14 December 2007

Venison Sausage

Like many people I have known in my life, the longer I live the more I appreciate them. So it is with Grandma Beryl (nee Fitzgibbons) Munday. She was a tough old Scot-Irish Presbyter. When I was a child, I thought she was the meanest woman on earth. After Gramps died, however, and she no longer got up each morning at the butt-crack of dawn to cook him breakfast, she really mellowed.

Gram liked staying up late at night watching horror movies and reading, and for 50-some years of marriage she had been seriously sleep deprived. After Gramps died, she often sat in her chair with a cat on her lap reading until 1 or 2 in the morning, and then slept until 10 or sometimes later. When Jan & I lived nearby, we'd sometimes stop in after an evening on the town, and Gram was always ready for a glass of beer.

Gram didn't waste much. She cooked deer kidneys, picked a chicken carcass down to the bones, and made wonderful venison sausage. Here's the recipe.

You'll need a grinder. An old "armstrong" manual grinder like the one she left to me will work just fine:

For this batch, we'll use about 10 pounds of scraps left over from butchering a whitetail. Strips cut from the ribs, 1" - 2" chunks cut from the shanks, and anything else that didn't go into steaks, roasts, stewmeat, or stir-fry meat:

Add to that about 5 pounds of fatty pork scraps. Cheap bacon (our supermarket sells bags of bacon scraps) works well, and if you use salt pork you can use somewhat less:

Mix in a slew of spices and flavorings. Amounts are about 2 teaspoons for each of the spices, about a cup of dark brown sugar, and several (or more) hot peppers if you'd like:

Not shown are fennel seeds, about 4 tablespoons of which get added and mixed in before the second grind. Mix the spices, venison, and pork together and run through the grinder on a coarse setting. Gram's grinder has a single "plate" (cutter wheel) that reverses for fine and coarse grinding. Depending upon how sinewy and tough your venison scraps are and how efficient your grinder is, you might have to pause after every few pounds of meat, remove the plate, and clean out the sinews that are clogging things up. Here we are after mixing in the fennel seeds and switching the plate for the second (and final) grind:

This bulk or pan sausage is good for breakfast patties, and Jan likes it for dishes such as lasagna. Enjoy!