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Venison sausage help

AlaskanCAlaskanC Posts: 1,346
edited 1:54PM in EggHead Forum
I am gearing up for the Fall/ Winter cooking "season", and I need some help with sausage making! Last year I made a batch of venison sausage, and I can't remember what my pork/ fat/ venison ration was, but I thought I used plenty of the pork/ fat.... but this was the most painfully dry sausage ever! I hot smoked them for a couple hours, but oh man were they dry.

What ratio or recipes or whatever do you use?


  • AZRPAZRP Posts: 10,116
    I don't know what fat ratio to use but a key to not drying out sausage is to take it to 157 degrees internal, no higher. Did you ever get the part you lost off your grinder? -RP
  • Alaskan, we use about 60% deer to 40% fatty pork. It's still a bit on the dry side, but very good. Of course, that's for Italian sausage; I don't know if the ratios would be different for other types. We also use lots of garlic and fennel seeds, plus oregano.
  • AlaskanCAlaskanC Posts: 1,346
    Yes! I finally got the part last year :) I had a hand grinder for a while, and that was fine... but oh man there is no comparison to having a good electric grinder!!

    I don't think I overcooked the sausages - it seemed like the contents were just super duper dry. Remember in National Lampoons Christmas Vacation when the cut the turkey open? That's kinda what these sausages were like :)
  • AlaskanCAlaskanC Posts: 1,346
    Hmm... that sounds more like what I should have done. I think I did three parts deer to one part fatty pork. It looks like some adjustments are in order!
  • Hi Melissa, I'll send you a link of a friend of mine she dose a of smoking of venison check out Jeanie's site

  • Like I said, it's still a little on the dry side, but tasty and doubtless much healthier than straight pork. We tried some deer sausage that a friend had made up for her by a butcher, and it was the same texture, so we must be doing something right.

    In the book "Charcuterie" it talks about keeping your grinder and meat quite cold when you stuff your sausages, and it says that this helps keep the sausages moist. We've never been able to do that so I don't know if it would make a difference. Personally I don't like being that cold when I work!
  • AlaskanCAlaskanC Posts: 1,346
    That's a really cool site Ross! I am bookmarking it - thanks!!
  • AlaskanCAlaskanC Posts: 1,346
    I have that book and I love it!!
    When I grind up my meat, I cube it first then put it in the freezer on a cookie sheet long enough to make it partially frozen. It seems to work pretty good, but your hands do get a bit cold after a while. I've also run ice cubes through when Im doing a second grind because the meat is not nearly as cold by then.
  • I don’t really know the ratio, but I would guess the pork is about 20% fat and I trim as much tallow from the venison as I possible can, so that it is as lean as I can make it!
    I do a 50/50 venison and usually trim out pork shoulders. I haven’t had a problem with being too dry, but I smoke REAL low and slow to only 160 F. max!
    The other sausage I make is a fresh “rope type” so it’s frozen until I cook it. This too is a 50/50 mix.
    Good luck!
  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    We use the 60% venison to 40% ground pork butt and this will allow you to still have some good flavors from the venision. You can go 50:50 if you want to have just a trace of venison flavor. Here is one recipe that I always include when making sausage. Don't underestimate this one.... it's not just for breakfast.


    Unknown source on this one. Wonderful stuffed, in bulk or packaged for fatties. This has the classic flavors of a Midwest breakfast sausage but it is also right at home served on a bun or as a main dish with fried potatoes and onions.

    3 lbs. ground pork butt
    2 teaspoons ground sage
    ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
    1 teaspoon dried thyme
    1 teaspoon dried basil
    1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    2 teaspoons coarse black pepper
    1 teaspoon ground ginger
    ½ teaspoon minced garlic
    ¼ cup chopped onion
    1 tablespoon Kosher salt
    ¼ cup water

    Grind the meat, mix in the seasonings and water until well blended. Let rest overnight for seasonings to blend.
    Happy Trails

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • AlaskanCAlaskanC Posts: 1,346
    That recipe look good - and I think it might hold a clue to one of the reasons my sausage was dry. I used dried onion - I think it was chopped because the pieces were pretty big. Maybe they sucked up some of the juice during the cooking process? I dunno.... I think it was my ratios that were really off.
  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428

    That could have been responsible for it. I add onion to my venison (and buffalo) burger just for the moisture.

