Deer Harvest, Processing & Sausage!
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Deer Harvest, Processing & Sausage!
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Thread: Deer Harvest, Processing & Sausage!

  1. #1

    Deer Harvest, Processing & Sausage!

    A couple weeks ago I harvested a young button buck during Ohio's Deer Muzzleloader season.

    This is one of the many times when I'm glad we invested in a good equipment grinder, stuffer, vacuum sealer, etc. (not to mention the MAK ). This lets me process the deer myself instead of paying someone $75 - $100 to do it for me.

    After processing the deer, we ended up with a couple sirloin tip roasts, a couple packs of steaks, the eye of round roasts, a whole backstrap (loin), and plenty of meat for grinding. I take the time to trim every bit of fat off that I can, because deer fat just doesn't taste good. This greatly helps get rid of that "gamey" taste that so many people don't like.


    I stopped by the butcher and picked up a couple some fatty jowls & side meat to grind in with the venison.






    If you know me at all, then you know I wasted little time turning some of that venison into sausage!

    I mixed up and stuffed about 8 lbs of Venison Country Smoked Sausage (seasoned with salt, pepper, red pepper & mustard seed, plus a little cure #1).

    Here it is on the MAK getting a few hours of cold-smoke with my smoking wedgie (similar to an A-Maze-N pellet smoker)...


    Then hot-smoked (Smoke Mode) to an I.T. of 152





    We also mixed up a batch of homemade Venison Pepperoni with Mozzarella. I don't like care for heavily smoked pepperoni , so I put it in the electric smoker where I could apply a very light smoke for just a short while using some cherry & hickory pellets.





    Thanks for looking!
    <><
    MAK 1 Star General #651 - 2014 Model
    former owner - MAK 1 Star General #171
    22.5" Weber Performer with Stoven Pellet Grill attachment
    27 + year old 22.5" Weber Kettle (still works fine)
    Modified Horizontal Offset Smoker - used mainly for cold smoking.

  2. #2
    Senior Member NorCal Smoker's Avatar
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    Looks Great Tent! I don't hunt, but have always wanted to.

    A couple of questions.....
    It looks like when you are smoking the sausage you are on the smoker itself and not the 2 star side smoke box. Is that correct?

    I have done a lot of reading on sausage making lately because I want to jump in... why 152F? And that is what the books say as well! Why not 165F?

    You mention that you are glad you have good equipment for sausage making. What do you have (grinder, stuffer, vacuum sealer)?

    Thanks for sharing! It looks fantastic.
    MAK 2 Star #500
    Weber Genesis Gasser
    Weber Kettle

  3. #3
    Those look great Cliff!! Did you make your own rack to hang those sausages on? Never been a hunter either but love some venison sausage if it's done right!! Looks great?

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by NorCal Smoker View Post
    Looks Great Tent! I don't hunt, but have always wanted to.

    A couple of questions.....
    It looks like when you are smoking the sausage you are on the smoker itself and not the 2 star side smoke box. Is that correct?

    I have done a lot of reading on sausage making lately because I want to jump in... why 152F? And that is what the books say as well! Why not 165F?

    You mention that you are glad you have good equipment for sausage making. What do you have (grinder, stuffer, vacuum sealer)?

    Thanks for sharing! It looks fantastic.

    Thanks!

    Yes, I am smoking on the smoker itself. The 1 Star doesn't have a cold-smoke chamber.

    For items where I want to cold-smoke (temps below 100) I use either an A-Maze-N pellet tube smoker or my smokin' wedgie. You fill the device with pellets and light them (I use a torch), and the pellets smoulder creating a cold-smoke environment for 3 - 6 hours.

    Then I can switch on the MAK 1 Star into smoke mode for the hot smoke (temps between 165-185). This is one way of double smoking meat to get a deeper smoke flavor. This is great for bacon, hams, and some smoked sausages.

    Other items such as Summer Sausage, hot dogs, etc, where I don't want so heavy of a smoke flavor, I will simply start directly with the hot smoke (smoke mode on the MAK) and let it ride the entire time in smoke mode.



    Why 152 and not 165?

    The USDA considers cured & smoked items such as smoked sausage, bacon, ham, etc., to be "Fully cooked" when they reach temperatures above 150.

    The reason we have to cook regular fresh sausages to 165 is we only cook them briefly, so we need to get them
    to temperatures that are high enough to kill harmful bacteria quickly (same with burgers).

    Smoked sausages are different. First off, they're usually cured using sodium nitrite, which eliminates deadly C. Botulinum. Even the so-called "No Nitrates/Nitrites added" sausage, bacon etc. STILL CONTAIN Nitrates/Nitrites, but that's a whole other issue.

    Other harmful anaerobes, such as E. Coli & Salmonella, which are NOT killed by nitrates/nitrites, are easily dealt with by temperatures alone.

