Wrapping up another deer season with processing the harvest
My deer season finally came to an end last night.
Oh, the hunting part of it ended on Jan. 1, of course.
The guns are cleaned, bows stored and clothing washed and ready for next fall. Most of the stands have also been taken down for maintenance check-up later in the winter.
The final task of wrapping up another successful season of hunting Michigan’s prized whitetails was to gather with friends and hunting buddies to make summer sausage, hunter sticks, pepperoni, breakfast sausage and jerky out of some of our venison.
A good friend has been making his own “venison treats” for years and has the process down to a science. With premixed spices and a little pork added to the meat, we took turns grinding, mixing and stuffing the meat into appropriate-sized casings. The final step is smoking the meat, which he’ll accomplish in a refrigerator-turned-smoker.
It’s no secret that venison is high in nutrition and low in fat and cholesterol. However, some people quickly grow tired of healthful venison steaks and roasts.
Newcomers to the world of venison sometimes have a hard time adjusting to the lean cuts. There is no “marbling” in venison and the fat that does exist is a waxy substance called tallow, which is best trimmed off. I’ve found the secret to introducing some folks to “deer meat” is through hunter sticks, jerky or some form of sausage.
All it takes to make your own is a couple packages of roasts or steaks, a grinder, a few ingredients and a little time. Pork is usually added to provide the needed fat.
If you have kids, let them help. They’re good at cranking hand-grinders and their little clean hands make good mixers, even if you have to help them out a little bit.
Electric grinders are relatively inexpensive and most come with a sausage tube, to make the whole process simple.
There are dozens of recipes available. Some come with the grinder kits and there are literally hundreds on the Internet.
Start out with a small amount because you’ll likely have to adjust the ingredients until you find the combination that suits your palate just right.