One of our favorite things to do after processing a deer is to take the trimmings and make fresh venison bratwurst. Because one, bratwurst is delicious; and two, we love cooking it.
Before jumping into sausage making, there’s a few things we need to go over. To start, venison is very lean. So you can’t just go straight into it and start grinding up the trimmings. You’ll want to add in a little bit of pork fat first. It’s soft, neutral-tasting, and will help bind the meat when it comes time to cook it.
How much pork fat do you need to add? Well that depends on how you want your sausages to cook up, how lean your venison meat is, and what types of port fat and game meat you’re dealing with. For us, we like to add 10% pork fat to our venison. If you’re going to add more than 10% pork, we recommend only going up to 20% but using a combination of half pork fat and half pork trim.
Here’s everything that you’ll need:
- Deer trimmings
- Pork fat (you can buy this from your local butcher or pick up some boneless pork butt from the grocery store for same effect)
- Your favorite flavor of our Bearded Butchers Blend seasoning
- Collagen or natural sausage casing
- Optional: high temp cheddar cheese
- Electric meat grinder
- 5lb sausage stuffer
Preparing the Meat
1. To get started you’ll want to cut your deer trimmings and pork fat into golf ball sized pieces. We like to use our Victorinox Swiss Army Boning Knife (which is also a part of our favorite Cutlery Kit).
2. Weigh out a combined total of 12lbs of meat (90% venison and 10% pork fat).
3. Throw meat into a bowl, add in your favorite seasoning, and mix by hand. Our 6oz containers of Bearded Butchers Blend seasoning are the perfect size for 12lbs of meat. Make sure all the trimmings are evenly coated for the best marinade.
We eat venison bratwurst all the time with our Bearded Butchers Blend Original flavor and it’s easily one of our favorite meals.
Grinding the Meat and Making the Bratwurst
1. Now it’s time to toss your blended mix into the grinder. We like using this one and working one golf ball-sized piece of meat through it at a time.
2. Once everything is ground up, we like to kick things up a notch by mixing in some cheddar cheese. It adds good texture and flavor to the bratwurst, but you’ll want to make sure you use high temp cheddar cheese for this step. The high temp cheese has a higher melting point so it won’t ooze out before you get to enjoy it.
3. For making the actual bratwurst, we like to use a 5lb stuffer and 32mm collagen casing. While this step can be a one person job (just make sure you c-clamp the stuffer to the table), we typically like to bring in an extra set of hands. One of us will make a few softball sized meat balls, add them to the stuffer, and then hold it steady while the other one cranks out some brats.
When it comes to filling the casing, you just want to avoid having any air bubbles. If you’re struggling with too much pressure, you can add some water to the meat mixture to help things move faster through the machine.
4. Once we’re done, we like to cut the bratwursts into five inch long links (this way they fit perfectly on a bun). You should be able to get about four links per pound of meat.
We hope this gives you an idea of what to do the next time you get your hands on some fresh venison. We eat these venison bratwursts all the time and they always turn out to be one of our favorites! Check out or video demonstrating the entire process below!
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