I always make several pounds of sausage from every deer I shoot. It’s really no different from making pork sausage except that it is a leaner meat to begin with. To compensate for this most folks agree that some additional fat needs to be added. Beef suet and pork fat are the usual choices with the latter being my preference. Coming up with a sufficient quantity for sausage can be hard to do. Not all supermarkets carry straight pork fat so it is frequently necessary to buy cheap cuts of pork- like shoulder or butt- to blend. I don’t like doing this. I prefer to simply trim excess fat from whatever pork I usually buy and save it in the freezer until I’ve got enough.
This year I tried something a bit different. I’ve always been told that venison fat doesn’t taste good. But I have never really noticed this on the steaks or roasts I’ve cooked. So I left a lot of fat on the venison I ground and made sure to use the fattiest parts, including the rib meat. I still added a significant amount of pork fat as well. For seasoning I used a recipe for a Danish sausage variety called “medisterpølse” which uses a lot of sage as well as ginger and allspice. I’ve used this recipe before with pork sausage and have always liked it. It’s a bit like breakfast sausage but not as peppery or spicy hot.
I sampled my work a few weeks ago and for the most part was quite pleased. I did, however, notice an inconsistency. Not in terms of seasoning, but with regards to the overall strength of taste. Some had the robust, flavorful quality I love about wild venison and some was downright overpowering. It was okay in small quantities but not something I’d want to eat vast amounts of. I’m not sure what to attribute this discrepancy to. All of the meat was from the same deer. The deer was aged for a few days before it was frozen which is the usual aging time I allow. The only thing I did differently was use more venison fat. I have heard people claim that venison ribs, which can be very fatty, sometimes turn out very well and sometimes turn out awfully. I can only speculate but my hypothesis is that venison fat ages differently from the meat and that the strong-tasting sausage contained more venison fat.
This batch of sausage didn’t taste bad, just super-strong. Which is great if you like meat that has some real character. And even if you don’t it can serve as an invigorating eye-opener if your morning coffee isn’t getting the job done.