What goes into making a snack stick? Doug Hankes of Thrushwood Farms in Galesburg, Ill., says you need high-quality pork, the right flavor combinations, and a little science to create this added-value product that is gaining popularity in the snack industry as more and more people are looking for protein-rich snack foods.
Hankes took Farm Journal PORK’s editor Jennifer Shike on a step-by-step tour of the process.
Step 1: Gather seasonings, encapsulated citric acid, salt and celery juice powder (natural) or sodium nitrite (traditional).
Step 2: Weigh pork trimmings, typically consisting of boneless picnics or pork shoulders.
Step 3: Run the meat for through the grinder. For this first run, use only meat.
Step 4: Blend all the seasonings together for even distribution.
Step 5: Add seasoning to pork trim.
Step 6: Run meat through the grinder for the second time, including both the seasoning and the meat
Step 7: Stuff sausage into snack stick casing. Each casing if stuffed to approximately 50” in length.
Step 8: Each smoke truck contains 2,400 feet of snack sticks. Place the snack sticks in the oven and cook for 5 to 6 hours depending on the product.
Step 9: Cut the snack sticks to the customer’s specifications.
Step 10: Place finished product in container until its ready for packaging.
Step 11: Place product in horizontal thermo-forming machine per customer’s requirements. Snack sticks are either placed in multi-packs or individually packaged.
Step 12: Mission complete – enjoy the finished product!