Making Your Own Venison Pepper Sticks
Making your own Venison Pepper/Snack Sticks is easy and fun, but it does take a few trials to find the ultimate taste and pork to venison ratio you prefer. I also recommend you visit a local butcher shop for purchasing your mixed spices as they have already perfected the seasoning and you will find the spices will cost much less then purchasing them in a store. The butcher shop should also have other mixed spices like Brats and Summer Sausage.
Purchasing Pepper Stick Spices, Casings, And Pork
Purchase your spices from a local butcher store. The butcher shop will mix them for you and let you know how much water to add (Make sure to add your water to your spices and mix well before adding it to your meat). When I buy mine, I purchase enough for 20 pounds of pepper sticks at a time, which is approximately 1.3 pounds of spice mix at a cost of $5 -$7. Purchase your pork at a local grocery store and look for specials, you should be able to get pork shoulder or butt roasts for $1.86 to $2.18 a pound. For your casings you will want to use Mahogany Fibrous Casings which are 17mm or 19mm.
How Much Venison And Pork To Use
Here is the recipe I use, but you will need to do a few trials to get the right percentages for your taste. Grind your venison and pork separate on coarse grind, then mix then by hand and grind them together on fine grind. This Venison to pork mix is 50%, Butcher shops will use as much as a 4 (pork) to 1 (venison) ratio, but I have found this too be to much and it will be too fatty or greasy. You may want to start with a 2 (Pork) to 1 (Venison) ratio and try 5 pounds of total Pepper Sticks before doing large batches.
50% – 10 lbs of Pork
50% – 10 lbs of Venison
Spice mix for 20 lbs of Pepper or Snacks Sticks. Mix your water with your spices before adding to your meat.
How To Prepare Your Pepper Sticks For Smoking
Once you have your Pepper Sticks ready set them in the refrigerator for 12 hours to allow the seasonings to work. After sitting overnight you will want to dry out your casings/sticks before smoking, as this will allow the smoke to penetrate the casings easier. To dry your snacks & casings place them in your smoker at a temperature of 80 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, do not add wood chips yet. Now let them dry for 90 minutes, next turn your smoker up to 225 degrees, add your wood chips and smoke and cook until the center of your sticks reach 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Your Pepper Sticks are now done and ready to serve. See this post for converting your charcoal grill to an electric smoker
What about the extra meat left over that you could not stuff into casings? Take the leftover seasoned meat and form it into a roll, using wet hands will work best. Then place this on a piece of parchment paper and smoke and cook as you would the rest of your Pepper Sticks. See how to make the best tasting Venison Hamburgers.
How To Prepare Your Pepper Sticks Before Freezing
The first thing I have found is, NOT to twist your sticks as you’re stuffing them. This takes time and they have the tendency to un-twist and break as you are making them. Once they have sit in the refrigerator overnight take them out and cut or try to twist them to the desired lengths and cook. Now they are ready to eat or vacuum seal and freeze.
If you want a great thermometer for aiding in your temperature control and knowing when to remove your sausage invest in the Dual Oven and Meat Sensing Probe Thermometer and Timer. You can purchase one for $21 and it will be much more accurate than your grill thermometer and comes with alarms. See my post on making Summer Sausage and Brats.