Ethical hunters and venison lovers could find it challenging to use all their deer meat, and a good venison sausage recipe offers the perfect way to preserve meat for use in phenomenal dishes for several months. You could choose to make breakfast sausage, summer sausage, pepperoni or smoked sausage, but using venison requires making a few adjustments to recipes.
Game meats have strong flavors, which add distinctive qualities to sausage, but you might want to increase the spices to achieve flavor balance. Lean meat offers healthier eating when used for steaks and roasts, but sausage, in all its incarnations, requires fat. Deer meat has very little fat, and the fat has an overpowering gamey flavor, so the best sausage uses pork or beef fat. Add enough pork shoulder or fat to increase the fat level to 20% of the total meat mixture.
Venison Sausage Recipe
6 lb. cubed venison, 1-inch cubes
4 lb. cubed pork, 1-inch cubes
1 lb. cubed suet
3 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. black pepper
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tbsp. onion powder
2 tbsp. powdered dextrose
1 tbsp. garlic powder or 2 tbsp. fresh minced garlic
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. sage
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. basil
2 tsp. garlic powder
Optional nitrite powder: 2 teaspoons Prague Powder #1
Use 3/8-inch grinder plate for breakfast sausage or a 3/16-inch fine plate for smoked venison sausage. Grind chilled meat and fat, then mix with the other ingredients. You might start with half of the spices, fry a test batch and adjust seasonings to your taste and preferred level of heat. Always return meat to refrigeration while testing flavors.
Nitrites keep sausage from spoiling during long smoking processes. Follow the package directions to see how much to add. Cure #1 is the most commonly used, but manufacturers use different strengths of sodium nitrite, so you must follow directions. If smoking meat to 170-degrees, you don’t need to add a cure, but most sausage makers prefer 152-degree maximum smoke temperatures for the best quality texture.
– Soak natural or synthetic sausage casings in water to soften them and remove preservative salt.
– Load the casings on the sausage-stuffer to make smoked venison sausage or breakfast sausage links.
– Allow sausages to hang and dry at room temperature for 45 minutes after stuffing.
– You can dry sausages further for 45 minutes on low heat or 120-degrees in the smoker. Don’t use smoke yet because it would be wasted on wet sausage.
– Adjust smoker to 160 to 170-degrees and smoke the venison smoked sausage for 28 to 30 hours, or until internal temperature reaches 152-degrees Fahrenheit.
Refrigerate or freeze the sausage after smoking. If you don’t have a smoker, you could add liquid smoke to the meat mixture and boil or bake the sausages. If baking, wrap them in aluminum foil and bake them in a slow oven, between 6–7 hours at warm temperature settings between 160 and 200-degrees Fahrenheit. Oven-cure the venison smoked sausage recipe until the internal temperature reaches 152-degrees. You can use your smoked venison sausage in any recipe calling for smoked sausage.