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Venison Landjaeger

smoked venison landjaeger

Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Landjaeger. Such a cool name, eh? It’s a German dry-cured sausage that is made small enough to fit into your coat pocket on a cold day hiking, fishing — or hunting. Traditionally made with beef and pork, my landjaeger is made with venison and pork fat. You could use any red meat — goat, lamb, elk, etc.

This is a tricky sausage to make. It requires a few advanced sausage-making skills and some equipment. If you’ve never made dry-cured salami before, don’t try this recipe. Make something a little easier, like my Boar Salami California instead.

You will need a few things before you even start:

  • A humidifier, or a place where the humidity is over 85 percent.
  • A place to hang your sausages in this humid environment.
  • A place to hang your sausages after the initial ferment, preferably a place with humidity about 80 percent and about 55 degrees.
  • A smoker. Landjaeger is lightly smoked before it hangs to dry.

venison landjaeger

Use narrow hog casings for this salami. Landjaeger is, in essence, a really, really good Slim Jim. A snack to be enjoyed outdoors, not sliced like a wider salami. Hog casings are available at any good supermarket (ask the butcher) or in a butcher’s shop.

Makes 5 pounds, or about 20-22 eight-inch links.

Prep Time: 20 days

Cook Time: 3 hours

  • 4 pounds venison
  • 1 pound pork fat
  • 38 grams (about 3 tablespoons) kosher salt
  • 15 grams (a scant 2 tablespoons) sugar or dextrose
  • 6 grams (about a teaspoon) Instacure No. 1 
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 20 grams (about 2 tablespoons) starter culture T-SPX 
  • 1/2 cup distilled water

  1. Chill the meat and fat in the freezer for at least 1 hour. You want it close to frozen, even a little crispy cold.
  2. Chop the meat and fat into 1-inch chunks. Remove as much silverskin and gristle as you can from the venison.
  3. Put about 10 feet of hog casings into some warm water and set aside.
  4. Mix all the spices, salt, curing salt and sugar with the meat and fat. Chill for 1 hour in the fridge.
  5. Grind through the fine die on your grinder. If you are using trim from a deer — meaning there’s a lot of silverskin, etc — grind first through the coarse die, then again through the fine die. If you need to double-grind, chill the meat in the freezer between grindings for 15-20 minutes. Clean up the grinder while the meat is chilling. When you finish cleaning it, submerge everything in ice water to quickly cool it down.
  6. Meanwhile, run warm water through your hog casings. This flushes them, and will show you any leaks in the casings. Set them aside when you’re done.
  7. Take the temperature of the meat: If it is warmer than 40 degrees, put it back in the fridge for 30 minutes and check again.
  8. When the meat is good and cold, get your starter culture ready. Gently mix the starter culture with the distilled water and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  9. Take out the meat and put it in a mixer bowl with the heavy paddle attachment. Add the starter culture, then mix everything on the lowest setting for 60-90 seconds. You will see the meat change texture. You are looking for a good bind, where the meat is beginning to stick to itself.
  10. Put the meat into your sausage stuffer and stuff it into the hog casings. Twist off into links of about 8 inches. Tie off each link with kitchen twine.
  11. Hang the links on a drying rack — a wooden clothes drying rack is excellent for this — and find a needle. Heat the tip of the needle over a flame until it glows; this sterilizes it. Prick the casing anywhere you see air pockets.
  12. Now you need to ferment the sausage. You will want to tent the hanging sausages with black plastic from some garbage bags, or some other plastic sheeting. If you have one, put a humidifier under the sausages. You really want them to stay moist.
  13. Let the sausages hang for at least 24 hours, and up to 48 hours. Every 6-12 hours, spritz them with a spray mister to keep them moist. This is the fermentation stage, the stage where the starter culture you are using defeats any bad bacteria in the sausage.
  14. When the sausages are ready, fire up the smoker. Put ice cubes in the water tray to keep the temperature as cool as possible. You are not cooking the links here, you are giving them a good smoking.
  15. Use oak, hickory, any fruit or nut wood. Avoid mesquite, as it is too distinctive. And no pine — too much resin. Smoke the links for 2-3 hours, making sure the temperature stays cool.
  16. If the smoker got beyond 150 degrees, douse the links in an ice water bath to stop any cooking. Pat them dry.
  17. Now you need to hang them in your drying chamber. I use an old fridge with a temperature regulator and a humidifier in it. Hang the links at about 80 percent humidity for at least 2 weeks before eating. You can let them go as long as 6 weeks. Store in the fridge, or vacuum sealed in the freezer.

venison landjaeger

Photo by Holly A. Heyser

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31 responses to “Venison Landjaeger”

  1. German Currywurst | Andrea Meyers

    […] Hunter Angler Gardener Cook – Venison Landjaeger […]

  2. Oscar

    Why do you use insta cure # 1 and not #2? I was under the impression that cure # 2 was necessary for dried sausage because of the time release of nitrites.

