I frequently get asked for a tried-and-true venison breakfast sausage recipe; the kind of recipe that works with other wild game and can be used in gravy, next to pancakes, or on an egg sandwich. This is the most versatile venison breakfast sausage that I make. What’s great about this foundational recipe is that it can be easily tweaked.
Don’t have fresh herbs? Instead of fresh sage and fresh thyme, use 2 teaspoons of dried sage and 1 teaspoon of dried thyme. Don’t have venison? This also works with hog, bear, goose, or turkey.
Want it sweeter? Drop the brown sugar from the spice blend and add 1 ½ tablespoons of maple syrup after grinding the meat. Want it spicier? Add another ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes.
Making breakfast links? To create a bind, add ¼ cup of apple juice or water to the mixture, or enough that the meat gets tacky. Stuff the sausage into casings and twist every 4 inches. Making crépinettes? Wrap sausage patties in caul fat and cook over medium heat until the fat melts. The fat will take a little time to render, but don’t let it go for too long and burn.
2 1/2 pounds
Time to make
1 3/4 lbs. venison, ground
3/4 lb. pork fatback * See Notes
1 ½ tbsp. kosher salt
2 tbsp. fresh sage, finely chopped
½ tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. brown sugar
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
Also works with
- Chop the pork fatback and meat into 2-inch pieces. Use any tough cut, such as the bottom round, neck meat, or shoulder.
- Mix the salt, herbs, garlic, black pepper, red pepper, sugar, and cloves. Sprinkle the spices across the meat and mix thoroughly.
- Spread the seasoned meat across a metal sheet tray or in a metal bowl. Stick it in the freezer for 30 minutes to chill. The texture should be a little crunchy, but not frozen solid.
- Using the coarse die on your meat grinder, grind the meat into a chilled bowl (I set a smaller bowl inside of a bigger bowl containing ice). If at any point the mixture begins to smear or come out of the grinder mushy, it’s too warm. Transfer the meat back to the freezer for another 30 minutes.
- After the first pass, switch out the coarse grinding plate for the plate with a fine die and grind again. Or, if your meat is sliced into smaller cubes, you can grind it just once through the small die.
- At this point, you have loose sausage that can be cooked as is or formed into small patties. Eat the fresh sausage within a week, or freeze patties in between sheets of parchment paper.
*Note: This is sausage has an 70/30 ratio of venison to pork fat. For a leaner sausage with an 80/20 ratio, use 2 pounds of venison, and 1/2 pound of pork fat.