Thursday, August 19, 2010

How to Make Smokin Snack Sticks, Part 2

(Read How to Make Smokin' Snack Sticks, Part 1, August 17th, 2010 Post) 
After we let the snack sticks cure over night , it was time to put them in the smoker. We washed our smoker thoroughly and plugged it in for 3 hours before using. We read that you should run your smoker before putting food inside because it burns off any fumes from the manufacturers materials such as paint, chemicals in the metal etc. You don't want to penetrate your food with carcinogenic smoke.
The heating element sits on porous coals, which in turn, heat as well and create the smoke effect.

We then soaked the hickory chips in water for about 30 minutes. There are many different "flavors" of wood chips you can purchase. I saw Maple, Apple, Hickory, Mesquite, and even Jack Daniels. They also have barrel chips that you can purchase that were once oak barrels that stored whiskey. The pan that's shown here can be used in the smoking process as well and it makes more of a smoky steam.

Then we laid the chips on the coals next to the heating element.

We purchased a Jerky Rack to lay our snack sticks on. This prevents the sticks from deep frying in their own seeping juices. The delicious oils and flavors drip through the rack, hit the hot coals then evaporate into smoke and rise to re-flavor the meat, so it continuously cycles with deep smoky flavor. Needless to say it smells wonderful!

We let the sticks smoke for a couple hours, don't peek for the first hour or so or your beautiful cooking smoke will fly out the lid and you'll have to wait for the temperature to build back up. then inserted a digital meat thermometer to see if a safe temperature had been reached for a beef product. It had!

At this pint you're supposed to let them cool before eating, but we couldn't wait and broke off pieces of the delicious snack sticks, burning our fingers, but just a little.
Even Ceddie had some, poor dog, he kept asking to go outside all day, and he'd wander around the garage sniffing the smoky meaty air.

(Just a note, we also made beef jerky that day, which is the same process only instead of piping the ground meat into smoked casings, you use a flat fitting on the jerky press and pipe it in strips along your Jerky Rack, everything went in the smoker together.)

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