Baron Garlic Sausage -100 lb Batch
Each year we seem to waiver on this. Depending on how much fat you keep from your deer, and if you use trimmings, fat or the whole pig carcass, you will want to adjust the ratio of deer to pork. This year we did 70/30 because the pork trimmings were almost entirely fat. Just fry up a patty sample of your mixture and see if you like the fat content. You can always add more deer or pork to your liking.
We use the same garlic recipe below for our moose and elk sausage.
When I was little, we used to raise our own butcher pigs just for sausage. Nowadays, with an anti-pig husband (sigh!), our best luck is to buy a mature butcher pig from the local Hutterite Colony. Sometimes they will even butcher it for you, or you can take it to a local butcher and have it done the way you like, leaving out the good cuts for your freezer.
Spice Mixture (for 100 lbs)
1 cup sea salt (or non-iodized salt)
1 cup black pepper
1 cup garlic salt
1/4 cup tender quick
Add to meat after the dry ingredients:
1 1/2 cups minced garlic in 3 cups of boiling water*
We have used several different mixing methods over the years, but my favorite is by hand (probably because of all the fond memories I have mixing sausage with my cousins when I was a little girl!). We weigh the ground deer and pork and place them on a sturdy table. Then it is all hands in! We sprinkle the spices over top and pour the water/garlic on top, letting it soak into the meat.
When we don't have as many hands on deck, or the meat isn't quite as thawed as we like, dad uses an electric drill with mixer on the end to thoroughly combine the deer and pork inside a rubber maid container. Because we sometimes grind the meat ahead of time and freeze it, we try to put it out in a slightly heated shop a day or two before its needed, to slowly thaw it. We also freeze the meat in garbage bag lined milk crates (for easy stacking in the freezer) so it does take quite some time to thaw them all the way through.
Soak your thawed casing salted water prior to use. Keep them in the water until you are about to thread them onto the sausage press. Don't allow them to dry out.
We have tried electric sausage presses before, but they are difficult to regulate and you often spend more time pinching off busted casings than you do making sausage. For that reason, we just use a hand crank (10lb) press that you can easily adjust the speed on. It sounds old school but it will be faster in the end because you won't break as many casings.We have used lever-style presses in the past, however it is much harder to keep a constant speed and consistent sausage size.
We try to fill a casing completely, wrapping it in a circle on the table (covering the table in plastic with a splash of water works best for easy sliding). We then transfer the entire coil over to the wrapping table to be cut and twisted into appropriate sizes. We base our package sizes on who will be eating the sausage (family of 2 versus family of 6).
We LOVE to smoke our sausage (and essentially all forms of meat!). We have just a small propane powered smoker, so we don't tend to do all of our sausage, as that would take forever. We just use the pre-packaged smoked wood chips from your local hunting store (we bought ours at Bass Pro Shops & Hanna Building Supplies). This year we tried Hickory Smoked flavoring and it was delicious!
Life Hack: If you only have a small smoker, like us, but want to smoke a lot of sausage- get creative! My dad is famous for finding unique ways to expand his smoker. In recent years, he's used a pop-up style ice-fishing shack, with the smoker placed inside, door open. The entire shack then becomes a smoker. He has also used a tarp over top of an old square clothes hanging line, with the smoker inside.
Tape seems to be a big issue for us. You can purchase Freezer Tape which is specifically made for wrapping items for the freezer. It looks like regular masking tape, but trust me- masking tape doesn't work! The second it hits the freezer it loses its stickiness and just falls off! I had some freezer tape left over from a few years ago, stored in cold storage (our c-can), and when I took it out to use this year I was very disappointed. Apparently it cannot be frozen (prior to use). It wouldn't even come off the roll! So if you do manage to find the elusive freezer tape, store it inside for next time!
I have purchased Freezer Tape at our local grocery store before, however this year it was impossible to find. You may want to try you local hardware store or Canadian Tire, although it can be quite tricky to get a hold of.
Because we were low this year, we tried a number of different tapes. All-Weather Scotch tape (blue) seemed to work great. We actually found it in the painting section at Canadian Tire. It looks a lot like painting tape. We also tried a very thin, plastic sealing tape recommended by our local hunting store, but it was hard to use, and had to use a lot of it to make it to stick.