Recipe: Pickled Deer Sausage

I don't know what it is about those bright red sausages and hard-boiled eggs suspended in cloudy liquid behind the counters at bars—at least, the type of bars I like to frequent—but I just can't resist them. It could be the state I'm in when I find myself in those places, but I'm always up for a good snack, and anything pickled (like anything fried) is the perfect pairing for my cheap, cold beer, preferably bought at a happy-hour price.

With this recipe I've tried to recreate that experience, if not the exact flavor of pickled red-hot sausage typically found at the bar. I used my Country Venison Sausage I made last month, but you can use any type of sausage as long as it has been cooked or smoked beforehand. If you want a hotter pickling liquid, add a tablespoon or so of red pepper. For the real deal, add some red dye to the liquid, too. You could certainly put them through a water-bath canner to make them shelf stable, but if you plan on eating them while there's still football on the television they'll keep in the fridge just fine for several weeks.

Pickled Deer Sausage

Ingredients
1 lb. smoked deer sausage links
2 jalapeños
2 carrots
1 medium onion
3 cups white vinegar
1 ½ cups water
1 ½ Tbsp. salt
1 ½ Tbsp. sugar
1 ½ Tbsp. pickling spice

Directions
Slice the deer sausage into chunks about 1-inch long. Cut the stem from the jalapenos and remove the seeds. Slice the jalapenos into ¼-inch coins. Do the same with the carrots, and halve and slice the onion as well.

Fill a 2-quart mason jar with the sausage and vegetable, layering as you go.

Combine the vinegar, water, and spices together in a medium saucepan. Set the pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.

Pour the hot pickling liquid over the sausage and vegetables. Seal the jar and place it in the refrigerator. The sausage should be ready to eat in about a week, and will keep in the refrigerator for a month or more.