Although I mix and match my own spices, getting your spice packets from Walton’s,
LEM, Backwoods, Cabela’s is perfectly acceptable and delicious. Especially if you
aren’t confident in your skills as a sausage maker. Botulism is a real thing… curing you
sausages is very important. Nitrates and Nitrites are very important to keep you and your
family safe. Also, cooking/smoking to an internal temperature (IT) of 152 degrees
minimum is important to kill any blooming bacteria.
Remember when grinding your venison and pork that it is best to have 1-2” cubes that are
slightly frozen. This helps the grinder get a good cut on your meat and prevents your
equipment from becoming slimy.
Pork selection: I typically try to stay around 30% overall fat content of every sausage.
So, when people say, “I mix my venison with 50/50 pork”, that doesn’t mean that you are
getting 50% fat. The typical pork cut that is used when making wild game sausages is the
Boston Butt aka Pork Shoulder. This cut contains enough fat, that, when mixed as a
50:50 ratio with venison, you will end up with around 30% overall fat content in the
sausage. Which, let us be honest, the fat is the flavor!
7 lbs pork shoulder (Boston butt)
5 lbs venison (no skin or fat)
6 tbsp coarse salt
2 tbsp white sugar
2 tbsp white pepper
2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp caraway seeds (ground)
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground marjoram
Chill the meat until almost frozen in 1-2” cubes. Grind through a 6 or 8mm grinding
plate. You may grind once, mix in your seasoning, and then grind a second time, or you
can do all your grinding and then proceed to meat mixing. Mix all your ingredients
together and sprinkle over your ground meat. You do NOT want your meat to be sticky.
This is an indication of TOO MUCH myosin or protein extraction. Mix the meat and
stuff into 36mm natural hog casings. These are considered “fresh sausages” and should
either be eaten right away (24 hours) or frozen for later use. If you are going to vacuum
seal them, a trick of the trade is to freeze them on a cookie sheet while they have their
nice round shape for about 3 hours. When you go to vacuum seal them, they will retain
their shape. If you vacuum seal them right away, they will definitely flatten out. It will
not change the flavor of the sausage, but, when you go to thaw them out, they will be flat
and their appearance may not be ideal.
4 lbs ground venison (all silver skin removed and no fat remaining).
1 pound ground pork
1 tsp cure (pink cure salt #1) (cure #2 is usually used in snack sticks, summer, etc)
3 tbsp fine iodine free salt
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp fine black pepper
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp crushed anise seed
1 tsp crushed fennel seed
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 cup powdered milk
¼ cup cold water
Grind, mix and stuff into 2’ fibro casings (I usually buy my casings from Waltons). But,
Fleet Farm, Cabelas, or your local butcher shop will have them.
I use a vertical stuffer but you can use your grinder as a stuffer, a kitchenaid, or simply
stuff by hand.
Put the stuffed sausages into your fridge and let the Cure #1 do its job for at least 24
hours. You can go up to 48.
Smoke schedule for pepperoni:
Let your sausages get to room temp. Prepare your smoker for 120 degrees with the
dampers fully open to let air circulate. Put your sausages in the smoker for 1 hour at 120.
Then kick it up to 140 after the first hour and add your smoke. Use any wood flavoring
you want. It is important to NOT add the smoke until after the first hour. This is because
if you have any moisture around your sausages, the smoke is going to stick to that and not
penetrate into your sausages. After 140 for 2 hours, kick it up to 160 for another hour
with smoke still rolling. After the next hour, stop the smoking and kick your smoker up
to 170 until the internal temp reaches 160 degrees. Total smoke time is (5-6 hours). Pull
from the smoker and let cool. Then place into the fridge for 2 weeks and until your
desired hardness is reached. Can be eaten right away too though!
3 1/2 lbs. venison - defatted and ground
1 1/2 lbs smoked bacon-ground (can be ends/pieces or fresh ground pork)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. salt (add more salt if fresh pork used)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. coriander
2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. savory
1/8 tsp. cumin to taste - hot sauce
Mix all together well. Shape into patties to fry. May be frozen into 1 lb packs like burger.You can also stuff into small sheep casings for links if you want too!
2.5 lbs Boston Butt (ground)
2.0 Beef Chuck or Venison
.5 lbs ground pork fat (if you used venison instead of Beef Chuck)
36mm hog casings
There are plenty of awesome Keilbasa (Polish sausage) kits out there, but, if you want to
try a hand at your own, here are the rules…
2 tbsp Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt (Must use Kosher Salt)
½ tbsp. black pepper (I LOVE Watkins)
2 tsp sweet paprika
3 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp dried marjoram
3 tsp white sugar
2/3 tsp of each: ground thyme, celery seed, ground coriander, and ground nutmeg
1 tsp Sure Cure #1 (Note: DO NOT add the cure until the very end of the mixing
2/3 cups of sifted powdered milk (binding agent)
1 cup of ICE WATER
Direction:Grind the pork butt, beef/venison, and fat. Make sure that the meat is VERY cold if notslightly frozen.Mix all dry ingredients together EXCEPT the Cure #1.Mix seasonings into the cold ground meat.Add the instacure #1 to the ice water and stir it in slowly and then add the ice water to thecold meat while mixing wellStuff into 36-38mm hog casings.Tie into whatever lengths you prefer but for Kielbasa, around 20 inches are about right.Store your links in a container with a lid overnight in the refrigerator.The next day, set them up to get them to room temperature.
Set your smoker to 140-150 and hang them until they only get to the color you want them
When they reach the color you want, transfer to a pot around 180 degrees (DO NOT
BOIL) and keep them in the pot until the IT reaches 155 degrees.
Finally, transfer them to a cold bath of water and ice for 15 minutes. This is done to stop
the cooking process and firm up your casings.
Refrigerate or vacuum pack and freeze.
For my snack sticks, I have been using a kit from Walton’s. Since I make SO MANY of
these babies, it is much easier to get a kit instead of using up all my own spices and Cure.
I use 18 lbs pork and cubed it into 1-2” chunks and I separated the fat from the lean pork
and stuck it back into the freezer.
I took out 7 lbs Venison and cubed it up the same size as the pork and stuck it back in the
I got my grinder out and put 2 grind cycles on the meat. First one was through the 3/8”
plate and the second was through the 1/8” plate. On the second grind, I added the pork
fat (FROM THE FREEZER) to get an overall fat content of around 30%.
Then I mixed my seasonings and sure cure into the meat with about 3 quarts of cold
water. My mixing was done with a drill and paddle for mixing mortar in a 5 gallon
bucket. I bought these at Menards and ONLY use them for making meats. When mixing
you want your farce or meat mixture for snack sticks to be VERY tacky and sticky. This
is a great indication of protein extraction. There is myosin in meat that when it is mixed
violently, the protein from the meat is extracted and this makes for truly great sausages.
At the last 60 seconds of mixing I added the ECA and the habanero hi temp cheese. This
is done at the very end because you don’t want to beat your cheese into the farce. You
want it to still have shape when you stuff your snack sticks. The ECA (Encapsulated
Citric Acid) is used because I did not want to hold over the snack stick mix for 24 hours
so that the cure could do its job. I wanted to smoke them right away as I was short on
Stuffing- I used LEM 19mm smoked collagen casings. You can go up to 21mm but be
sure that your stuffing attachment horn isn’t too big or too small.
Smoking- after is tuff my casings, I heat, NOT SMOKE at 120 degrees for 1 hour with
the damper fully open. Hour 2 is at 130 degrees and smoke with ½ damper open. Hour 3
is 145 degrees with smoke and ½ damper. Hour 4 is 150 degrees and no smoke. Hour 5 is
at 170 degrees until the internal temperature reaches a MINIMUM of 152 degrees (this is
where botulism dies).
Then I put them in a cooler with water and ice to firm them up and stop the cooking
process. Then I lay them out for at least 2 hours on the counter or in the cold garage to
dry off. If you vacuum pack them right after smoking/cooking, you are going to lock in
some moisture and you will have ice crystals form in your packages and it also isn’t good
for the texture of the meat either.
Either purchase a plank of smoked salmon from your local market or if you are so lucky as to have some
from your own bounty, then follow the smoke schedule above and use the recipe below to make your
own delicious salmon dip! My wife loves this one.
1 cup cream cheese (8 ounces)
¼ cup sour cream (use full fat sour cream)
¼ mayo (do not use light mayo or any mayo with additives such as olive oil)
1 tblsp lemon juice
2 tblsp capers, drained
¼ teaspoon Tabasco
4 ounces smoked salmon (flaked)
2 tblsp fresh dill chopped
2 tblsp chives, chopped
Combine the cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, lemon juice, capers and tobacco and mix very well. Ok,
so here is where I usually differ from a store bought package of salmon dip. Usually a store bought
salmon dip with use a food processor to combine the salmon into the mixture. This creates a very nice
dip but I have found that the salmon is really pulverized. The flavor is great but for me, the texture is
just a little too minced. So, I flake my planks of salmon very nicely and mix into the cheese mixture with
a fork to keep the structural integrity of the small flakes. I find that this is more appealing to me. But,
this is YOUR dip, so, use whichever method you want. Once you decide which one you are going to do,
add the salmon and the dill and chives. Here is where you can add a little salt if necessary.
Cut fillets into ¼ to ½ pound fillets leaving the skin intact.
a. 1 gallon water
b. 1 cup Kosher Salt- this is NON-IODINE salt and it is important to NOT use table salt
c. 1 cup white sugar
d. 1 cup brown sugar
e. *Other seasonings can be added, cayenne pepper, etc
f. Pure maple syrup (NOT the imitation stuff)
Set salmon in a large PLASTIC bin. Do not use anything metal as certain metals will react to the fish and
brine. Set inside a refrigerator for 12-36 hours.
Remove salmon and let air dry. I like to set it on the counter or a table and put a fan by the fish so that
the air moves across it. You can also put the salmon on cookie racks and place inside your fridge. This
step should not be ignored for the following reasons; 1. If you place the salmon directly into the smoker
when it still has a water film on it, the smoke with not penetrate the fillet. 2. You need to develop what
is called a “pellicle” film on the fish. This is a slightly tacky/sticky film on the fish. This is what will give
the fish its great shiny texture when the smoking process is completed.
Start as low as possible. If you smoker goes down to 120 degrees, start there, if not, set it to its lowest
setting and place the fillets in the smoker. I usually brush the skin with oil to prevent them from sticking
to the racks. You don’t really want to use tinfoil because you need the air to move around the fillets as
well as the smoke to rise up around the sides of your fillets.
After 1 hour at the lowest setting, add your wood (Whichever you prefer) to get the smoke going for the
next 2 hours. Gradually increase the temp of your smoker from 120 to 175. To go from 120 to 175 in 3-
4 hours, you will need to increase the temp by 15-20 degrees every hour. During the last hour of
smoking, baste your fillets with pure maple syrup or honey to get the nice lacquer glaze on it. Once your
salmon has reached an internal temp of 130-140 degrees remove from smoker and let sit. DO NOT bag
the fish right away. Let it cool until at least room temp. I enjoy this on Club crackers with whipped