Snack sticks are a type of sausage. They’re pretty thin compared to most sausages, and the meat is stuffed into casings with a pretty small diameter.
People often keep snack sticks as a handy meat snack to satisfy hunger cravings on the go. They’re a great source of protein and are perfect to pack in your bag when you go hiking, need something to munch on while on a long road trip, or they make for a great snack for kids.
Read on to learn more about what a snack stick is.
What Kind of Meat Do You Use for Snack Sticks?
Snack sticks are usually made from pork or beef, but you can also find them made from venison, turkey, or chicken.
As you can see, almost any meat can be used to make snack sticks. And furthermore, almost any cut of the animal. Since the meat is ground before it’s stuffed into the casings, the part of the animal used doesn’t matter too much.
Of course, finer cuts will taste better, but cheaper cuts can also be heavily seasoned to improve the taste.
What Flavor Do Snack Sticks Have?
Snacks can be flavored any way you like. They can be smokey, peppery, spicy, or just salted. You can also find flavors like teriyaki, pepperoni, jalapeño, habanero, chorizo, and Tex Mex.
If you’re making snack sticks yourself at home, you can buy pre-mixed snack stick seasoning to flavor your ground meat with.
Do You Have to Cure Snack Sticks?
Whether or not you use cure in snack sticks depends on how you cook them.
Curing salts eliminate the bad bacteria in meat that can make you sick and give you food poisoning.
If you’re not cooking the snack sticks at a high temperature (in other words, if you’re staying within the “danger zone”), then you should use cure.
An example of when you’d do this is if you’re cold smoking the snack sticks (or smoking them “low and slow” within the danger zone for a long time at lower temperatures). Here, cure should be used to make the snack sticks safe to eat.
However, if they’re being hot smoked or grilled, you don’t necessarily have to cure them.
How Do You Make Snack Sticks?
Snack sticks are made the same way that most sausages are made.
The meat is first ground and mixed with seasoning. If curing the meat, curing salts can be added at this step.
The meat then goes through a sausage stuffer and is stuffed into casings. The casings are fairly small in diameter, about 15-23 mm wide.
Next is the smoking step. The type of wood used to smoke the snack sticks depends on the flavor you want the snack sticks to have.
The snack sticks are placed on a rack or hung in a smoker to be cooked. They’re smoked for a prolonged period of time, about 6-9 hours. For my review on the best types of smokers you can use for snack sticks, click here!
Once fully cooked, the snack sticks are immediately chilled in an ice bath and then cut up into individual links.
Note that while smoking is the most popular way to make snack sticks, you can also make them in the oven.
How Do You Eat Snack Sticks?
As the name suggests, snack sticks are just meant to be a snack. They’re usually eaten alone, and aren’t served as a part of a meal or an ingredient in dishes.
Snack sticks are an extremely popular type of sausage and make for excellent, smokey meat snacks.
Like other sausages, they’re pretty straightforward to make, too. I highly encourage you to experiment with different types of meat and seasoning to make the snack stick best suited for your taste buds!