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Sausage Making: The Basics

Updated on February 27, 2012

sausage recipes

Sausage making isn’t difficult, and sausage can be made from practically any type of meat, poultry, wild game, or game birds. I’ve had sausage recipes made from pork, beef, turkey, venison, and duck. I once even tried some rabbit sausage, and it was quite tasty. I also had some bear sausage once, but I didn’t care for it. The great thing about making your own sausage is that you can add any sausage seasoning you like, and you can also control the fat content. Sausage making recipes make efficient use of meat scraps, too, so you can even make sausage from a combination of different meats and game. This is a wonderful idea for venison sausage. I’ve always mixed some ground pork or beef with my deer sausage. As long as you have a meat grinder, some meat, and some sausage seasoning, you’re in business! Of course, if you want to make link sausage, you’ll also need some casings and a sausage stuffer.

Create your own sausage recipes!
Create your own sausage recipes!

Sausage making tips for meats

Whatever type of meat you’re using, you need to be sure to remove any gristle and fascia (silver skin) first. Cut the meat into cubes that are small enough to feed into your grinder. The meat needs to be very cold, too. The texture of the ground meat is up to you. Most people, however, like a finer grind if the sausage is going to be stuffed into casings. If you’re making bulk or pan sausage, you might prefer a grind that’s not as fine. Also, if the meat you’re using is very lean, you’ll probably want to add some fat to the mix. The ground meat needs to “stick together,” and fat will help it to do so. Fat also enhances the flavor of sausage recipes.

Some of the best wild game recipes are sausage recipes. Venison sausage is a great example!
Some of the best wild game recipes are sausage recipes. Venison sausage is a great example!

Sausage making tips for wild game

Even for people who enjoy eating wild game recipes, some don’t care for a lot of “wild” taste. You might know the term as “gamey.” This gaminess largely depends on the animal’s gender and age, along with its regular diet. In many game animals, much of the gamey taste is concentrated in the fat. That’s one reason you’ll need to remove all the fat from game animals before making it into sausage. There’s something else about the fat in wild game that you need to understand. In some game animals, like deer, the fat has an unpleasant texture. Venison fat is waxy unless it’s heated to a very high temperature.

The skinny on the added fat

Think about the texture of fat for a moment. Now imagine that fat “gumming” up in the grinder. That’s why it’s important to place the fat you’re going to add to your sausage recipes in the freezer for a while. Cut the fat in cubes first, and when it’s very firm and almost frozen, it’s ready to use in your sausage making recipes.

Some good fats to use in sausage recipes include beef suet, pork fat, and solidified bacon grease. Fatty cuts of pork and beef are also good to use in sausage. This is especially true if you want to “tone down” the wild taste of game.

Make your own sausage seasoning.
Make your own sausage seasoning.

Sausage seasoning: dry and semi-dry ingredients

You can season your sausage with a wide array of ingredients. If you’re making homemade sausage for the first time, I suggest you start with a small batch until you find out which seasonings you like best. Here are some ingredients you might want to try:

Salt

Garlic salt

Onion salt

Fresh garlic

Garlic powder

Diced onions

Dried fruits

Dried mushrooms

Nuts

Onion powder

Sugar

Brown sugar

Coriander

Red pepper flakes

Oregano

Rubbed sage

Marjoram

Cardamom

Thyme

Paprika

Fennel

Basil

Parsley

Anise

Tarragon

Cilantro

Rosemary

Ground red pepper

Chili powder

Chipotle powder

Turmeric

Cumin

Cinnamon

Allspice

Ground cloves

Ground ginger

Nutmeg

Mace

Curry powder

Dill

Bay leaves

Black pepper

White pepper

Sun-dried tomatoes

Tamarind

Chopped bacon

Cooked rice

Chopped jalapeno peppers

Chopped habanero peppers

Roasted sweet peppers

Orange zest

Cheese

Caraway seeds

Buckwheat

Cornmeal

File powder

Powdered milk

MSG

Liquid sausage seasoning

Many people like to add flavor to their sausage recipes with liquids. You’ll need to add just a little bit of liquid – you don’t want soggy sausages. If you use a slight hand, you won’t have to worry about this. Ground meats have a lot of surface area that will enable the meats and fats to absorb a little liquid. Some of the liquids you might like to try with your sausage recipes:

White vinegar

Apple cider vinegar

Apple juice

Maple flavoring

Maple syrup

Wine vinegar

Wine

Beer

Whiskey

Bourbon

Tequila

Cognac

Coconut milk

Fruit juice

Worcestershire sauce

Soy sauce

Teriyaki sauce

Liquid Smoke

Hot sauce

Honey

The casings

If you’re making patty sausage, you won’t have to worry about casings. If, however, you want to make link sausage, you’ll need to stuff the ground sausage into some casings. There are several different types of sausage casings from which to choose. These include beef casings, hog casings, sheep casings, and casings made from collagen. You can even find vegetarian and vegan sausage casings! If you don’t care about consuming the casing themselves, you might be interested in synthetic sausage casings. You’ll also need to decide on what size you want your sausage links to be, according to the diameter of the sausage casings.

Sausage making supplies for sale:

How to make sausage:

Homemade sausage:

Comments

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    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Caseworker, that's what so great about home sausage making! You get to decide what's in the sausage - no more "mystery meat"! lol

    • CASE1WORKER profile image

      CASE1WORKER 6 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      Wow I have really learnt something today- I had not realised that they could be made into a patty let alone a home made sausage- I am always a bit wary about what goes into sausages and as I have to eat guten free it is always a problem to get anything other than plain bland sausages

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Oh, Sis - I bet the summer venison sausage was yummy! Never tried that!

    • L.L. Woodard profile image

      L.L. Woodard 6 years ago from Oklahoma City

      You always share such tasty and useful recipes! The photos are great accompaniments.

      Voted up and SHARED.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Great resource! I have never made sausages before because we are generally happy with store bought ones, but it would be fun to try sometime.

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 6 years ago from Jamaica

      I have never made sausage before. I have made burgers pate but am never sure about the casings before now. I would like to make my own because we don't eat the store bought sausages, or franks. Now to get the meat grinder!

    • Budman610 profile image

      Budman610 6 years ago from Ohio

      So I read all your literature credential etc. in you bio.....but the first thing I am drawn to is pork products! good info!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 6 years ago

      We are sausage lovers at our home and your versions would be a real treat at dinner time. Thanks for sharing the information on where the gamey taste comes from and how to keep it out of sausage. I have had venison sausage from friends who hunt deer for meat and it was wonderful. Great hub and good read.

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 6 years ago from Central Texas

      Great Hub, Habee -- we used to make venison sausage and add pork -- as you said, spices are up to the maker. We also made a sausage from venison that was on the order of a "summer sausage" which was quite good but that was my husband's recipe and I don't recall what all he used other than venison. Keeping your info for some possible sausage making again in the future. Thanks! Best/Sis

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