Updated: Jan 25
Probably the most popular smoked sausage amongst hunters is venison summer sausage. It is ground, mixed and then chilled for two days to cure. It is then ground again through a smaller die which makes for a slightly firmer sausage and also gives you a much richer color.
For the tangy flavoring that we all love, I use a LEM Summer Sausage Seasonings with the addition of ground juniper berries and dried mustard powder. I have other summer sausage recipes that are a bit more costly due to the ingredients that I'll share in the future.
Yields: About 5 pounds
Keeping your meat and grinding equipment ice cold is important for superior flavor and texture with this sausage.
To help prevent making a grainy sausage, keep close watch over your smokers temperature and the internal temperature of the sausage. Over cooking your sausage or cooking at too high of a temperature will produce a grainy sausage.
3 pounds venison, diced (silver-skin, sinew and fat removed)
1 1/2 pounds pork shoulder, diced
2 teaspoons dry mustard powder
1 teaspoon finely ground juniper berries
5 ounces water
8 ounces (1/2 pound) fatty smoked bacon, diced
In a chilled bowl, add the ice cold venison and pork shoulder.
Grind the above mixture through a large die into a large bowl set over ice. If you don't have ice, make sure the bowl is thoroughly chilled in the freezer before grinding the meat into it.
In a separate smaller bowl mix the LEM seasoning and cure with 5 ounces of water. Stir to dissolve. Add the ground juniper and mustard powder. Stir to combine.
In a food safe storage container or gallon freezer bag, add the sausage mixture. Press the sausage down insuring 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.
Refrigerate for 2 days.
Grind the sausage again, but this time using a small die. 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.
Stuff the sausage mixture into your casings to your desired lengths.
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.
Cold smoke the sausages for 2 hours (this step insures a great smoky sausage). Now get your smoker set at 180 degrees F and smoke until the internal temperature is 150 degrees F.
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. Refrigerate until needed or eat right away.