Introduction: How to Make Maple Venison Breakfast Sausages!
Every hunter needs to have a couple go-to sausage recipes to deal with the ground meat from all the trim left over from butchering. This recipe is a sweet/savory breakfast sausage mix but feel free to get creative with proportions (I did). The process described utilizes a standard grinder with a stuffer attachment. Collagen casings were used for this but natural casings would also work, as well as forming patties by hand.
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Step 1: Prepare Your Equipment and Ingredients
Before we dive right in a quick note about food safety; working with raw meat has some inherent dangers and requires special procedures in order to keep yourself and your family safe. As a general guideline I like to prepare a water and bleach solution and give my equipment and work area a quick once over before proceeding. Luckily the Government of Canada is looking out to keep us from harming ourselves with our own incompetence and provides a helpful guide on safe food handling.
A General Guide to Sausage :
As a basic formula, venison sausage is made with a mixture of pork or fat in order to keep your sausage from tasting dry. This is a breakfast sausage so I am using a 50% mixture of pork belly (Read:Bacon)
Once you have your ground mix prepared you can incorporate in your spice mixture and then stuff into your desired casings.
For a 10 pound batch of sausage (5 pounds venison, 5 pounds pork) I used the following spices;
1 cup Maple Syrup
1 Tbsp nutmeg
2 Tbsp Cinnamon
2 Tbsp Sage or Thyme
2 Tbsp Red Pepper Flakes
Salt and Pepper
You can prepare this spice slurry and set aside for when it's time to incorporate the mixture.
Step 2: Grind the Venison and Pork
You can begin by preparing your meat into cubes suitable for the grinder. It is crucial that the meat is semi-frozen for this step otherwise the heat from the grinder will start to render the fat and can really bind up the grinder. I used a cookie sheet to keep transferring meat from the freezer to ensure everything is the appropriate temperature. Once your semi-frozen cubes are prepared you can put them through the grinder; I used the largest grinding plate for the first pass.
Step 3: Incorporate the Ground Meat and Spice Slurry
Before stuffing the sausages you need to thoroughly mix in the spices and ground meat. If your materials are at the right temperature this should be pretty uncomfortable on your hands - Some people include some ice water into the mix to keep everything nice and chilly.
Step 4: Stuff Your Sausages
Once you have your mixture you can begin to stuff your sausages. This was the most challenging part, so I'm taking this opportunity to blame my equipment. The sausage stuffer attachment on my grinder was pretty slow and cumbersome, if you are planning on doing several batches a dedicated sausage stuffer would definitely be an asset.
Now is a good time to fry up a sample of your sausage mix and see if any adjustments to the spices are necessary.
You can of course just form the mixture into patties and be done but we chose to stuff them into small gauge breakfast links and tie off with kitchen twine. There is a technique of alternating twisting each link to keep from unraveling, but that didn't seem to work with these casings so the twine was required to keep them separate.
These are fresh sausages so be sure to cook them entirely before consumption, freeze the remaining links. Enjoy!