Preserving venison as summer sausage

Summer sausage is another way to preserve venison.

Fall is in full swing with all the beautiful colors. This time of year also says “deer season”. Not quite a national holiday but an exciting time none the less. Deer season brings another opportunity to preserve your own food. Methods of preserving venison are; freezing, canning, summer sausage and dehydrating or jerky. Freezing or canning are preferred methods of preserving venison, however we are going to look at preserving venison as a summer sausage. This is not a recipe but a process or method of preserving venison by making summer sausage.

As with any project involving food Michigan State University Extension promotes washing your hands with warm running water and soap, before, during and after each task preformed during the process. It is also important to assemble all equipment needed for the project that will include bowls, a grinder sausage stuffer and mixing utensils.

The equipment should be washed rinsed and sanitized before and after use. Sanitizing solution can be made by mixing one tablespoon chlorine bleach to one gallon of water. To properly sanitize allow the equipment to remain in the solution for seven seconds or longer rinse with clean potable water and then allow to air dry. This includes the grinder and sausage stuffer.

As with any food preservation you should select high quality product. In this case it will be venison and pork that are usually pared for summer sausage, spices or mixes and curing ingredients. The meats you use can be taken from the freezer and thawed in the refrigerator.

Read through the recipe and refer back to it often so mistakes aren’t made. When looking for a recipe be aware of the flavors you like. Example; consider the flavors you like, spicy things or hot flavor or a mild flavor. No matter what recipes you choose refer back to it often for correct measurements and follow the proper procedures.

Mix the correct amount of meat together, lean-to-fat ratio is mentioned in many of the recipes I have researched by follow the recipe exactly. In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients and then add water to dissolve the curing ingredients. Adding water also helps distribute the spices throughout the meat evenly during mixing and grinding. You will be grinding the meat twice keeping the meat as cold as possible during the process, 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. The first grind will be coarse then add the other ingredients and regrind the meat. Once again refer back to the recipe directions for next steps.

When stuffing the sausage purchase high hog casings that have been salted. It is recommended to soak the casings in cool clean water about 30 minutes prior to using them. Then rinse, this will help remove some of the salt in the casing. After stuffing the sausage it will be smoked or cooked following the recipe directions. Make sure the product is cooked by using a food thermometer and checking that the internal temperature has reached 160 degrees F.

Remember this just the basic process of making venison summer sausage. It provides an alternative to freezing, canning or dehydrating to preservation of venison. For further information contact a local MSU Extension office and ask for the local Food Safety Educator in your area.

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