Sausage links are always a big hit around our house or deer camp. These are made with a combination of venison, pork butt, and bacon for a nice sausage consistency and slightly smoky flavor.
Since all of us like to dip our links in pancake syrup during Sunday morning breakfasts, we added a cup of syrup to the recipe for a hint of maple sweetness.
While the process is fairly simple, it does take some equipment. A grinder is a must, as is a sausage stuffer or jerky gun. You will need casings of some sort, we use 21mm collagen casings, but natural 19-21mm sheep casings will work as well. If your local butcher shop doesn’t stock casings, there are multiple online retailers that do. I learned a long time ago that a meat mixer is worth its weight in gold when blending sausage, but it isn’t really necessary, you can blend the seasonings well enough by hand, it just takes a while.
There are probably as many ways to link sausage as there are sausage varieties themselves, but I have settled on the method shown in this Weston video as the one that I generally use. Perhaps the most important tip I can offer when it comes to stuffing link sausage of any kind is to not overfill your casings. A properly stuffed casing will look thin, with visible wrinkles in the casing around the meat before twisting. Trust me when I tell you that the casing will tighten up as you twist the links. Casings that are stuffed full will almost always burst when twisted.
For 10 pounds of breakfast links
6 pounds venison
trimmed and chunked
3 pounds of pork butt cut into chunks
1 pound of bacon diced
1 cup maple syrup
1 cup ice water
21mm collagen or natural casings
Seasoning bend (mix well)
3 Tablespoons kosher salt
3 Tablespoons black pepper
3 Tablespoons ground sage
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (more to taste if you like it spicy)
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Begin by grinding the meat. I like to run the meat through at the correct ratio, but everything will be mixed well by the time the seasonings are blended in.
Once the meat is ground, blend in the spice blend, the ice water and the syrup. Blend everything well and load into the sausage stuffer or jerky gun. Fill the casings loosely. I leave my casings untied at both ends until the links are twisted in case I need to adjust the amount of meat inside when I get to the end of the linking process. Keep the casing lengths to around four feet or less to make them easier to twist and tie.
Once the casings are filled, begin by bending to form two equal lengths. Pinch the center and twist a couple of times. Move down three to four inches on the casing and pinch both sides, twisting the two together. Pull one section of the running end of the casing through the loop that was formed and bring it back down. Move down and twist another loop, running the opposite trailing end through this one. Continue until you reach the end of the casings and tie off the running ends with overhand knots.
Vacuum seal the links then freeze for maximum storage time.
There’s work to do after the trigger is pulled, but the cleaning and the cooking can be fun as the hunt itself. Timber 2 Table is where Realtree’s experts will teach you to skin a squirrel in 1 minute, cape a buck for the wall, grill a delectable wild turkey popper and so much more.