Basic Venison Sausage

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This is a rich, country-style venison sausage recipe where the dominant spices are ground bay leaves and garlic. These are especially good for grilling, as bay seems to go well with the flavors that come with cooking over an open fire.

A coil of venison sausage on a table.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

I like this as a coarse sausage, but you can grind it finer if you’d like. I also prefer a mix of venison and pork — and do your best to use pork that has never been frozen. This is important, because never-frozen meat, when ground, binds to itself better than pre-frozen meat.

And you will be judged on how nice your bind is with sausages. No one likes crumbly sausage. More on this in a bit.

You will want fatty pork shoulder or pork belly, or a mix of both. You can use beef fat, too, if you prefer; use fat trimmed from steaks and roasts.

As for the venison in this venison sausage, you’ll want to use trim, mostly. No need for making a sausage from backstrap, although I do often add the “chain” off a whole backstrap. Stew meat, stuff between the ribs, neck bits, the odd and ends from squaring off roasts and steaks.

If you had your deer butchered at the processor, I would make venison sausage from roasts or stew meat.

Coarse or Fine Grind?

Coarseness in a sausage is best with “cleaner” meat, so if you do make your venison sausage from gnarly stuff, grind finer. Regardless, I grind twice. This will give you a more tender sausage. I prefer to grind with a 8 or 10 mm die, then again with a 6.5 mm die.

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If you prefer a fine grind, take it down to the 4.5 mm die on a second or third grind.

Hank Shaw holding a bowl of sausage with sage.
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Additives

You’ll see dry milk powder in the ingredients. It’s totally optional, but dry milk powder is used to retain moisture in smoked sausages; you can also use products like carrot fiber, which work well to help sausages retain moisture.

Skip these if you don’t plan on smoking your venison sausages — likewise with the Instacure No. 1. This is a curing salt that protects the meat from bad bacteria while you’re smoking it. No need for curing salt if you are just making sausages for the grill.

I’ve also varied things by using narrow hog casings and making large coils of sausage, which you then stab a long wooden skewer through on each axis, making a cross that you can then use to flip the coil whole. Then you just slice off as much venison sausage as your guests want.

It goes without saying that while this is a venison sausage recipe, you can make it all pork, or any mix of meats.

Other Venison Sausages

Consider this venison sausage recipe as a master, a model to play with. It can be scaled up at will, and you can play with anything in it except for salt level. The 34 grams in this recipe will give you a sausage with 1.5 percent salt by weight, which most people find pleasing; note that salami and other dry cured meats need to have a higher salt content.

If you need to watch your salt intake, you can drop the salt as low as 23 grams, which will get you closer to 1 percent. Low for most people, but not awful.

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New to making sausage? You can find my detailed tutorial on how to make sausages at home here.

Here are some other venison sausage recipes you can play with, once you get the basic technique down:

  • Venison bratwurst, done the way they make “red brats” in Wisconsin.
  • British bangers, a dense sausage that uses a little ground grain as a filler.
  • Venison sausage with sage, which is similar to this one, but with wintry seasonings.
  • Garlic sausage with basil, a summertime venison sausage.

You’ll find close to 40 other sausage recipes here.

Storing and Preserving Venison Sausage

Once made, the links will keep a week in the fridge; closer to 10 days if you smoked them. Venison sausage also freezes well.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>