  3. Dave

    Great recipe for venison. Do you have the tradtional ratio for beef to pork or is it the same?

  4. Sandy

    Wow, Your site is all about our life, and the way I raised my children… I am interested in making landjaeger out of this falls Bear..I dont see any hitches , but if you do please inform me. I dont want to anger the hunting gods by ruining my Bear meat. Thanks , Sandy

  5. Scott

    I have heard that it is dangerous to eat uncooked bear due to the danger of trichonosis, not sure if curring would kill the trapanizome or not.

  6. Bill

    Great site and I’m anxious to try this recipe. My question is why do you put the cure and starter culture in at the same time? Could I mix the culture dextrose and meat together and let it ferment and then add the rest of the ingredients right before stuffing?

  7. jeff

    About that bear meat, it needs to be frozen for at least two weeks to be effective at killing off the parasites.

  8. Robert Kochel

    Hi Hank- I’m making this recipe now,took the chip pan out of little chief and used a clay crock filled with water to achieve ferment. The outside temp is 25F and in the box it’s 70F with the hygrometer reading 80. I have another 24 hrs to go but so far so good. The ferment should be a nice authentic touch. My cold smoker doesn’t reach the finish smoke temps so I figured out ahead of time to use sportsman smoker, charcoal fire. By replacing with hot coals from wood stove as needed I should be able to keep within parameters for higher temp finish smoking. Thanks again and I enjoy some of the more challenging recipes. Robert

  9. Robert Kochel

    Hi Hank- Scratch that last part about hot smoke temps. My mind was on a summer sausage recipe that was being completed as this was wrote. Thanks again-Robert

  10. Paolo

    Hello Hank, thanks again for your great recipes. I would like to know why you favor Bactoferm T-SPX over the others in your Landjaeger? Have you tried some of the others like F-RM-52?

  11. Kris lawler

    Hi Hank,

    My goup and I have a bunch of goose from last season that we plan on using for sausage, summer sausage and pepperettes and what not. It is all Canada Goose, will this recipe work for a goose substitution.



  12. mr jay

    What is the difference using fermento verses SPX or RM-52 other than frozen cultures

  13. Gordon Mayer

    How and when do you know if the good bacteria have defeated the bad ones? Does it just smell or feel bad? Is it after fermentation or during/after curing?

  14. Gordon Mayer

    Hi Hank,

    Ok, finished my batch of Landjaeger. Everything seemed to go fine, but they have lost nearly 30% of their weight in just 10 days in the curing chamber. My chamber is calibrated temp/humidity and running at 55ºF and 82% humidity. I put them into small hog casings. I tried one and it is uniformly dry throughout (so no case hardening) and the color is good. But, it sure seemed like they dried quicker than I would have thought. I did have a dehumidifier running in my chamber to get/keep the humidity down to 82% (it is wet here in the winter, and I had just used the chamber to ferment at 90%+. Any idea why they dried so quickly, and does that seem ok?

  15. Jako van Blerk

    The “chunks” of fat in the picture seems more of a coarse grind than the fine grind you mention in the recipe? How do you get it like that so it’s kinda separated and not blended too much?

  16. Peter Hunt

    Hi Hank-

    I have a batch of these that have been hanging in my curing chamber (75% humidity and 60 degrees) for about a week and a half with a couple batches of your Hungarian sausages and a quarter of venison I’m curing. Instead of links, I did these in rings. A few of them have a little white mold growing on them where the two ends join together. I wiped it off with a little vinegar. Do I need to be worried about this?


  17. Peter Hunt

    That’s what I thought, but I just wanted to make sure.

    They seem to be drying pretty slowly. So far they’ve only lost about 3.5% of their weight. I hope they start drying a little faster, as I can’t wait to try them!

  18. John Renner

    I like the idea of the fridge being used – does anyone sell something similar? Also, what temp is the final cure (room temp?)?

  19. J. Morgan

    Hi Hank, I have made these a number of times and love them and my friends think it’s the best there is. This next time however, I’d like to make a larger caliber… more like a salame, I was thinking of stuffing into beef middles. I realize the dry time would likely be extended. Just thought I’d get your thoughts on it. As an aside, I’m experimenting with a deer heart. I cut it so that I could open it up but leave as one piece. I cleaned it out, and vac sealed it in my cure for 8 days. I just took it out, rinsed, and peppered it, rolled it up like a pancetta and trussed it inside a beef middle. I cold smoked for 4-hours, and now it’s hanging to dry. Thought I’d let you know since I cut my teeth on deer heart with your grilled heart and peppers recipe. Thanks.

  20. Make Venison Landjaeger | AllMorgan

    […] v2. This is my second attempt. The first, seen at right, was excellent and it was made using Hank Shaw’s recipe. This time, I wanted a larger caliber sausage and I also wanted to play with the ingredients. […]

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