A homemade, wild game version of a classic Easter and summertime dish
Once you get beyond the fact that stuffing meat into a tiny tube is just plain tedious, even with the help of specialized equipment, you realize that homemade sausage has a lot going for it. Don’t like marjoram? Leave it out. Like a lot of garlic? Then add a few more cloves. And there’s no doubt about the ingredients when you make the sausage yourself – you have complete control.
I make venison kielbasa for Easter to go along with ham, horseradish, boiled eggs, pickles, and potato salad. With a side of sauerkraut and applesauce, kielbasa is delicious as a main dish. It’s terrific sautéed with peppers and onions, slathered with mustard, and served on a crusty roll. And it’s equally at home on the breakfast table with fried eggs, rye toast, and strong coffee.
The spices in this recipe can be modified, but the pork must have some fat to it. Otherwise, the sausage will be too dry. Before kielbasa gets cooked, it “cures” for 24 hours in the refrigerator, so it is important to plan this meal ahead of time. Casings are available at some butcher shops and online at sausagemaker.com.
Venison KielbasaJohn Motoviloff
- Grill or smoker
- Food processor or meat grinder
- Optional sausage stuffer
- 4 feet medium hog casing (ask butcher for enough casing for 5 lbs of sausage)
- 3 lbs pork shoulder or pork butt with fat cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 lbs venison trimmed of fat and silver skin and cut into 1-inch cubes
- Curing salt (follow directions on package for 5 lbs of meat)
- 1 tbsp hot paprika
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp caraway seeds (optional)
- 3 cloves garlic diced
- 1/2 tsp marjoram
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- Freeze meat cubes for 1/2 hour, then grind coarse with food processor or meat grinder. Mix meat together; add spices. Stuff mixture into sausage casing using a funnel, a sausage stuffer, or your fingers. Do not overstuff. Prick a few small holes into each length of sausage to help keep casing from breaking. Tie off into convenient lengths (12-16 inches works well) by knotting casing.
- Refrigerate for 24 hours. Smoke sausage for 2 hours at about 200 degrees. Check to make sure sausage reaches 160 degrees internal temperature. Plunge smoked sausage into pan of ice water for 1/2 hour. This helps it set.
- Enjoy cold, as you would summer sausage, or browned in a skillet.