Making sausage date back to the 15th Century and started to utilize all of an animal. Salt, cure, and spice were added for flavor, as much as efficient butchering practices. Less appetizing cuts of meat were salted, ground, and stuffed into scraped and rinsed intestines. The links were smoked and air-dried and were one of the first forms of meat preservation.
All venison is ideal for sausage making as it is lean and holds the flavor of spices. Making sausage is easy and rewarding, so here are some tips.
Grinding your meat is economical and quickly pays for the equipment. However, anyone wanting to dabble in sausage-making does not have to purchase a grinder to make sausage. Consider having all your ground meat done at a local butcher. With a sharp blade and knife, the professional-grade grinder will ensure quality and consistency. Have the ground meat packaged in two- to five-pound burger bags. Purchase some regular ground pork. Since lean pork has reduced fat, make sure to get regular pork, which helps bind and provide moisture. The front shoulder of a hog, known as a Boston Butt, is ideal, having the perfect blend of meat and fat to make sausage.
Salt is an essential ingredient for sausage making. It adds flavor, kills bacteria, and can act as a preservative. Regular table salt will work, but Kosher salt is a finer grind with the perfect size of crystals for drawing out moisture from meat. The name comes from the use of this salt in the koshering process. Curing salts are used when smoking or processing sausage. Regular salt, along with nitrites and nitrates, prevents botulism and can slow meat spoilage.
The flavor in sausage comes from spices, herbs, fruits, and vegetables. Garlic is common and is a staple ingredient in kielbasa. Black pepper and sage are the base for most breakfast sausages. Apple, onion, peppers, and dried berries are all excellent options. Smoked paprika, cumin, fennel, nutmeg, and thyme are a few options to create a sausage to tantalize individual taste buds.
You do not need grinders, mixers, and stuffers to get started. Fresh sausage is easy to make and can be formed into patties or rolled in waxed butcher paper. Use bags to make a chub that can be cut into patties. If you do get a stuffer and make sausage, you can still take it to a butcher to smoke until you can afford one.
If you have never made sausage, consider purchasing a Hi Mountain sausage kit and get everything you need in one box. It is an excellent way to introduce yourself to sausage making, with complete instructions.
Fresh Sausage Recipe—Garlic and Pepper
7 lbs. ground venison
3 lbs. ground pork shoulder
6 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. ground black pepper
2 tsp. marjoram
4 cloves fresh garlic, pressed
1 ½ cups cold water
½ tsp. cayenne pepper (optional for those who like heat)
- Grind the meat with a 3/16-inch grinder plate and mix in spices and water until completed blended.
- Sausage mixture can be stuffed into 28-32 mm hog casings and linked 6 inches in length. The meat can also be pressed into patties for frying or grilling.
These fresh-fry sausages are best done in a Camp Chef cast iron fry pan, ensuring the sausage casings are browned, adding extra flavor. Add a tablespoon of cooking oil, and place cold sausages in the frypan and turn to medium-high heat. When the sausages start to sizzle, reduce heat to medium, turning every couple of minutes. With a high percentage of lean venison, these sausages will cook in 10 to 12 minutes.
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