Summer sausage is probably the most popular sausage among hunters. I remember asking for slabs of this stuff for Christmas as a kid.
It's a smoky, salty, tangy umami flavor bomb without the use of msg, mushrooms or soy sauce.
So why mess with something that's already near perfection? I wanted something that was easier to shove in my pack for hunting trips. No slicing or peeling off casings. Just reach your hand in a bag, pull out the jerky and stuff your face. And in my experience this stuff lasts longer on the trail without refrigeration than quick cured venison sausage.
I just want you to keep in mind that this isn't a 100 percent replica of true summer sausage. The fat content in most summer sausages is at least 25 percent. This jerky is at around 10 percent which makes it easier to dehydrate and also yields a product that will be a little more shelf stable. So if you're wanting the fatty goodness of a true sausage, try my Smoked Venison Summer Sausage Recipe.
Speaking of shelf stable. I recommend storing this jerky in your refrigerator. While I carry this stuff with me around in my pack on hunting trips, every environment is different. So use your own judgment and research on how long you're able to store it at room temperature safely.
Yield: Around 2.5 pounds
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Dehydrating Time: 2+ Hours
I dry this jerky for about 2 hours. This yields for a tender pliable jerky. If you want something with more bite/chew, feel free to dry them for longer.
Keeping your meat and grinding equipment ice cold is important for superior flavor and texture with this sausage.
Special Equipment Used
36 ounces boneless venison, silver skin and fat removed
4 ounces smoked raw bacon, diced
1 1/2 tablespoons smoked salt
1 1/2 tablespoons dextrose
1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) pink curing salt
2 teaspoons dry mustard powder
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground juniper berries
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup buttermilk powder
Water (enough to make a paste with buttermilk powder)
In a chilled bowl, add the venison, salt, pink salt and spices. Stir until the meat is coated. Don't add the buttermilk powder or dextrose yet.
In a separate bowl add the buttermilk powder and dextrose. Add enough water to make a thin paste. This usually takes between 1/4 to a 1/2 cup of water. Stir ensuring there are no lumps. Set aside.
Grind the venison mixture through a large grinder 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 stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the ground venison and buttermilk paste. Mix thoroughly for about 2 minutes. Add the diced bacon and fold in until just combined.
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 meat 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 salt if you think it needs any. Just remember you will more than likely be eating this jerky cold or at room temperature. Foods eaten cold need more salt.
Load your jerky gun with the ground venison.
Pipe onto your dehydrators trays ensuring there is at least 1/4 inch space between the strips of meat.
Dry the meat in your dehydrator set at 160 degrees F. As mentioned above, I dry mine for 2 hours. Dry more as needed for taste, texture and doneness.