Venison summer sausage – processing tips

By Christopher R. Raines

Making summer sausage is a tasty way to make use of lean venison trim.  For venison, the external fat can impart undesirable flavors, causing a “souring” of the carcass.  Because of this, many butchers recommend you trim away the fat from venison, which will leave you with very lean steaks, roasts, and ground meat.  If making summer sausage with very lean ground venison, consider adding fattier beef or pork to the meat blend, often 80/20 or 70/30 (%lean/%fat) ground meat.  There is not a “magic number” for how much ground beef or pork to add to the blend — I have heard/observed of 15-25% being used.  Very lean summer sausage can be very rubbery and chewy.

The making of summer sausage, Steps: (if you have a kit, this will largely apply, too)

  1. Grind the venison trim through your meat grinder
  2. Mix the ground venison with the ground beef or pork (optional)
  3. Prepare to add seasoning, salt and nitrite – have them ready in separate cups
  4. Add seasoning (which may or many not include salt)
  5. Mix by hand
  6. Add salt if not in the blend mix
  7. Mix by hand (the salt will extract some proteins, it will start to get very sticky)
  8. Dissolve nitrite in a little bit of warm water
  9. Pour nitrite solution immediately into the meat (batter)
  10. Keep mixing until everything turns BROWN (you’ll know the cure – nitrite – is thoroughly mixed when all of the meat turns brown.  If there are red spots, keep mixing.  The brown will turn red again when cooked — if not mixed thoroughly, the end product will feature red and brown spots)
  11. Grind the finished mixture through the meat grinder (optional, but helps ensure even distribution of all ingredients)
  12. Stuff the sausage into casings
  13. Cook (make sure it reaches at least 160°F internally – in the MIDDLE of the sausage stick)
  14. Refrigerate

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