How to make breakfast sausage with venison.
Written and lived by Stephanie Dayle.
Since I was a child I have practiced subsistence hunting, meaning we hunt for part of our meat supply that we eat throughout the year. Not for something pretty to hang on the wall. I was taught by my parents to use nearly every part of the animal and I continue that practice to today. Usually if we are lucky my husband and I each bag a deer (the legal limit in the state of WA) after the hunt we are usually fairly busy processing the meat and different parts of the animals late into the fall.
One of the things I see hunters struggle with is what to do with the less desirable pieces of meat from a deer. Like with beef or pork – on a deer there are more desirable (more tender) and less desirable cuts of meat. I often see hunters pack this meat up and pay to have butcher turn it into sausage and jerky. While this is infinitely better than wasting it, turning venison meat into sausage and jerky is an easy task that can be done at home for far less money than you would pay a butcher, although it is time consuming like anything else (click here to see an article on making jerky).
Why Should I Learn How to Make Venison Sausage?
Making sausage is a great self-reliance skill to learn, it not only flavors and tenderizes less desirable cuts of meat but it helps to preserve it too! Even if you don’t have time to do it yourself each year, just learning how make it and acquiring the equipment will help ensure that you and your family will have food if times ever get hard.
One of our most favorite sausage recipes is breakfast sausage! Many deer hunters already know that venison makes excellent breakfast sausage! Here is the simple (but tasty) recipe and the process we follow for our venison breakfast sausage. Venison is lean and high in protein, reaching for a pack of homemade venison breakfast sausage is more healthy than it’s preservative filled, pork by-product counterpart at the store.
Venison Breakfast Sausage – Recipe
- 5 lbs of Venison
- 1.75 lbs of Whole Pork Fat (not rendered lard – ask your local butcher)
- 2 TBS Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- 3 TBS Kosher Salt
- 1 TBS Rubbed Sage
- 1 TSP Cayenne Pepper
- 3 TBS of Medium Ground Black Pepper
- 1 TBS Granulated or Powdered Garlic
- 1 Cup Ice Water
Equipment you will need
- Meat Grinder (this can be a hand powered meat grinder or an electric one we use both)
- One Big Stainless Steel or Glass Bowl
- One Small Bowl
- Sausage Funnel / Stuffer (this should come with your grinder, if not purchase one that will specifically fit your grinder before hand if you want links)
- Natural Sausage Casings (for links)
- Butchers Twine (again only worry about this item if links are the desired end product)
1) Measure out all of the spices and combine in a small bowl, set it aside.
2) Trim the port fat and venison of all bloody areas and tough connective tissue. Cut each of them up into 1 inch cubes. Exactness is not required. Grind it both up together through your grinder using a medium grind blade letting the final product fall in your large bowl. If you don’t have a medium grind blade, the course grind blade will work, but you may want to run it through twice.
(TIP: If you are using a hand crank grinder and it becomes plugged, try reversing the hand crank for a few times around then moving forward again. If still plugged, remove the blade assembly and rinse with hot water to remove the tissue that is plugging the blades – reassemble and resume grinding. This is usually hard work no matter which manual grinder you buy.)
3) Next, mix one cup of ice water in with your spices and pour it over the meat mixture.
4) Mix thoroughly for two minutes with clean and sterile bare hands to assure even distribution.
5) Once the sausage is completely mixed , stuff it into casings if links are desired. I find it much easier to keep it in a ground form. We shape the sausage into logs which are then put into FoodSaver bags (as shown below) and frozen. To eat them – simply thaw a package out and cut them into slices which can be easily smashed into individual patties. Leaving the meat ground also makes it very easy to make sausage gravy!
Natural sausage casings usually come packed in salt. To make things run smoother, pre-soak the casings in a bowl of cold water. After ½ hour, change the water and soak for another ½ hour. Hold one end of the casing up to a tap and add some cold water. Pinch off that end and slosh the water around inside the casing, working your way to the other end. Empty the water completely from the casing and collect in bowl for use on stuffer.
Stuffing sausage is best done with two people. Using your grinder with the stuffing funnel – thread an entire length of casings on the funnel and tie off the end. Lightly pinch it down around the funnel with your fingers, while someone else feeds the meat into grinder. Let the casing slide off the funnel as it fills. Once you’ve reach the desired size give the casing a full twist or two then start a new sausage link on the same length of casing that should still be sliding off the funnel / stuffer. I alternate directions of twisting with each link. When you come to the end tie off the casing and start a new one if you have more meat. You can then pack the connected links into freezer or FoodSaver bags and freeze them – you could also smoke finish them if desired.
This sausage will keep in your freezer for up to a year. To store it even longer make sausage patties and then pressure can them. Click Here to learn how to can venison breakfast sausage! I would not leave you hanging – stay tuned!
TIP: If you intend on canning the venison sausage leave out the sage as it may become bitter after being canned. I usually replace it with oregano, I have checked with my local extension office and they confirmed that this substitution would not effect the safety of the recipe.
There are many sausage recipes for venison sausage on the internet, this recipe came to us via a friend, any similarities are merely coincidental.