BRAINERD, MINN. – So you bagged a deer last weekend. Congratulations.
Maybe family members and friends were equally successful, and maybe there’s several deer hanging from your meat pole right now.
Last week on this page we covered the basics of making venison jerky at home. Venison jerky is tasty and makes a great on-the-go snack. This week we’ll explore another simple way to use venison, resulting in an even more versatile treat — summer sausage. Venison sausage can be eaten for supper. It makes for great sandwiches. When combined with sliced cheese, the sausage becomes a delicious snack for all occasions.
By all means, you should save your favorite cuts of venison for the grill, the oven, the fry pan or the smokehouse. But if you like some variety in your menu, all you need is a meat grinder, a few common ingredients (available at any grocery store) and a couple of hours in the kitchen.
For many years I had my venison sausage commercially made by a local butcher. I occasionally entertained the thought of making my own sausages at home, but I never relished the idea of stuffing all those messy skins.
Then a friend gave me a recipe for making venison summer sausage without skins. The recipe was so simple I decided to give it a shot. My first try was so successful I ended up retrieving all the venison from my freezer and made an enormous batch of sausages. Those ice-encased packages of venison at the bottom of my freezer? They’re now a thing of the past.
Here’s the recipe:
3 pounds ground venison
2 tsp. mustard seed
1 tsp. liquid smoke
¼ tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. ground pepper
1 cup cold water
½ tsp. onion powder
3 tbsp. Morton Tender Quick
Directions: Mix all ingredients well in mixing bowl. Divide meat into three equal portions and roll each into a cylinder. Wrap each roll in aluminum foil, ensuring that the foil’s shiny side faces inward. Place in refrigerator for 24 hours. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Poke holes in the foil at the bottom of each roll and place on broiler pan. Bake for 1½ hours.
Bill Marchel, an outdoors writer and photographer, lives near Brainerd.