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Wild Game: Venison Beginner Bratwurst Tips in ‘Braising the Wild’

Jack Hennessy brings Venison Beginner Bratwurst Tips this week in “Braising the Wild.”

Venison Beginner Bratwurst Tips in “Braising the Wild.” Credit: Jack Hennessy
Venison Beginner Bratwurst Tips in “Braising the Wild”
Jack Hennessy

Jack Hennessy brings precision this week to making sausage. I particularly enjoyed deciphering the spice chart.

Here is this week’s recipe and tips:

VENISON BEGINNER BRATWURST TIPS

In early March I visited Barred Owl Butcher & Table in Columbia, Mo., for the MEAT! processing equipment launch party. The restaurant specializes in farm-to-table whole-animal butchery and craft charcuterie. Guests were treated to a demo on how to make sausage by owners Joshua Smith and Ben Parks. Upon leaving, we were given brat spice mix for 10 pounds of meat.

I recently used this spice mix for a batch of venison brats and was very impressed, so I reached out to Smith for the recipe. He was kind enough to share the finer details regarding the precision of making bratwurst.

“I prefer to use metric weights and a good digital scale (bonus points if it is accurate to the half or tenth of a gram) for measurement in my sausage and charcuterie projects,” Smith said, “as I find it to be much more reliable that a system of cups and tablespoons as it is both easily scalable (just move a decimal point) and because volume and weight don’t directly correspond from one brand/style of salt to the next.”

He even shared the ingredient chart with me. The only thing I altered for my recipe was the meat used (venison instead of pork meat).

AMOUNT (in grams) INGREDIENT CHARCUTIER’S PERCENTAGE
10,000 g 60:40 Venison to Pork Fat 100%
180 g Fine Sea Salt (or pure Kosher salt) 1.8%
30 g Ground White Pepper 0.3%
20 g Ground Ginger 0.2%
20 g Ground Nutmeg 0.2%
10 g Ground Marjoram 0.1%
10 g Ground Celery Seed 0.1%
As needed 29-32mm Hog Casings n/a

Meat is always 100% and ingredients are based on that, so in when I made 5 pounds of venison bratwurst (3 pounds venison, 2 pounds pork fat), 5 pounds would read 2268g on the scale, so I would need:

40.824g fine sea salt

6.804g white pepper

4.536g each ginger and nutmeg

2.268g each marjoram and celery seed

“I would round all of these to the nearest whole, half or tenth of a gram depending on the capabilities of my scale,” Smith suggested.

BRATS- AND SAUSAGE-MAKING TIPS

Inquire with your local butcher about picking up pork fat (not pork meat, but just the fat), as it is a must for quality wild sausage.

Call around to locate authentic hog intestines. Some butcher shops may have in-stock or even outdoor retail stores can sell. There is always Amazon.com, too. Hog casings are hands-down better than collagen, in my opinion.

Use quality equipment. MEAT! (madewithmeat.com) sells commercial-grade tools direct to consumers so there are offerings at a lower cost. I have found lower-quality equipment simply leads to quicker frustration.

Invest in a meat mixer, versus your hands, to mix together ground meat and spices.