I had an iffy hunting trip last weekend with an area guide service (I’m giving them another chance before I rag on them), and wound up getting an already-dressed Canada goose as a consolation prize. Much to my chagrin, when I got it home, not only did it not have its legs or wings, most of the skin was torn off! And of course the giblets were all gone. I was livid. Not a good end to the day.
What to do? Well, I decided to make lemonade out of lemons, and made sausages out of the wreckage of this Canada goose. So I boned out the breasts and got what meat I could scrape off the carcass and weighed it: 2 pounds. Not bad, actually. I began to feel better. Fortunately I had a half-pound of frozen pork fatback lying around (Don’t ask) to mix in. You really can’t do a good sausage without at least 20 percent fat, as I found out by making 5 pounds of antelope peperone from Michael Ruhlman’s Charcuterie book a few months ago. It is OK, not great. And very dry. Next time I’m throwing in some fatback! But I digress.
My initial purpose for this sausage was to stuff the neck skin of a Canada goose my friend Tom shot, and this turned out fantastic! (I’ll return to that topic in another post later) But I had lots left over, so I stuffed the rest into hog casings. These are what you see in the picture above. I let the sausages hang in the cool garage for a few hours to dry out, then I got my smoker fired up. I fed it with wet almond wood until it was good and smoky, then hung the sausages to smoke for three hours. Afterwards, I shocked the sausages in an ice water bath to stop the cooking, then dried them off to store.
Smoked Duck or Goose Sausages
This is a deep, rich, smoky sausage that will go very, very well with lentils or other beans. It’s also good with a wild rice pilaf, or farro. And, like any sausage, is excellent as a sandwich with some good mustard! This recipe works with specklebelly geese, ducks, Aleutians — really any wild game, actually. It would be especially good with snow geese because they have almost no fat of their own. These do take some equipment to make, however.
This is a deep, rich, smoky sausage that will go very, very well with lentils or other beans. It’s also good with a wild rice pilaf, or farro. And, like any sausage, is excellent as a sandwich with some good mustard! This recipe works with specklebelly geese, ducks, Aleutians — really any wild game, actually. It would be especially good with snow geese because they have almost no fat of their own. These do take some equipment to make, however.You will need:
- A meat grinder. If you have a KitchenAid mixer, buy the grinder attachment. It works well.
- A sausage stuffer. You can get them special order from a restaurant supply store, or over the internet on sites such as Butcher & Packer. Buy no smaller than the 5 pound version.
- Casings. I buy beef middles for big sausages, hog casings for regular ones, and sheep casings for skinny little ones. I don’t use synthetic casings, typically made from collagen. Icky.
- A smoker. If you can’t hang these sausages comfortably, they will not be right. You can of course not smoke them. They will be good, but not the same.
Makes 10 six-inch sausages.
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 3 hours
- 2 pounds duck or goose meat
- 1/2 pound pork fat
- 18 grams kosher salt, about 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon
- 1 teaspoon (3 grams) Instacure No. 1 (optional)
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
- 4 cloves garlic, minced fine
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1/4 cup good red wine(I used Petite Sirah)
- Dice meat and fat into about 1 inch chunks. Toss in salt, pepper, rosemary, garlic and marjoram. Mix well.
- Soak casings in tepid water. You will need about 4 feet worth.
- Make sure all meat and fat is cold. You can even keep it in the freezer until it get a little bit frosty. When it is 40°F or colder (but not a sold rock), grind through the small die of your grinder. If it is hot out, or really if your kitchen is warmer that 68°F or so, grind into a bowl that is set in another bowl full of ice. The cold is critical to bind the meat and fat nicely. If it gets too warm, it will break and feel crumbly when you eat it, which isn’t very nice.
- Put the meat mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the wine and mix on the lowest setting of your mixer for 1 minute to 90 seconds. You can do it by hand with a wooden spoon, too. You want it to look like a paste.
- Put the meat in the fridge and set up your stuffer. Put a casing on the stuffing attachment, leaving about 6 to 8 inches free on the open end. Fill your stuffer with the meat and crank it down. Let the air come through the casing first, then when you see the meat coming through, hold the casing to let the meat totally fill it, then release as you go. You want it reasonably tight. Let the casing fill completely without twisting it into links.
- When you are done, twist into short links. I do short links with this sausage because it is so rich you don’t need that much to be satisfied. Make the links by pinching the casing down, then twisting away from you a few times. The next link needs to be twisted toward you a few times. Alternate down the whole length, twisting away from you, then twisting toward you. Tie the ends in a knot. You can tie again with butcher’s string if you’d like.
- Hang for at least an hour in a cool room. This lets it dry off.
- Smoke for about 3 hours, or until the interior gets to be about 150°F. Shock in a cold water bath, then pat dry. They are now ready to be stored, cooked in your favorite dish, or eaten right away.