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HOMEMADE SMOKED VENISON SUMMER SAUSAGE

Updated: Mar 19

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Smoked Venison Summer Sausage is probably the most popular and delicious homemade sausage recipe amongst hunters. This style of wild game sausage is a quick ferment style variation that is first ground, mixed and then chilled for two days to cure in the refrigerator. It is then ground again through a smaller grinder plate, which makes for a slightly firmer sausage and gives you a much richer color with the ingredients being blended together a bit more.


Best Venison Summer Sausage Recipe




However, the traditional summer sausage was more of a tedious process which calls for it to be dried and cured in order to be "shelf stable" during the summer months. In this recipe, we will be covering how to make the variation that we are all used to seeing in the grocery stores and markets around the holidays, which is indeed "not" dry cured.




Cooks Tips: 

  • Keep Things Cold: Keeping your meat grinder attachments ice cold is just as important as for the meat and fat. It plays a part in achieving superior flavor and texture with this sausage. Grinder attachments can warm up fast and when metal warms up, fat starts to melt. I also like to place the container that the ground venison will be falling into in the freezer before starting as well.

  • Prevent making a grainy sausage:  Keep a close watch over your smoker's temperature and the internal temperature of the sausage. Overcooking your sausage or cooking at too high of a temperature will produce a grainy sausage.

  • Achieving Tangy Flavors: For the tangy flavoring that we all love you can look beyond using a summer sausage seasoning packet. You can opt to use the very popular product called Fermento. I opt for a little-known and cheaper price point secret, buttermilk powder. Using buttermilk powder won't pack an equal punch of tang as fermento, but its delicious and a lot cheaper.

  • Chilling the Cooked Sausage in Ice Cold Water? Some recipes call for soaking the cooked sausage in ice water to quickly end the cooking process. I prefer to hang them at room temperature for a couple of hours to "bloom". Blooming is where the sausages change from dull brown to a rich mahogany color.

  • How Long Does Summer Sausage Last in the Refrigerator?  I have no problem leaving them in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks if they are well-wrapped before they start to lose flavor and color. Again, wrapping and storing them properly in an airtight container or plastic wrap will help with a quality shelf life.

  • Can You Freeze Summer Sausage? Absolutely. Like most fatty sausages, if they are stored properly, they freeze well for a long time, like up to around 3 months long. I like to wrap them first in a layer of plastic food wrap, followed by either freezer paper or freezer bags. 

  • What's the Best Way to Serve Summer Sausage?  The best way to enjoy these sausages is either at room temperature or slightly chilled. You can serve them hot, I feel that it changes the flavor profile quite a bit. They are excellent eaten with various kinds of cheese (smoked cheddar, gouda, jack), crackers (rosemary, almond, sea salt) and a spread of mustards (whole grain, beer mustard, dijon, hot mustard).




How to Make Venison Summer Sausage




 

Homemade Venison Summer Sausage



Equipment and Specialty Items Needed:



Yields: About 5 pounds

Ingredients 

  • 3 pounds venison, diced (silver-skin, sinew and fat removed)

  • 1 1/2 pounds pork butt (shoulder), diced

  • 3 tablespoons dextrose

  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander

  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard powder

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper

  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt (or 40 grams sea salt)

  • 2 to 4 ounces of cold water

  • 1/2 cup Fermento or buttermilk powder

  • 8 ounces (1/2 pound) fatty smoked bacon, diced ( or pork fat back)

  • Summer Sausage Casings 



Directions

  1. In a chilled bowl, add the pre-chilled venison, pork shoulder (pork butt), salt, dextrose and pink salt (instacure # 1). Mix well to combine.

  2. Grind the above mixture through a large die plate into a pre-chilled large bowl or a bowl that is set over ice.

  3. In a separate smaller bowl mix all of the seasonings and fermento or buttermilk powder. Stir in enough cold water to dissolve and to form a paste. This will usually be between a 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of water.

  4. In a stand mixer or meat lug add the ground venison and paste. Mix thoroughly using a paddle attachment or sturdy spoon for about 2 minutes. Add the diced bacon to the venison mixture and fold in until just combined.

  5. In a food-safe storage container or gallon freezer bag, add the sausage mixture. Press the sausage down ensuring that there are no air pockets. If using a storage container, add plastic wrap directly to the top of the meat, pressing down firmly. Then cover the entire top of the container with more plastic wrap. If using a gallon freezer bag, just remove all air and fold over any extra space in the bag.

  6. Refrigerate for 2 days.

  7. Grind the sausage for a second time, using the small die plate. If you want to check the flavor, now is a good time to fry up a piece. Add more seasoning if you think it needs any. But remember you will more than likely be eating this sausage cold or at room temperature and cold food needs a little more salt than hot food.

  8. Stuff the sausage mixture into your casings to your desired lengths.

  9. Hang them to let dry for 1 to 2 hours at room temperature or in the fridge. This will help get you maximum smoke flavor.

  10. Cold smoke the sausages or smoke them at the lowest temperature you can for 2 hours (this step ensures a great smoky sausage). Now get your smoker set at as close to 180 degrees F as you can and hot smoke them until the internal temperature is 150 degrees F.

  11. Pull the sausages from the smoker and let them hang at room temperature for 2 hours so that they bloom and turn that rich mahogany color that we all dream about. What you're left with is a delicious summer sausage that is ready to eat or refrigerate until needed.

 

Looking for other venison sausage recipes? These are my favorites:


Lastly, if you make this simple Homemade Smoked Venison Sausage Recipe, be sure to leave a comment or tag me on Instagram! I thoroughly enjoy hearing feedback and checking out the photos of recipes that you've made.





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Meet Larry White

Chef Larry White

Hey folks, I'm Larry. The recipes you'll find here are inspired by my years as a chef, travels as a hunter, and being a father. I cook from these experiences, so my food ranges anywhere from fun and creative to traditional and to what somewhat family style comfort food.     

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