru 21mm providing your tube does not have a bell or flare at the end closer to the stuffer.

    For 5lbs of meat you should need no more that 1/4 to 1/2 cup water, to much AW will result in a watery meat, water in the casings and you won't like the end result. You had a casing blow out, most times its air pockets or (old) casings. you have a Cabelas stuffer then you must have the elbow at the bottom? Make sure you have meat in the elbow and run the meat thru the tube all the way to the end then back the crank off some, most stick collagen you buy at Cabelas, BPS or Gander are between 19-21mm, not saying that they don't carry smaller but they might be online. I use 15,16,17 & 18mm collagen but buy mine by the caddy.

    Hope this helps some.

    Keep practicing, casings are cheap.

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