Make Your Own Venison Sausage
Do you like venison sausage? For the majority of deer hunters the back straps and the tenderloins are the coveted cuts of meat, and rightly so. But how about some venison summer sausage?! Venison sausage is arguably one of the favorite snacks that you can get out of your hard earned game. About every processor or meat slaughter house will make it for you, in a variety of flavors. They all claim to have their own “secret seasoning recipes” and can add a wide choice of flavorings to it. Most places offer pepper corns, jalapeno, garlic and even cheese. There’s surely something for everyone. Here’s the catch; you’re going to pay dearly for it. No pun intended! You can easily make your own venison sausage and save money.
Depending on where you live and what extras you want added, you can expect to pay anywhere from $3 – $4 per pound, minimum! That’s over and above the normal processing fees. A lot of places require a minimum order of 10 or 20 pounds. That could conservatively cost you anywhere between $30 to $80! Be sure to know pricing and quantities. Most places will add some pork to the mix, approximately 1/3 typically. Make that is included in the minimum order weight and not added on! Now you’ve gone from 10 or 20 pounds, to about 13 or 26 pounds at a new cost of $39 to over $100! It may be well worth the cost, but nobody likes a surprise like that.
Now for the good news! You can make your own venison summer sausage right at home for a fraction of the cost. The sausage kits are readily available a many stores. These kits come in a variety of flavors and contain the seasonings, casings and the instructions. Simply follow the instructions and you’ll be enjoying high quality sausage in no time. You can also add any of the flavorings mentioned about, or anything else that sounds good to you. You’re only limited by your imagination.
I usually add some pork to my venison burger for a little extra flavor. You can purchase ground pork or do what I like to do. I try to find the most inexpensive, small pork roast that I can find and grind it myself. A 4 or 5 pound “bone in” roast typically yields close to 3 pound of pork which is what I like to add to 5 pounds of venison. But again, don’t be afraid to experiment on the ratio of the mixture or even add a little beef. That’s how you make it your own and this is the stuff that you pay a premium for, if someone else makes it for you.
As you can see, this section is relatively short. What else may surprise you is that you may already have items in your kitchen already, that can make the job much easier. My wife has a KitchenAid stand mixer that she uses for all kinds of recipes. Check out our article on the KitchenAid mixer for other good recipe ideas. One of the many attachments that are made for the KitchenAid is a meat grinder. The newer ones even come with a sausage stuffer tube for just over $40. At the time I purchase mine the tube was not available, so I used another appliance my wife already had; her Popeil pasta maker. Yup, a Popeil and it’s still going strong. It came with a sausage stuffer tube and works great. There are also many manual sausage stuffer for purchase or you can just do it by hand. It’s all going to taste great!
Something I like to do is keep a package of the smaller 1.5” x 12” casings handy. These casing take about 1 pound of meat to fill and can make great gifts or are a good way to experiment with ingredients. For example, if I end up with a total of 8 pounds of seasoned sausage meat, I know the larger casings (3” x 15”), that comes in the kit I typically purchase, will hold about 3 pounds of meat. What I usually do is stuff 2 large casings and 2 smaller casings. If you’re experimenting with ingredients, be sure to measure how much you add to each pound of meat, so you can scale the batch up, if it turns out great. You’ll also want to mark each tube, so you can tell them apart. Different colored tie wraps work good for that. It’s easy to loose track of them when loading them in the smoker or when you cool them in the water bath. Yup, water bath. It’s all in the instructions! A cooler works great for that.
Time to Cook
Once you’ve got your meat stuffed into the casings, it’s time to cook it. Again, just follow the temperatures and times in the instructions. Most folks just use the kitchen oven, which is handy and works great. If you have a bigger barbecue grill you could use that too. You would probably want to use the “indirect heat” cooking method (fire at one end of the grill, meat at the other end). If you desire, you can add wood chips to the fire end to add some smoke flavor. My favorite method is to use my smoker. Smokers typically cook at lower temperatures, which is ideal for venison sausage, plus it adds a nice smoke flavor to the sausage. If you are cooking small casings along with the larger casings, be sure to monitor the internal temperature of the small ones first. When they reach the desired temperature, remove them and continue cooking the larger casings.
Venison sausage is a great snack and it’s awesome in a sandwich too! All your friends will want to know your “secret recipe”. The best part is you can save a lot of money. The kit I normally purchase costs about $24 and will make up to 30 pounds of sausage. My typical ratio is 20 pounds of venison and 10 pounds of pork ($15). That works out to be $1.30 per pound, instead of $3 or $4! You’re paying less than $40 for 30 pounds of delicious venison sausage, instead of up to $120! That’s all there is to it. You can easily do it and I know you’re going to love it!