Pepper snack sticks are by far one of the tastiest snacks you can make with deer meat. For flavor purposes you’ll need to add some pork since venison is so lean but you’re final product will be much leaner than the products you buy on the shelf. The recipe below was taste tested and well received at the recent gathering known as the Bowhunting.com Get Together Fun Shoot. The enclosed photos are of the actual batch of pepper sticks that I gave out. If you don’t like the spicy version below you can leave out the jalapenos and hot pepper cheese and substitute for a high temp cheddar or Swiss cheese.
Jalapeno & Hot Pepper Cheese Pepper Snack Stick Recipe
14 lbs lean ground venison
11 lbs 80/20 ground pork
2 lbs FriscoSpices Hi Temp Hot Pepper Cheese
2 cups of diced pickled jalapenos
FriscoSpices Pepper Snack Stick Spice pack with cure pack
1/3 Cup of FriscoSpices Encapsulated Citric Acid (optional)
1 pkg 21mm Collagen Casings
25 oz water minimum (1 oz per lb)
Step 1 (Assembly Step)Mix the spice package contents with the cure package. Mix both meats together and then add the spice pack with cure and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours minimum. Add the encapsulated citric acid if you want a more mature tangy flavored sausage and mix well. Finish by mixing the jalapenos and hi temp pepper cheese and then add water, don’t over mix after water is added or mix will become stiff and hard to crank your stuffer. So blend water in carefully then stuff into the casings. (If it does become stiff and hard to stuff just add some more water.
Step 2 (Drying Step)Load into the smoker by looping the sausage over your smoking stick, leave sufficient spacing between each ring. Cut the bottom of the rings and let them hang down straight. This will give you more straight finished product when done. Don’t worry, the meat will not run out of the casings. Set the heat to 125° for 1 ½ to 2 hours make sure your vents should be opened wide to aid in the drying by increasing the air flow, be sure the casings are dry to the touch before going on to step 3. This is the drying step and must be completed before adding any smoke.
Step 3 (Smoking Step)Add smoke and heat between 135° to 145° for 2 – 4 hours depending on your preference of smoke flavor. Vents should be opened ¼ of the way during this step.
Step 4 (Cooking Step)Raise the temperature about 5° about every 20 minutes until the internal temperature of the snack sticks reaches 152°. Take out and hose down with clean water to halt the cooking process so the sticks don’t get over cooked. Lay the sticks out with sufficient spacing to allow each stick to dry in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days and then package for storage. Vacuum seal if possible for best storage results. Freeze any packages that you’re not going to eat with a week.
Important Note: During step 4, the 20 minutes of cooking time before raising the temperature 5 degrees is only a guide line and should be determined by the internal temp of the snack stick compared to the internal temp of the smoker. Do not exceed 30° of difference between the internal temp of your sticks and the smokehouse air temp or you will over cook the outer portion of the snack stick before reaching the proper internal temperature. This will result in wrinkled casings and dried out snack sticks. Every time I’ve tried to hurry this step by being impatient, I’ve been extremely disappointed with my finished product. I can’t over emphasize the importance of following this rule.
I have the good fortune of living near FriscoSpices in La Vista, Nebraska where I’ve attended their free sausage making class on two occasions and have become friends with Mike Pullen who’s the owner and operator. FriscoSpices is a very customer friendly company and has always been very helpful with any questions I’ve had concerning sausage or jerky making. When I mentioned to Mike that I was going to do this story on venison pepper snack sticks he graciously said that he’d extend a 10% discount to anyone that places an order and mentions that they read this story on bowhunting.com. Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you have any questions. Good luck and happy sausage making.