By Ken Weinzierl
Venison makes great sausage. Many kinds can be made. The obvious question is "What do you need to get started." First of all, no one can take care of your venison better than you can. When you get your deer home, skin it immediately. This will cool off the carcass. I usually do this as soon as I get home, let it hang while you go inside and eat supper. Then go back out and cut it up into manageable pieces. Separate the 2 front shoulders from the carcass. Then cut off the 2 hind quarters. Don't forget to bone out the tenderloins. Cut the steaks out and bone out the remainder to be ground. If you have access to a grinder, you can do it yourself. If not, most butcher shops will do it for you.To make a frying or breakfast sausage you will need to mix the venison with a 50-50 mix of pork.

Most seasoning mixes will call for 10 lbs. at one time. There are some good recipes available. Some of my favorites are country, brats, breakfast, polish, and one that tastes very similar to Little SizzlersTM. I prefer all of these except Little SizzlersTM to be smoked. This means they will have to be stuffed into casings. There are 2 kinds of casings: synthetic and natural hog casings. Either will work well. The major difference is that synthetic casings will all be the same size, and will usually cost more than natural hog casings. I usually use hog casings. They already packaged in salt. When you are ready to use, put the casings on the water faucet and let the water run through them to wash out the salt. When all the meat has been stuffed, it is time to smoke them.

First link the casings to the size you want. I usually go with about 6 inches. Twist the casings in opposite directions so they don't unravel. Place in the smoker with heat but no smoke for about a half hour. This is necessary, as smoke will not penetrate wet casings. When they are dry, add the wood to the smoker pan. It is a good idea to soak the wood overnight in water, so it lasts longer. I use hickory, maple, or apple.

A lot of people use charcoal in their smoker. I prefer to use an electric burner, as then you can control the heat better. Just plug in the burner and place a pie tin on top. Put the wood on the pie tin, and cover with aluminum foil. Make a small hole in the top to let out the smoke. The wood should last about an hour. This will give you a light to medium smoke flavor. Any longer and it will start to taste bitter. Leave the sausage in the smoker without smoke until it turns a nice red color.

Some of you may not have access to a grinder, stuffer, or smoker. Or you may only have a smoker. That's OK. The most important things are the seasonings. A butcher could grind and stuff it and you could smoke it.

One other important thing; sausage will start to taste old after about 3 months. So I've found it is better to only make enough to last that long. Put the rest in 5 lb. packages in the freezer. Then when you want to make more, just add 5 lbs. of fresh pork and go through the process again.

The country, polish, and breakfast sausages should be smoked. The Little SizzlersTM and brats can be eaten fresh. Because brats contain milk and eggs, it should be frozen immediately. All ingredients should be available at the local grocery or butcher shops. One other note, when a recipe calls for garlic, it is best to smash it and put it in the water to be added. This will allow the garlic flavor to permeate throughout the meat. When ready to add the water, remove the garlic.

Any sausage that will be smoked must have a cure added. This is done to make sure food poisoning bacteria does not develop when smoking. During the smoking process, the temperature and lack of oxygen due to the smoke is a perfect environment for developing these bacteria. Cures will prevent this from happening. Either use modern cure or TenderquickTM.

Now for some recipes. These are all for 10 lbs. of meat. The "country" is my favorite.

Country Style

Breakfast

Polish

Brats

5 Tbls Morton's Sausage and Meatloaf Seasoning

5 Tbs Salt

5 Tbs Salt

3 Eggs

2 tsp Celery Leaves

1 Tbs Pepper

2 Tbs Pow. Sugar

1 pint Milk

2 tsp Parsley leaves

1 tsp ground Ginger

2 tsp Modern Cure

1 Tbs Pepper

5 tsp Accent

1 Tbs Nutmeg

1 Tbs Pepper

1 Tbs Mace

2 tsp pepper

2 Tbs Pow. Sugar

2 Garlic Cloves

1 tsp Ginger

2 tsp Modern Cure or Tender Quick

1 Tbs Sage

1 tsp Margoram

1 Tbs Nutmeg

2 cups Powdered Milk

2 tsp Modern Cure

1 pint ice water

5 Tbs Salt

1 pint of water

1 Tbs Thyme

1 pint ice water

Enjoy!