Venison Sausage Recipes
Venison is the term most of us use to describe deer meat, but it actually applies to the flesh from all large antlered North American game animals, including deer, elk, moose, caribou and antelope. The word “venison” is derived from the Latin term venari which means “to hunt”. Once thought of as a food source for the poor, venison has made huge strides in recent years, and now it’s prized as a culinary delight for the well-to-do, especially since the establishment of the modern-day game farm.
This finely grained meat is low in fat and packed with protein, vitamins and minerals. When venison is killed in the wild, it’s free of antibiotics and synthetic hormones. Moreover, properly cared for venison is richer and more intensely flavored than the finest cuts of beef. While there’s no denying that it’s delicious eaten as a steak or roast, it makes an excellent sausage and jerky product as well.
Too, whitetail populations have exploded nationwide and hunters are reaping the harvest with additional deer tags and longer seasons. There’s also an increasing number of road kills across the country––some states even allow the perpetrator to legally salvage the meat. As a result, there is more meat in the coffers in which hunters can use to make a variety of homemade specialty products. And it appears that these rugged outdoor types are more than willing to utilize this new found windfall because home-based sausage and jerky making is increasing right along with the disbursement of the new deer tags. For a growing number of home processors the chance to make sausage and jerky is the reason for participating in the annual deer hunt. It’s definitely at the top of the to-do list with many of the deer hunters in my neck of the woods.
Great venison starts in the field before you take the shot and whether or not you’re using a bullet or an arrow to take down the animal. Bullets thrust forward with a tremendous amount of energy before smashing through the hide and bone to enter the vital organs which puts the deer down quickly and humanely. Arrows, on the other hand, tipped with razor sharp broad heads, kill by cutting arteries and veins resulting in massive blood loss. Though, the hapless critter will eventually expire it may take awhile to locate, which has the potential to reduce the quality of the meat. Regardless of the method used, immediate field care is a requirement if you expect to get the best yield from your animal.
Sometimes the window of shooting opportunity is so small that your chances of making a quick clean kill is gone before you can raise your gun so we’re often tempted to try a quick shot. I’ve learned the hard way that it’s better to let it go rather than risk a wounded animal. Our responsibility as a purveyor of life and death is to put the creature down as swiftly and painlessly as doable. Hunters are more often judged by the animals they pass up, when the shooting conditions are less than perfect, than by the trophies hanging on their wall.