Whitetail Hunting photo

As I mentioned in my post of a few weeks ago about chorizo chile rellenos, I have an abundance of peppers to deal with, including jalapeños. I also still have an abundance of moose meat taking up some valuable freezer space as this year’s hunting season cranks up. That means its sausage-making time. As I was building out a batch of my usual country venison sausage recipe, I threw in a few handfuls of diced jalapenos to see what would happen. The result was an interesting mix of sweet fall flavors with just enough spice to keep life interesting. My original country sausage recipe was adapted from Ruhlman and Polcyn’s excellent cured-meat primer, Charcuterie (a must-have book for any hunter interested in making sausage). This makes a 10-pound. batch.

Smoked Jalapeno Country Sausage

6 lbs. ground venison
4 lbs. ground pork shoulder
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup kosher salt
2 Tbsp. paprika
2 tsp. pink salt
1 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. nutmeg
¼ cup dry milk powder
1 cup finely diced jalapeños
1-2 cups ice water, as needed

In meat mixer or large tub, combine ground venison and pork. Mix in dry ingredients, adding a bit of water at time until a handful of sausage squeezes through your fingers when you make a fist. Continue mixing for 3 to 5 minutes until the proteins bind and the sausage becomes tacky.

Transfer the sausage to a stuffer and stuff into rinsed and soaked hog casings. Twist into links or rings as desired.

Place stuffed sausages on a rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet or meat tub and rest overnight in the refrigerator.

Before smoking, remove sausages from the refrigerator and let rest on the counter for an hour or so. If the casings are still wet, pat dry with paper towels or position a small fan to blow across them until dry.

Cook the sausages in a pre-heated smoker with heavy smoke at 180 to 200 degrees, monitoring closely until the internal temperature of the sausage reaches 150 degress. Remove the sausage from the smoker and immediately shock them in a tub of ice water to stop them from cooking further and prevent shrinkage.

To reheat, grill over hot coals or poach in simmering water until the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees.