One of the most popular things people make with venison (wild game meat) is summer sausage. It is also one of the most expensive items to have made by your butcher/processor. If you are like me and you enjoy it, but find it hard to justify the cost, you may want to try making some yourself. It isn’t very hard to make and there are a few different ways to cook it, if you don’t have a smoker and some of the other sausage making equipment.
Ingredients (per pound of meat)
|1 lb||Ground Venison/Meat|
|1 tbsp||Morton® Tender Quick (or similar cure)|
|½ tsp||Onion Powder|
|½ tsp||Garlic Powder|
|½ tsp||Liquid Smoke|
|½ cup||Finely Cheddar Cheese (Optional)|
|½ cup||Finely Diced Jalapeño Peppers (Optional)|
Preparing the Meat
The first step requires more time, so do this the day before you plan to prepare your summer sausage.
Combine the meat, cure (TenderQuick), spices, liquid smoke, and sugar in a bowl. Mix well by hand to make sure you get an even distribution of the ingredients. (You can mix and knead it on the counter if that is easier for you.)
I add the cheese and jalapeño peppers right before a make my rolls and cook them.
Option #1 – Rolling in Parchment Paper
If you don’t have any fibrous casings, you can make rolls and wrap them in parchment paper. This will help hold the shape while you kook them. I tied off the ends with string to hold in the juices to keep it from drying out the meat.
Then you can cook them in the oven for about 2 hours at 220°F or until it reaches an internal temp of 150°F. You can smoke them the entire time. I was making bacon at the same time, so I unwrapped them and placed them in the grill I was using for smoking, just to give it a smoke finish.
This method just used a Weber kettle style grill with the fire and wood chips on the side to give it indirect heat and smoke.
Option #2 – Hand Stuffing Fibrous Casing
If you want a little better looking sausage and a little easier to make, use fibrous casings. I got mine at Rural King, but they are available at outdoor stores (Gander Outdoors) or on Amazon. They cost about $8 for a pack of 10 casings. When I watched a video online about filling the casings, they were sing a sausage press that costs about $300. No way I could justify that kind of expense for making a few sausages.
Instead, I used a canning funnel (the smaller size) that you use to pour stuff in your Mason canning jars. I just rolled the casing down a little, poked a couple of pin holes in the far end of the casing to let trapped air escape. Then I put it around the funnel, held it tight with my hand, and pushed the meat into the casing. I used the pusher tool from the food processor to make it easier to pack the casing.
Once it was filled, I folded about a half-inch into the casing, and fan folded it to close the top. I also made a small snip in the folded edge to let the air out while I tied it. (This is easier to do if you can get someone to pinch the folded end and hold it while you tie it off with a string.) I also pinched and tied it in the middle, so it is easier to divide later. (optional)
Finally, I put them in the smoker for a few hours until I reached an internal temp of 150ºF. (It is better if you hang them straight, but I was trying to smoke some pork at the same time, so I hung them like a hammock.)
(Yes, Cooper approved of the smell. It seemed to keep his attention all day.)