    You will see most fresh sausage recipes call for additional liquid, like water or beer (or wine in some Italian sausages), but you can also use shaved ice. They will be noticeably drier without the liquids.
    Happy Trails

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • Hmmm, wine is a great idea. I've never thought of that. My DH makes his own so we have wine to spare.

    Chopped garlic probably also adds some moisture, but you wouldn't use as much garlic as onions.

    I'm also wondering whether adding some olive oil might help. Anybody ever tried that?
  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    One of the Italian recipes I like calls for wine and romano cheese....
    Happy Trails

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • thirdeye wrote:
    One of the Italian recipes I like calls for wine and romano cheese....

    Any more details? How much wine for how much meat, and what other spices?
  • FiretruckFiretruck Posts: 2,679

    I make venison sausage every year and have found that at lest 40% pork fat is needed to get that venison to cook right. Keep in mind the sausage I make is breakfast sausage so if you are doing something else I can't help.

    If it is done right, you can substitute it for pork sausage every time and most won't know the difference.
  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    Here you go. My changes or comments are in parenthesis. When I add romano cheese to any sausage I use 1T to 1-1/2T per pound of meat. As you can see the recipe is very basic, which supports the theory that sausage can have very simple ingredients and still be delicious. The 2 cups of wine is the minimum if you are making bulk pack sausage, sometimes the meat needs more when it's stuffed.


    This is a particular favorite of my friend Tom. I don't think I have ever seen him make less than a 20 pound batch of it. This comes from Rytek Kutas book titled Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing. If you are serious about sausage making, you need this book in your library. The Ingredient Store carries it along with many supplies.

    Sicilian Italian with Wine & Cheese
    R. Kutas

    8 lb. pork butts
    2 lb. lean beef (I omit the beef & add 2 more lb. or butt)
    2T powdered dextrose (fine sugar will work, dextrose is less sweet)
    1T cracked black pepper
    4T kosher salt
    3 t fennel seed
    2 T crushed red peppers
    2 C Pinot Grigio (or a splash more if the meat needs it)
    6T good romano cheese, crumbled (I bump this amt. to 10 to 12 T)

    Coarse grind the pork, blend all ingredients, chill for several hours or overnight, then stuff.
    Happy Trails

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • Thirdeye, thanks for the recipe! I see that this is an all-pork sausage, not deer and pork. Interesting. Right now I have seven pounds of deer scrap in my freezer and am planning to mix it with about 4 ½ lbs of fatty pork. Looks like I'd need a little over a cup of wine, which I think would be a nice addition. I use a lot more fennel in my recipe, though. And we also add garlic and oregano.

    I've never heard of that book; we have "Charcuterie," as I mentioned. I'll have to look it up.
  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    It's easy to substitute a deer/pork mix into most any pork sausage recipe.

    In all my pork sausage I generally use pork butt as it has about the perfect ratio of fat to meatn for my tastes. I disregard the addition of more fat that is called out in some recipes, yes it may be more moist or more flavorful but the calories from fat shoot sky high. I believe that using good quality seasonings can replace (sometimes more that the amounts called for) the need for additional fat. Adding liquids to the ground meat helps too. Since we've already talked about wine, if you want a change of pace from water you can use chilled chicken or pork broth for your liquid.

    You will find that sausage recipes are really just crude guidelines to flavor and you can add more of the things you like, or omit the things you don't like. It's a good idea to keep careful notes so you can repeat the version of the recipes you prefer. Here is a link to a .pdf with over 100 recipes. Read through them and you will see what I mean.

    Sausage Recipes

    Charcuterie is an excellent book and the Kutas book is a good companion, plus it has color photographs where Charcuterie does not. The downside to the Kutas book is the quality of the binding. It is horrible...pages just fall out at will. Almost everyone I know that has one says the same thing.
    Happy Trails

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • Those sausage recipes are a goldmine. Thanks, Thirdeye!
  • i add some powdered milk to use as a binder.... or you can buy binder material from butcher and packer.... it works better than the milk....
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