9/1/12

Making elk sausage at home

Breaking news: Hubby harvested a gorgeous, huge, six by seven point, bull elk in the first hour of the first day of the 2012 archery season!


This victory comes after 10 years of going hunting every weekend of archery season and coming home empty handed. It also represents the first bull elk the Hubby has ever taken. No small feat on all counts, but the most exciting part by far is the staggering amount of meat this beast brought our family.

Steaks, roasts, burger, and sausage galore! The hubby does the butchering and I package everything in vacuum seal bags. The grinding and sausage making is a family affair, though. Over the years, I've come across some excellent sausage recipes and I share three of my favorites below, but first a few tips about sausage making.

TIP 1: Keep everything cold, if not frozen for best results. Put grinder implements in the freezer until just before grinding. Keep fat frozen until you grind it and meat so cold it's almost freezing. This keeps fat from emulsifying and smearing through your sausage and preserves perfect consistency.

TIP 2: When filling sausage casings, fill one whole casing at a time. Wait to twist individual links until after the whole casing is filled.


TIP 3: Dry links before cutting and vacuum sealing. I hang my connected links over the laundry rack for an hour or two before cutting the links apart and sealing them. (If you do use a laundry rack, just don't forget to leave the dog outside, as sausages hanging at canine eye level are tempting fare indeed)


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Recipes
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1. Bulk Breakfast Sausage:
This is a delicious sausage I package in bulk for biscuits and gravy or sausage patties with breakfast. It's also amazing in egg casserole recipes that call for sausage.
  • 10 pounds game meat
  • 5 pounds pork fat
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp sea salt
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp fresh ground coarse black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp clove
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 Tbsp rubbed sage
  • 1 1/2 ground ginger
Coarsely grind game meat and fat back separately. Add spices and mix by hand, then run spiced mixture through coarse grinder again. Vacuum seal in 1 pound packages.

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2. Bobby Flay's Elk Sausage:
Last year was the first year I tried this one, and it was an absolute favorite. Brilliant on the grill or in recipes, I'm making this one in lieu of Italian sausage this year. I've given you my modified version, but you can find the original recipe here.
  • 10 pounds elk meat (or other game meat)
  • 5 pounds pork fat
  • 2 Tbsp dry thyme
  • 2 Tbsp dry oregano
  • 2 Tbsp dry sage
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup or more finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup crushed red chili pepper flakes
  • 10 to 15 feet sausage casing
Coarsely grind meat and fat separately, add seasonings & run through grinder into sausage casings. Twist links and dry before packaging for storage.

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3. Bratwurst:
For more flavor, I used a dark beer for the brats. We all enjoy them throughout the year on a crusty bun with sauerkraut and spicy mustard.
  • 10 pounds game meat
  • 5 pounds pork fat
  • 6 Tbsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 3/4 tsp celery seed
  • 4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp marjoram
  • 3 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 cup beer
Coarsely grind meat and fat separately, add seasonings & run through grinder into sausage casings. Twist links and dry before packaging for storage.

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