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Venison: making summer and smoked sausage

Cut sausage pieces.

Definition and types of sausages

Sausages are defined as chopped or ground meat that is blended with spices or other seasonings and stuffed in natural or manufactured casings. There are several different types of sausages, including fresh sausage, cooked smoked sausage and dry or semi-dry sausage.

Procedure for making summer sausage safely from game meat

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water before working with meat, after changing tasks and when finished.
  2. Start with clean equipment - sanitize surfaces with a solution of 1 tablespoon chlorine bleach per gallon of water or follow directions on container.
  3. Select only fresh, high quality meat and other ingredients (spice, cure, etc.).
  4. If using frozen meat, first thaw in refrigerator.
  5. Follow the recipe exactly for the proper lean-to-fat ratio to ensure good texture and binding properties.
  6. Keep the temperature of the meat as cold as possible (below 40 degrees F) during grinding and mixing.
  7. Mix the dry ingredients in water to dissolve the curing ingredients and allow for even distribution throughout the product during regrind.
  8. If you have the grinding equipment, coarse-grind the meat, then add the rest of the ingredients and regrind.
  9. If stuffing sausage, choose only high-quality hog casings that have been salted.
  10. Soak casings in clean water 30 minutes before use, and rinse them in cold water to remove excess salt.
  11. Wash grinding and stuffing equipment with hot soapy water. Then sanitize with solution of 1 tablespoon chlorine bleach per gallon of water when done or 1 teaspoon chlorine bleach per quart of water.
  12. Use food thermometers to ensure cooked sausage products have reached proper internal temperature of 160 F.
Keep the temperature of the meat as cold as possible during grinding and mixing.

Venison summer sausage recipe

Note: Sausage is quite spicy. If you like less spice, cut down proportions of spices.


  • 15 pounds venison
  • 10 pounds pork trimmings (5 pounds lean trimmings, 5 pounds fat trimmings)
  • 7 ounces (2/3 cup) salt
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) commercial cure
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) mustard seed
  • 3 ounces (1/2 cup) pepper
  • 3 ounces (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 1/2 ounce (3 tablespoons) marjoram


  1. Mix salt and cure with coarsely ground venison and pork trimmings. 
  2. Pack in shallow pan and place in refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.
  3. Then add rest of ingredients and mix well.
  4. Smoke sausage until internal temperature reaches 160 F as measured by a food thermometer.

Homemade venison smoked sausage directions

  1. Stuff prepared sausage into 3-inch diameter fibrous casings.
  2. Smoke at 140 F for 1 hour, then at 160 F for one hour and then 180 F until internal temperature reaches 152 F (insert a food thermometer in the thickest part of the sausage to check internal temperature).
  3. Remove from smoker/smokehouse and spray with hot water for 15 to 30 seconds. Follow with cold spray or place in ice water to cool down rapidly until the internal temperature is lowered to 100 F. 
  4. Air dry sausages for 1-2 hours. Refrigerate at 40 F for up to 3 weeks. 

    Suzanne Driessen, Extension educator and Kathy Brandt, Extension educator

    Reviewed in 2021

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