Food Fight Friday: Charcuterie Edition

In 2012, I became somewhat obsessed with ham and sausage-making, and I don't see this trend slowing down any in the coming year. Part of the reason for my interest in all things cured, smoked, or salted can be traced to a Christmas gift I got from T. Rebel in 2011--the great meat-eater's bible "Charcuterie" by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn.

I can't put it any more succinctly than Wild Chef reader and this week's Food Fight contestant Shawn McCardell does when he says, "If F&S readers don't already have this book I cannot recommend it enough."

David's Axis Knackwurst and Kraut

Just before Christmas I set an entire weekend aside just for making sausage. It was kind of a freezer clean-out session and I ended up with five pounds each of merguez, kielbasa, Italian sausage, and this knackwurst--all made of scraps from a couple of free-range axis deer I killed last summer. Of the four sausage, the firm, spicy knackwurst is definitely my current favorite, and for the last week or so I've been eating it cold, sliced on crackers and, as seen here, poached and set over a batch of my sister's homemade sauerkraut.

Shawn McCardell's Corned Venison

I pickled this for seven days in a salt-sugar-water-pickling spice solution from a recipe in my favorite book Charcuterie. I simmered my corned venison for about five hours in a pot just large enough to hold it, covered in water. I boiled some potatoes in another pot and decided to throw in a side of Brussels sprouts, with homemade bacon. I boiled the sprouts in the reserved liquid from the corned venison for about five minutes and threw them in the pan with the cooked bacon and scallops for another five minutes. Although this dish took over a week to pull together, there wasn't much effort to it.

Don't forget. We'd love to see what you've been cooking. Send in your favorite fish or wild game food photos to fswildchef@gmail.com.