Need some Snack Stick help

Discussion in 'Making Jerky' started by zendez33, Jan 13, 2012.

  1. First off hats off to these forums, this my first post but I have used many tips from here in my short smoking adventures….but I have a problem.....

    I am on about my 7th or 8th batch of snack sticks consisting of 2# venison 1# pork. I have been using Lem and various Himountain seasonings with what I can describe as bland results. The texture is there, the color is there but the overall taste lacks that deep smoky flavor I am looking for. Ive also added heat, pepper ..etc ,hoping that with additional seasoning id hit on something but nothing. Now don’t get me wrong the sticks arnt going to waste but I am not happy with the overall flavor yet. Here is my equipment list, keep in mind I am complete n00b J


    Great Outdoors Smoky Mountain 20" x 34" Gas Smoker (cheapy from walmart)

    Jerky cannon with 3/8 stuffing tube

    LEM 21mm edible collagen casing

    Char broil Hickory wood chips


    Follow Lem or Himountain directions and let meat cure for 24-48 hours. Load the casings. Get the smoker rolling until I see nice tint of smoke. Now my smoker has trouble getting below 180, it hovers from 180-190 (measured w/ AW131 Grill Right Wireless thermometer). So that is what I smoke it at. Once the sticks reach an internal temp reaches 155 I pull em out and let them bloom overnight (no ice bath).



    Move away from the pre-packaged season mixes?

    A-maze-n smoker instead of smoker box?

    Different brand of chips?

    A different smoker?

    Modify current smoker to accommodate lower temperatures?


    Any help would greatly be appreciated, thank you!


  2. shtrdave

    shtrdave Smoking Fanatic

    I am not a pro at sticks I usually do them in my dehydrator, but from what it looks like your temps are two high, and they just are not in the smoke long enough.

    Check this thread out

    or do a search for Needle Valve.

    If you have a AMNPS or AMNS maybe hang the stick and hit them with some smoke for a couple hours before you fire up the heat.  If you are using prepackaged mixes they no doubt include a cure so you will be good with the smoking for a few hours.

    If like the flavor of the premade mixes stick with them or add some stuff to them to help them out, I use Cabelas mixes and Lem, all the time.
  3. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

  4. Thank you for your tips!! I do like the idea of a needle valve and AMNS pre-smoke, I hear a lot of good things about AMNS....I am on a mission to perfect this :).

    I should add I dont mind the pre-package mixes, everyone who has tried my treats has given me a thumbs up. I think my biggest thing is the smoke, outside layer defiantly has it, not extremely strong then its pretty much lost in the middle of my snack sticks....I dont want the smoke over powering but it defiantly needs more penetration 

    Thanks again!
  5. I agree that too high of cooking temp gets your sticks out of the smoke too fast. You can also try adding a teaspoon of liquid smoke into the meat and seasoning before mixing to help get smoke flavor all the way through.
  6. Ah yes the liquid smoke excellent idea! Keep them coming :). With the high temperature issue I am thinking about adding a couple bbq air dampers, one on the left side and one on the ride side of the smoker. I think I could regulate the temperature that way as well. Although a needle valve might be the easiest solution 
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2012
  7. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Now if you have the liquid smoke throw it away. We don't use it here unless you need to fill up the tires on the lawnmower. We use the smoker for that. Now you can get a needle valve thingie or you csan go to the local (you know next to the CVS) Walgreens and get a single hot plate and it will give you the low temp that you need for start smoking your stix. I can get smoke at 70° in my GOSM smoker. Then you can move to the gas part for he final smoking to get the stix to the 156° that you need them to be at.
  8. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member


    HM Sux

    Many other fantastic packaged stick kits out there.
  9. mballi,

    Hot plate, never thought about that either. How long do you smoke for with the plate?


    Yea I am not blown away with Himountain or LEM, any suggestions?
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2012
  10. grabber

    grabber Smoke Blower

    IMHO, I use liquid smoke.  Ratio 1 tsp to 5 lbs meat.  Gives it a hint of smoky taste.  Also,are you drying out the casings before applying the smoke.  Run it at around 140 to dry the casings out before hitting it with smoke.  Smoke won't adhere to a damp or wet surface. 
  11. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Lots of great mixes out there.


    PS Seasoning which also makes the Cabelas smokehouse kits.

    Con Yeager

    Hi Country (not to be confused with HM)




    Ask The Meatman

    AC Legg
  12. smokeamotive

    smokeamotive Smoking Fanatic

    [​IMG]  What Napas says! I swear he makes more sticks than Jack Links. I have used Eldons mixes with good results.
  13. Hey zendez33,  I just put a needle valve on my Master Forge gasser.  It's really improved the temp controls.  Another trick is to use sand in your water pan instead of water or leaving it empty.  It becomes a large heat mass and really helps even out the temp swings.

    There's another running post about this and I detailed the parts needed for a needle valve mod if you're interesting.

    Here's the link:

    Keep on smokin' and good luck with the search for that perfect stick!

  14. Thanks Napas, Im thinking about ordering some AC Leggs seasoning. Grabber, no i am not drying the cases out, I can't run my smoker that low. I am working on a few things to make that happen though. Thanks everyone!
  15. Thanks Gray, my only worry with the need valve is that my flame will blow out. Seems to be a general issue with the needle valve mods, atleast from what I have read.
  16. Haven't had any problem with flame-outs.... guess it depends on just how low you try to get the flame.  But is has not been a problem for me.  Maybe some others that have made the mod will comment as well.

  17. Ok thanks, just need to get my temps down about 20-30 degrees. I may just take a trip to lowes or home depot today and give if a shot
  18. I'm with you on the himountain season kits. I like the flavors, but everything comes out bland. I think the last batch of ground jerky I did I just about doubled the seasoning from what the instructions called for. I tried making whole muscle jerky as well using the amounts on the package and it came out good texture and looks wise, but way to light on flavor. Maybe just a wet marinade for whole muscle instead of dry? I have some cabelas jerky kits as well but I'm afraid to put in the time for blah results.

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