Are you craving a good meat snack? Who doesn't like beef sticks, it's a fast, tasty and nutricious snack. When store bought, it is pretty expensive, so in order to save money and get a better taste I suggest trying to make your own home-made beef sticks.
It's not really that difficult, you need many ingredients and the right equipment. You're going to need a meat grinder, a stuffer and an oven or a smoker. Depending on the method you use to prepare your beef sticks.
I'll start by presenting a simple recipe, so that you can read how to do it step by step. At the bottom of the page you will find a video that visually displays how to make beef sticks from the beginning to the end. ( The video is not a property of this website, I found it on youtube ).
You have to keep in mind that this kind of snack can be made out of many different types of meat, such as beef, pork, wild game, chicken or a combination of meats.
I recommend a meat to fat ratio at around 80/20. If you use a meat with lower fat content, like wild meat for an instance. You should add at least 20% pork.
The ingredients - meat/fat ratio 80/20
First cool down the meat, a cooled-down meat prevents clogging of the grinder. A meat grinder will definitely handle smaller pieces of meat much better.
a ) The first stage of grinding - grind the blocks of meat using a bigger grinding plate ( plate size of 3/8). Next put it in the freezer for half an hour to get it cooled down again. We want to avoid the risk of the grinder clogging up.
b) The second stage - Regrind the cooled-down meat fast, this time using a 1/8" grinder plate.
First put in all the meat seasonings and blend it all together. After 5 minutes add a glass of cold water and blend again for at least 3 to 4 minutes.
Now we need to cool down the finished blend, you can do this two ways - the fast way or the old effective method.
The fast way is putting the meat in the freezer for about half an hour.
The traditional old method is mutting the blended meat into the fridge for 12 to 24 hours. That way the meat blend will taste and smell much better. But you can easily use the first method if you don't have that much time.
After enough time has passed since you put the meat blend in the fridge or freezer - we need to grind the meat again. Use a 1/8" grinder plate for this. It will allow to get the right consistency, which will make it good for stuffing.
We're halfway done at this point, now's the time for stuffing. We can do this using two different methods, by which I mean a stand mixer or a jerky gun.
a ) Jerky Gun - a perfect tool for quick and smooth stuffing. The gun can fit enough meat for several medium length beef sticks.
This method uses filling the nozzle with meat, and then putting it in the gun. Next put the cover on the nozzle and tie the end. By clicking the gun you cause the meat to get into the cover. Once you get the desired length, tie the end. If you have any doubts, look at the picture. I don't think there's anything complicated about it, though, and you should do fine. Repeat it until you run out of meat.
b) sausage stuffer attachment for stand mixer - it's a definitely less convenient method compared to using a Jerky Gun. Still, a sausage stuffer attachment will also allow you to perform this task.
Simply install your set on a stand mixer using the manufacturer's guide. Then put a medium-length cover on the nozzle, make sure the end is tied. Now all that is left to do is puring the meat into the stuffer and push it with a dedicated pusher which should be included in your set.
Once you stuff the cover at the right length, tie it at the end and cut. Repeat it until you run out of meat.
The last stage is cooking the beef sticks
You can do this using an oven, a dedicated dryer with temperature control ( at least 160 degrees ) or on a smoker.
As for a smoker, there are different opinions and methods. Mine is to initially start with the temperature of 145 to 150 degrees and keeping it for about an hour. Then I increase the temperature to 170 degrees. I keep it until the beef sticks reach an internal temperature of 150 degrees.
It is quite similar when it comes to an oven, I start with the temperature of 150 degress then I do the rest the same as with a smoker.
Once our beef sticks ar ready, we need to perform one more procedure. Right after taking it off the grates, put them in cold water for 10 minutes. It will help prevent the cover from wrinkling and keep the fat in.After all of that, take it out of the water and leave it for an hour. After an hour passes, you can pack it into plastic ziplock bags or into vacuum bags if you wish to store your snacks for longer.