It’s common practice to pair wild game with the same ingredients that animal liked to eat. The prominent sage flavor of antelope garners some complaints, but I think it’s delicious. Instead of masking it’s character, try enhancing pronghorn by infusing it with fresh herbs, sweet apple, and savory onions inside of a sausage.
If ever there were a quintessentially fall-flavored sausage, this is it. Grill and serve these with a side of sweet potatoes and cabbage for a full meal. Or, get creative and add it to a variety of other recipes that call for sausage.
- 4 pounds antelope
- 1 pound pork fatback (25-35% fat ratio)
- 10 feet fresh hog casings (32-35 mm in diameter)
- 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1/2 tsp. cooking oil
- 1 tbsp. fresh sage, minced
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, minced
- 1 tsp. fresh rosemary, minced
- 1/2 tsp. celery seed
- 3 tbsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups apple, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup apple cider, chilled
Also works with
- Prepare the meat and fat by chopping into small cubes. Try to remove excess sinew and silverskin to keep it from gumming up the auger when grinding. Pure pork fatback is the best option, but pork butt will also work. Weigh out roughly 3 ½ to 4 pounds of antelope meat, and just over a pound of fatback, or until you get the desired 25-30% ratio of fat to meat. Spread the meat across a metal sheet tray or place inside a metal bowl and transfer to the freezer to chill. You want the meat to be very cold, not quite frozen, but with a crunchy texture. In addition to chilling the meat, it’s best to place the blade, auger, and grinder plate inside the freezer as well.
- While the meat is chilling, prepare the other ingredients. Heat the cooking oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent. Measure out roughly 1 1/3 cups of onion and transfer to a tray or bowl. Place this inside the freezer to chill. You can also measure out the apple cider and place it in the freezer at this time. Again, you don’t want anything to freeze solid, but you need to make sure everything is very cold.
- Mince the fresh herbs and pack them into measuring spoons to get the proper amount. Mix the salt and herbs in a small bowl to combine.
- Prepare the casings according to package instructions if using dried intestines. Either dried or fresh should be soaked in lukewarm water for at least 10 to 20 minutes. Additionally, hold the casings under running water to flush the insides. They should be pliable and odor free. Thread the casing onto the feeding tube of your sausage stuffer. Tie a knot at one end and prick with a needle to release air.
- Remove all the ingredients from the freezer and set up your grinder according to the manufacturer’s instruction. If your meat is cut into 1-inch cubes, you can grind once using the small die. If the cubed meat is in larger chunks, you’ll need to start grinding using a plate with large holes, then grind again using the smaller. Fill a tub with ice and place a large bowl inside (or the bowl that attaches to a standing mixer if you have one) to keep it cool after grinding.
- In a large container, mix the meat, fat, herbs, and the sautéed onion together and grind into the bowl set over ice.
- The next step is to create the bind. A standing mixer with paddle attachment works great for this, but you can also use your hands or spatula. Fold the diced apple into the meat mixture and slowly mix to combine. Slowly pour in the chilled apple cider to help emulsify the sausage. The mixture should be tacky to the touch, not crumbly.
- Pack the bind into the canister of your sausage stuffer. Slowly extrude the meat into the casings. Don’t overstuff. When finished, tie off the end with another knot.
- Create links by pinching in 8-10” intervals, twisting every other link down the entire length of the sausage until finished. Prick any air pockets with a needle.
- For best results, place the finished links on a tray inside the fridge uncovered. Drying them out for up to a day will help the casings set and create a crispy texture when cooked. Use scissors to cut the links apart when ready to cook.
- Cook the sausage as desired by either pan frying, grilling, or smoking until they reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees.