I have finally made my own deer summer sausage. Ten pounds of deer summer sausage that is!
But why deer summer sausage? Simple: as a child, I remember loving deer summer sausage. It was a treat whenever we got it, and I remember my father liking it especially. I think whenever the adults in your life like something, you tend to like it as well. Now of course, that doesn't include everything. My father also liked pickles, but I have yet to find a taste for these foul morsels.
How did I go about doing making this sausage? First of all, I had a bunch of leftover venison on my hands. Last year, I opted to get back some of my deer in the form of breakfast sausage. I did not, however, like the sausage they sent back. It was mostly venison, with about 20% of pork turned into it, with the addition of a handful of sage. I found that I preferred standard pork sausage instead and didn't really care for the consistency of this product. I also had about 12 pounds of it and knew that it could take a lifetime for me to eat all of this, especially since my breakfasts typically consist of cereal or nothing at all.
So, I found myself with the need to answer this question: what to do with 12 pounds of deer breakfast sausage? I tried eating a pound, and gave away a pound, but still didn't have a resolution to my happy little conundrum. I know that some people may just say throw it away, but I hate waste so I had to find some kind of solution. I considered making venison meat balls for Italian night but that is a lot of dang meatballs! That's when I found the perfect solution: why not buy a summer sausage kit and see if I can preserve this meat?
As a prequalification, I have never taken on this process before. I am however, a pretty astute beef jerky maker so I figured that it wouldn't be that difficult. Here's how I went about doing it:
1. I purchased a quality seasoning kit. I chose a Backwoods Seasonings Summer Sausage Kit from LEM products. Here is their website: http://www.lemproducts.com/. As a side note about LEM, I am excited to see that this producer manufactures their products in my neck of the woods which makes me feel good about buying locally. LEM, you make a great product! (Side note: if you want to send some free shit my way just contact me.)
2. I defrosted the requisite ten pounds of deer sausage and used a potato masher to mix the meat with the seasonings. While I did this, I soaked the ten fibrous casings in a bowl of warm water for about 30 minutes.
3. After everything was mixed and the casings were easier to handle, the wife and I stuffed each with the raw mixture.
4. We threw the sausages into a 170 degree oven and then went out to Dave and Buster's for half off game night. The funny thing is, when we came back and I inserted a meat thermometer into the end of the sausage, they were still only about 140 degrees. We were looking for 165 degrees for it to be finished. I think next time we'll leave one of the ends untied. All in all, it took 16 hours for the sausage to finish!
5. After they finished, we gave it a taste test and it was delicious. I have since shared it with family, friends and people at work. Everyone has given it high marks. It is best paired with Ritz crackers, Butterkasse cheese or a mild Cheddar. Also, it washes down well with beer too. I would consider pairing it with something superb, like a Busch beer. Now that's America!