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When you are making snack sticks from Venison, are you letting them sit at room temp for a few days after smoking to dry down or are you freezing them right away?

I have been pulling them from the smoker, giving an ice water bath and then vacuum sealing them before they go in the freezer. My dad had some from Schmidts in Nicollet and theirs seems to have been shrunk down and dried out more than mine. The casing was also stuck tight to the sticks while mine you could easily peel off or slide the stick out of it. Thought if people were air drying them I would do a batch and try that.

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after the cold bath we chilled them in the fridge until the next day and sealed and froze them

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Where I have been bring my Deer for many years does a Great job with everything else but their sticks have become shrunken and dry so I just quit buying them. When I first went there the Dad's were running the shop and they were good but now the son's have taken over and their not as good. :(

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I would guess the shriveled and dry sticks are not getting a proper ice bath--a cold shower or an ice bath stops the cooking process (i.e., prevents OVER cooking) and it also prevents the sticks from getting wrinkled. Just a theory regarding the meat shops mentioned above, but I would  guess they are batching out tons of stuff and aren't taking the time to properly ice bath the sticks. Makes a huge difference in the finished product.

PurpleFloyd, my two cents, but after the ice batch you should hang your sticks and let them "bloom" for a couple hours at room temp. The blooming stage allows your sticks to develop color (they will darken) while also giving the meat a rest which helps with moisture distribution and overall flavor as the juices settle out/balance. Then go ahead and vac seal and freeze. No need to let them "dry down" after that--they are what they are at that point, IMO. I believe 50% of your finished product is what you put in it--the other 50% is the process. Don't half-arse either and you will always get a good result.


Edited by pikestabber

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I do an Ice Bath as well, but I like a little wrinkle in my sitx - just a personal preference, I like a good dry snap, not to greasy. But I achieve that through a leaner mix, a tight stuff, and a maybe a little longer in the smoker.

Otherwise I do what Mike89 does, cold water to stop cooking and in the fridge exposed overnight before wrapping or sealing. Every now and then I get a casing that slides off, but the inside is still what I want it to be.

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Well it depends how you like them I don't use a cold water bath I take out of smoker 3-5 degrees below cooked internal temp finish and hang and let cool. Then I will store in a brown paper bag in the fridge for a couple days before I vac pac and freeze.


I found that this works for me and my smoking process my stick casings are very tight and my sticks are not wrinkled.


Some people swear by ice bath some people don't next time you make a batch try a couple different ways and see how they turn out and what you like the best.



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