These venison snack sticks are the perfect treat to pack for any outdoor adventure. They pack a protein punch that is perfect for keeping your energy up, and the cure helps preserve them so you don't have to worry about refrigeration.
Mix together the dry ingredients, and form well in center.
Pour in wet ingredients and stir to incorporate.
Put the already ground venison and bacon in a large bowl, and pour the spice mix over the meat. Hand mix the ingredients in a large bowl.
Run mix through a grinder once. This is to help ensure the spices and the meat are mixed well. If you don't have a grinder for this step, just make sure you mixed the spices and meat together enough to avoid "pockets" of areas with and without spice.
Cover snack stick mix and let rest in refrigerator overnight to "bloom."
The next day, put your sausage stuffing parts in the freezer for about an hour to get ice cold.
While the sausage stuffing parts are getting cold, pull the snack stick mix out of the refrigertor and mix in 1 cup of high temp cheddar cheese.
Add snack stick mix to sausage stuffer cavity that can hold at least 5 pounds of meat.
Assemble sausage stuffer and add 17mm mahogany collagen casings to a 16mm nozzle or smaller. You don't need to soak mahogany casings. To put casings on nozzle, pull the end a bit to loosen it from the rest of the casing and push it on the nozzle. Keep unraveling the casing while pushing it on the nozzle. Leave 3 inches of casing hanging off the end of the nozzle.
Push a little of the snack stick mix into the 3 inch end hanging off to allow air to release. Tie off end.
Continue to fill casings with snack stick mix and regulate so they are full, but not so full they rupture. You can always fill full, pull off of nozzle, and pack the casings fuller by squeezing from the open end down to the tied end. If you are left with more empty casing after squeezing, put the casing back on the nozzle and fill until 2 inches is left on the end. Tie off end.
Heat your smoker to cook the jerky at an internal temperature of 110℉ for 1 hour. If your smoker allows for it, don't use smoke during the first hour to help the casings set. The casings can be set directly on the smoker rack or hung over a pole. I like to insert a digital themometer into the end of two sections to monitor the temperature as it smokes and dries.
Start smoking hickory and increase the temperature so that the internal temperature reaches 140℉. Smoke for 2 hours. Continue to monitor temperature to ensure it doesn't increase too much.
Transfer the snack sticks to a preheated dehydrator to 160℉. Dehydrate snack sticks for 2 hours. Do not let snack sticks internal temperature rise above 160℉.
Fill you sink with ice water, and then add snack sticks to ice water bath for 10 minutes.
Pull out of water and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes to allow them to dry off.
Cut to desired length, vacuum seal, and freeze what you won't be eating right away.