Thursday, September 18, 2014

Recipe Spotlight: Venison Breakfast Sausage

Remember when I asked, with a touch of self-pity, what in the world I was going to do with all that tough venison meat?

Well, I was forgetting a tip that I learned a long time ago: ground venison can be mixed with other ground meat to change its flavor. Why didn't I remember this??

Breakfast Sausage RecipeGround venison tends to not clump together as much when it's cooked; it falls apart easily (as opposed to ground beef or pork, for example). Not sure why this is - maybe because it's so lean? Anyway, for this reason, Brian doesn't really like it for taco meat or chili. Well, mix it with ground beef, half and half, and suddenly you have what seems like twice as much ground beef and no one can tell the difference.

I put this principle to work the other night and whipped up some of this breakfast sausage (recipe and image courtesy AllRecipes). I bought about 1.5 pounds of ground pork for about $6 and mixed it with a little over 4 pounds of ground elk meat. (Roughly 60:40 venison/pork ratio.)

I modified the recipe amounts to adjust for 6 pounds of meat - and that's all. I didn't make any other changes. (Well, I didn't have any cloves so I guess I changed that too.) I mixed the sausage mixture in my KitchenAid, wrapped it in logs, and stuck it in the freezer.

This family LOVES sausage. Would they like this??? My courage faltered and my hope wavered.

Um, YES. Will and Brian loved it. The seasonings were spot on, the flavor was great, and the sausage was a lot less fatty than straight pork sausage (while at the same time not being so lean that it crumbled in the pan). It was SO stinking easy, too.

You could certainly play around with the venison/pork ratio, although my frugal bone really likes that I paid $6 for what ended up being six pounds of sausage. But written below is the same recipe, with my modifications, and you can play around with it as you like.

If you happen to be waging the same highly unusual and very specific struggle of wondering what to do with all of your tough venison pieces when your husband is picky about texture and also on a low-carb diet... I certainly hope this is helpful to you.

Venison/Pork Breakfast Sausage
(Makes six servings)
20 ounces ground venison
12 ounces ground pork
2 teaspoons dried sage
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Mix meat with seasonings. I am sure someone would be aghast at the idea of mixing it in the KitchenAid, but I find that's the easiest way to evenly mix the pork and venison (and the result didn't taste tough, in my opinion). Just don't overmix. Roll into a log and slice with a thin knife for patties, crumble and cook for your favorite recipe, or freeze for future use.

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