Venison sausage is as sure a sign of fall around our house as the changing leaves and rutting whitetails. We broke out the Weston Realtree line of processing equipment today and mixed up a batch of bratwurst. The kids love to help and sausage is a great way to use up the bits and pieces left over after processing your deer. It is also an excellent way to use the meat from a mature rutting buck that might not otherwise make the best table fare. I prefer the texture and flavor that result from a 70/30 mix of trimmed venison to pork roast, but straight venison works as well. Commercially available kits like the Weston Sausage Tonic make seasoning a cinch, or you can use the recipe blend below.
10 pounds of straight venison or venison/pork blend, cut into chunks and chilled well
2 cups of whole milk, cold
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups soy protein concentrate (Available at butcher shops or on line, soy protein works as a binder and helps retain the natural juices in the meat.)
1 Tablespoon white pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 Tablespoon Nutmeg
4 Tablespoons salt
1 Tablespoon Cavender's Greek Seasoning
2 level teaspoons Insta Cure #1 (available at butcher shops or on line)
29mm Natural Hog Casings
Begin by grinding the meat. When making any sort of stuffed link sausage, it is best to grind in three stages. Start by grinding all of the meat through a course grinder plate. Reserve 1/3 of the course ground meat and run the remaining 2/3s back through the grinder with a medium plate. Reserve 1/3 of this batch and run the remaining 1/3 through again with a fine plate. Blend all three grinds together and mix in the seasonings, eggs and milk. Blending the three levels of ground meat helps the sausage bind and helps to keep the sausage from being dry and crumbly.
Fresh bratwurst will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator, or can be frozen for a year or more. Vacuum sealing is the best storage option, but freezer style storage bags or a double wrap in freezer paper will work. Our favorite preparation is a slow smoke over hickory or fruit wood until the sausage reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Serve on a good deli roll and top with butter sautéed onions. You won't ever look at a ballpark brat the same way again.