Food and prop styling by Roscoe Betsill.
If you’ve got a grinder and a smoker, you’ve probably tried your hand at making some classic venison sausages, like brats or breakfast links. Here are three more to try when you are feeling adventurous. This trio hails from far-flung locales—South Africa, Portugal, and Algeria — but their appeal is universal. A few tips: Make sure the meat and the fat, especially, are thoroughly cold before grinding. Let them chill in the freezer for 30 minutes, along with the metal grinder parts, and you’ll get a better texture. (The fat grinds best when almost frozen.) None of these sausages have to be stuffed into casings. Venison shoulder is the go-to cut, but that’s a preference, not an absolute. When it comes to making sausage, the only limitation should be the size of your appetite.
A South African farmer’s sausage, boerewors has a distinctive scorched-coriander flavor. This is excellent with a dab of chutney on the side.
Ingredients • 2 lb. venison • 1⁄2 lb. bacon • 1⁄2 lb. pork fat • 3 Tbsp. whole coriander seeds • 1 tsp. ground allspice • 1⁄2 tsp. ground cloves • 1⁄2 tsp. ground nutmeg • 1 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper • 4 tsp. kosher salt • 1⁄2 tsp. sugar • 1⁄4 cup malt vinegar • Hog casings
1) Toast the coriander: Place the coriander seeds in a small skillet over medium heat. Keep shaking the pan until the seeds are browning and beginning to pop; a bit of scorch is O.K., but don’t burn them. Let the seeds cool, then place them in a zip-seal bag, squeezing it to remove the air. Use a rolling pin (or anything heavy) to crush the seeds into a coarse grind.
2) Cut the venison, bacon, and fat into small strips or chunks. Add the remaining ingredients and combine until the meat is evenly coated. Refrigerate overnight, covered, or at least for a few hours.
3) Chill the sausage mixture thoroughly before grinding, for about a half hour in the freezer. Also freeze the grinder parts and the bowl you’ll be grinding into. Grind the mixture through a 1⁄4-inch die into the chilled bowl.
4) Knead the mixture with very clean hands to incorporate all the flavorings and to bind the meat and fat—about 2 minutes should suffice, or until your hands are too cold to continue. Refrigerate the mixture until ready to stuff.
5) Stuff the mixture into the rinsed casings, forming links as desired. Let the sausages dry on a rack in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. At this point they can be cooked or frozen. To cook, grill, broil, or pan-fry the sausages. Makes about 3 lb.
Linguica is one of the culinary treasures of Portugal. It’s a coarse, rustic sausage with a vibrant Mediterranean flavor that comes from a punch of garlic and a big red dose of paprika. It’s especially tasty mixed into a plate of garlicky sauteéd greens.
Ingredients • 2 lb. venison • 3⁄4 lb. pork fat • 4 garlic cloves, minced • 4 Tbsp. paprika • 1 Tbsp. dried oregano • 1 tsp. ground coriander • 1⁄2 tsp. brown sugar • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper • 1⁄2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes • 4 tsp. kosher salt • 2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar • Hog casings
1) Cut the meat into small strips or chunks. Add the remaining ingredients, except the fat, and combine so the meat is thoroughly coated with the spices. Refrigerate overnight, covered.
2) Chill the meat in the freezer along with the fat and the grinder parts, for about 30 minutes. Grind the meat mixture through a 3⁄8- or 1⁄2-inch die. Refrigerate the meat while you grind the fat through a 1⁄4-inch die. Combine these and knead with your very clean hands for about 2 minutes, or until blended.
3) Stuff the mixture into rinsed casings, forming links as desired. Allow the sausages to dry on a rack in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
4) Hot-smoke the sausages until a meat thermometer poked into the middle reads 155 degrees. Makes about 2½ lb.
Merguez is a fiery red lamb sausage from North Africa. Our version is a cheat, in that it uses store-bought Italian sausage (and swaps in venison for the lamb), but the recipe is adapted from one by the eminent chef Jacques Pepin—so it’s a pedigreed cheat. Lack of work, in this case, does not equal lack of flavor.
Ingredients • 1 lb. venison • 1 lb. hot Italian sausage • 2 tsp. ground cumin • 1 tsp. paprika • 1⁄8 tsp. cayenne pepper • 11⁄2 tsp. kosher salt • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic • 2 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped • Sheep or hog casings • Harissa, for serving (optional)
1) Cut the venison into small strips or chunks. Chill the venison, the grinder parts, and the mixing bowl for about 30 minutes in the freezer. Then grind the venison through a 1⁄4‑inch die and refrigerate.
2) Remove the Italian sausage from the casings. Discard the casings. Combine the venison and the Italian sausage filling with the cumin, -paprika, cayenne, salt, garlic, and cilantro.
3) Knead the mixture with your very clean hands to incorporate the spices and fully blend the meats. Refrigerate until ready to stuff.
4) Stuff into rinsed casings, forming links as desired. Allow the sausages to dry on a rack in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
5) These sausages are best cooked over a hot grill. As with all venison sausages, take care not to overcook. Serve with the harissa on the side. Makes about 2 lb.