So, I have a small obsession. The funny thing is, my wife hates it. She can’t stand to look at it or the smell of it. It’s sausage … summer, kielbasa, andouille, brats, polish, you-name-it. Even though my wife does not enjoy my little hobby, she was kind enough to buy me a sausage cookbook a few years ago for Christmas. Bruce Aidells’ Complete Sausage Book is my guidebook, but Bruce has some issues. Everything he makes
has about 20% fat content! So, I took Bruce’s wonderful recipes and leaned them down.
I have another small obsession. The funny thing is, my wife doesn’t get it. I like to kill deer and eat them. But this works quite well with my other obsession since now, I have lots of meat to make into sausage. However, venison is not quite the meat you use to make your typical sausage. The problem is, it is way too lean. (Interestingly, though it is a leaner meat than beef, it is higher in cholesterol.) So, Bruce’s recipes don’t work so well with venison.
If you visit the meat department at your neighborhood grocery, chances are good you will find some packaged sausages made by Bruce, or at least people who put his name on the stickers. Starting from Bruce’s recipes, I fiddled around with different combinations of venison and pork until I found a ratio that worked for me. Mixing three pounds of ground venison with one pound of ground pork gave me just the right texture, though most would consider it a little dry for a sausage. But, if you don’t overcook them they have a great flavor and texture. After getting the meat mixture right, I tweaked some of the seasonings and now I have eight sausages that I make regularly from my venison (kielbasa, andouille, brats, Italian, summer sausage, and three breakfast sausages).
If you are reading this, you have probably sampled some of my sausages and I appreciate the feedback some of you have given me. I think I have a pretty good handle on the varieties I make now, so who knows what the future holds. I have my chicken apple sausage down pat, so I am going to try a batch of chicken pineapple bacon the next time boneless thighs go on sale at Meijer.
I know this is a lot lighter reading than my typical blog topics, but this is something I truly enjoy doing and lots of people have asked me for my recipes. I thought this would be a good way to get them online so that I can send someone a link and they can enjoy some wonderful recipes that have taken me years to develop. It is a joy to share these with you and I hope you enjoy them if you can. Feel free to pass these along to any hunters you might know.
To my wonderful wife's credit, she has helped me stuff the sausage casings on several occasions, and she even ate a tiny bite of summer sausage once. Wow, she really loves me in spite of my hobby and I am very thankful for her. She does like the jerky, so I do get to share a little with her. Now, my boys usually help me with the deer and sausage, so she is off the hook.
For a PDF version of the recipes, see this PDF document and feel free to share it.
For a picture montage of the field-to-freezer process, including making the various sausages, see the Deer Processing gallery at my Facebook page.