    Because of the length of time it takes to hot-smoke sausages, bacon, ham, etc., by time they reach 150 they've remained at pasteurization temperatures for long enough periods to kill E.Coli and Salmonella. So, 152 is what we shoot for to kill the bacteria, but not cook all the fat out of the meat.

    Sure hope this makes sense!




    Meat Processing Equipment We have:

    ● Cabelas commercial grade 1 HP grinder (#12 throat)
    ● Weston 7 lb - all metal gearing - Sausage Stuffer
    ● 12" - Light Duty - Commercial Grade Slicer (used off of ebay):
    ● Black & Decker Vacuum Sealer - We've had this thing for years. It's nothing fancy but it's been a workhorse. I don't even know if Black & decker still makes vacuum sealers.




    Quote Originally Posted by wolverines
    Those look great Cliff!! Did you make your own rack to hang those sausages on? Never been a hunter either but love some venison sausage if it's done right!! Looks great?
    Yes, I made that sausage rack almost six years ago. It's aluminum and will hold up to about 15 lbs of sausages. You can tell it's been well used by the patina it now has. I've been thinking of marketing something similar, but adjustable, so it would work in multiple grills/smokers.
    Last edited by TentHunter; 01-29-2018 at 10:12 AM.
    <><
    MAK 1 Star General #651 - 2014 Model
    former owner - MAK 1 Star General #171
    22.5" Weber Performer with Stoven Pellet Grill attachment
    27 + year old 22.5" Weber Kettle (still works fine)
    Modified Horizontal Offset Smoker - used mainly for cold smoking.

  5. #5
    Senior Member NorCal Smoker's Avatar
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    Thanks for all of the info. It helps a lot.

    On the equipment, I just bought a decent slicer and I love it. Now I am looking to upgrade my vacuum sealer, and I am seriously contemplating sausage making gear.
    MAK 2 Star #500
    Weber Genesis Gasser
    Weber Kettle

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by NorCal Smoker View Post
    Thanks for all of the info. It helps a lot.

    On the equipment, I just bought a decent slicer and I love it. Now I am looking to upgrade my vacuum sealer, and I am seriously contemplating sausage making gear.

    Here's my advice on sausage making gear & supplies:

    Grinders: Do NOT get a cheap home grinder. They are noisy, have plastic gears which don't hold up, and are very slow.

    A Kitchen Aid grinder attachment is okay at best for small batches, but painfully slow for large batches.

    If you think you're going to be serious about sausage making then spend the extra $$ and get a good grinder that will let you put in larger strips of meat, rather than having to cut the meat into smaller cubes. I cannot overstate how important this is as that alone will save you massive amounts of time.

    A #12 throat is best, but LEM does have a new #8 "Big Bite" series of grinders that seem to be getting good reviews. The auger is designed to let you put in larger strips of meat similar to a #12 throat, but not quite the output of a #12 throat, so it's a good balance between cost and performance for a home sausage maker.


    Stuffer: Avoid the 5 lb stuffers with plastic nylon gears. They are notorious for failing in the middle of a stuffing session, especially while stuffing smaller diameter casings. Get one with metal gears!

    There are metal gear kits available for these stuffers, but by time you buy the stuffer, even on sale, and get the metal gear kit, you might as well have gotten a 10 lb stuffer with metal gears.


    Casings: Do NOT buy the smaller home-pack casings. They are irregular in size and not the best quality, and in the end you spend more money. Instead buy natural casings by the Hank.

    Depending on how much & often you make sausage, it may take you a year (or longer) to use a whole hank of casings, BUT as long as you keep them packed in salt and in the fridge (NOT the freezer), they will stay good for 2 - 3 years!


    Buy your supplies from your local butcher! If you have a local butcher, or meat packer who makes sausages, THAT is the best place to buy your Cure #1, Casings, etc. Every local butcher in my area is willing to sell these supplies, especially if you are buying meat from them.

    In fact one of the best pieces of advice anyone ever gave me was to develop a relationship with a good local butcher.


    Which casings to use?

    For most sausages, I prefer natural casings. Hog casings for most sausages and sheep casings for hot dogs, breakfast links, snack sticks, etc. They just give a better texture, and have that classic "snap" to them.

    I do use some collagen casings for a few sausages: Pepperoni, Beef smoked sausage (for when I am making smoked sausage for folks who avoid pork).
    Last edited by TentHunter; 01-30-2018 at 09:00 AM.
    <><
    MAK 1 Star General #651 - 2014 Model
    former owner - MAK 1 Star General #171
    22.5" Weber Performer with Stoven Pellet Grill attachment
    27 + year old 22.5" Weber Kettle (still works fine)
    Modified Horizontal Offset Smoker - used mainly for cold smoking.

  7. #7
    Senior Member NorCal Smoker's Avatar
    Join Date
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    Location
    Northern California
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    Thanks Tent for the details. I will share pics and info when I finally bite the bullet!

    I bought four different books to read on the subject before jumping in. I am getting real close.
    MAK 2 Star #500
    Weber Genesis Gasser
    Weber Kettle

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