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Venison Sausage with Bay and Garlic

Venison sausage with garlic

Photo by Holly A. Heyser

This is a rich, country-style venison sausage where the dominant spice is ground bay leaves and garlic. These are especially good for grilling, as bay seems to go well with the flavors that come with cooking over an open fire.

If you can’t find pure pork fatback, sub in belly or some really fatty pork shoulder. For those of you who don’t know about dry milk powder, it’s used to retain moisture in smoked sausages; skip it if you don’t plan on smoking your sausages — likewise with the Instacure No. 1. This is a curing salt that protects the meat from bad bacteria while you’re smoking it. Skip it if you are just making sausages for the grill.

If you are unfamiliar with making fresh sausages, I wrote a basic tutorial on my friend Elise’s site here.

Makes about 4 pounds

  • 3 pounds venison
  • 1 pound pork shoulder or belly
  • 1 pound pork fat back
  • 34 grams salt (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 4 grams Instacure No. 1 (optional)
  • About 10 bay leaves, ground to a powder
  • 25 grams minced fresh garlic (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 10 grams ground black pepper (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 3 grams celery seeds (about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 cup red wine (I used a Primitivo)
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • 25 grams dry milk powder (optional)
  • hog casings, about 12 to 15 feet
  1. Chop meat and fat into chunks that will for into your grinder. (Optional expert step: Mix the salt and curing salt with just the meat, grind very coarsely — 10 mm or 12 mm plate — and refrigerate overnight. If you don’t have such a large plate, cut the meat a little finer and do the same thing. This will give you a tighter bind in the finished sausage, which is especially important as this is a coarsely ground sausage.)
  2. Take out some hog casings and set in a bowl of warm water.
  3. When you are ready to grind, mix the meat and fat with all the herbs and spices. If you are using the dry milk powder, mix that in, too. I use it when I slow-smoke sausages; it helps them retain moisture and shrink less after they come out of the smoker. Make sure the meat and fat are 37°F or colder by putting the mixture in the freezer for an hour or so. Put the wine in the fridge.
  4. Grind through your meat grinder (you can use a food processor in a pinch, but you will not get a fine texture) using the coarse die (6 mm or 7 mm).
  5. Make sure your sausage is very cold, between 28°F and 32°F. When it’s cold enough, take it out of the freezer and add the wine and water. Mix the sausage thoroughly either using a Kitchenaid on low for 60 to 90 seconds or with your (very clean) hands for 2 minutes. This is important to get the sausage to bind properly.
  6. Stuff the sausage into the casings. Twist off links by pinching the sausage down and twisting it, first in one direction, and then with the next link, the other direction. Or you could tie them off with butcher’s string. Make sure you pierce the links wherever there are air pockets; I use a needle sterilized in the flames of my stovetop. Gently squeeze the links to remove all air pockets.
  7. Hang the sausages in a cool place for up to 4 hours (the colder it is, the longer you can hang them). If it is warm out, hang for one hour. Once they have dried a bit, put in the fridge until needed. They will keep for at least a week in the fridge. If you are freezing the sausages, wait a day before doing so. This will tighten up the sausages and help them keep their shape in the deep-freeze.

More Venison Recipes
More Cured Meat Recipes

15 responses to “Venison Sausage with Bay and Garlic”

  1. Brady

    Pro or Con on using the Instacure?

  2. D donnelly

    I got a moose last week. I am grinding a lot of meat for sausage. I have to say I love your site

  3. Sausage Fest ’11 « The Cage Free Tomato

    […] Sausage via Paula Wolfert via Chow (above), venison with bay and garlic via Hank Shaw (below right), chorizo for aging via Darina Allen (below center). Good looking recipes. No pink […]

  4. Sherry

    I made both the lemon and basil and the bay and garlic sausages this week. They were outstanding! Shared with friends and had a feast. Shot my deer on Monday and going to make more today. Thanks so much for your site and your instructions on how to make sausage. I did try using my Kitchen aide grinder with sausage stuffer attachment because I liked the presentation of the links but I have to agree with you that it is best to just leave it in patty form without professional equipment. Seemed to toughen up the sausages a bit and it is harder to control the cooking since deer seems to taste best just barely done in this. Also made the Chilidrone which was a big hit. Thanks again for sharing your expertise with all of us.

  5. dave

    The recipe obliquely alludes to smoking, such as when it mentions the dry milk powder, but doesn’t explicitly state to smoke. Shoule they be smoked?

  6. dave

    Thank you, Hank. LAst question, I promise:

    Cols smoke them for flavor only, or hot smoke them to doneness?

  7. dave

    Cured & smoked, they are fantatstic! Served cold as antipasto, even slipped by a few people who claim to dislike venison, they loved it!

  8. bill

    is it possible to get a weight (in grams) for the amount of bay leaves? a tablespoon of ground bay sounds like a lot of bay leaves to me.
    i’ve just recently discovered your site and i’m loving every minute of it. can’t read it fast enough. thanks for everything!

  9. Greg

    Any thoughts on a sauce/condiment to serve these with, aside from the traditional ketchup/mustard/pickle routine?

  10. How Eating “Real Food” Helped Me Love Deer Season {From a Hunter’s Wife}

    […] Make sausages, both patties and links. […]

  11. Kathy Fore

    I’m allergic to pork, can this be made with some other fatty meat as substitute?

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