DRIFTWOOD OUTDOORS: Online class teaches how to turn ground venison into sausage and meals

Brandon Butler, bbutler@driftwoodoutdoors.com
Driftwood Outdoors
Ground venison is great as sausage or in spiced dishes. Learn how with a MDC online course, Dec. 14.Pic: Ground venison is great as sausage or in spiced dishes. Learn how with a MDC online course, Dec. 14.

If you have been fortunate to harvest a deer or two this year, then your freezer is likely filled with venison. Some households are home to numerous hunters, and the number of deer harvested could be much higher. If you’re of the good fortune to have an excess supply of venison, figuring out what to do with all the meat can be an issue. The Missouri Department of Conservation is hoping to help by offering an online sausage making class on Monday, December 14 from 6-7 p.m.

Summer sausage is staple snack of hunters through the year. Nothing beats a piece of venison sausage with cheese and a cracker while fishing in the summer. Knowing how to make a good summer sausage elevates your credibility as a sportsman. Everyone likes the guy or gal passing out the good stuff. Learning how to make your own sausage is not difficult. With instruction from a free, online class MDC is offering, you could be making sausage this winter.

The class is called Venison Burger and Sausage Making. According to an MDC press release, it will take deer hunters through the step-by-step process needed to process fresh venison into ready-to-eat delicacies. Sausage isn’t the only dish the class will teach you how to make. The instructors will also go through how to make spaghetti sauce, chili, tacos, sloppy Joes, and casseroles.

Chef Johnny Graham, of Revel Catering and Events, said, “Ground venison is a versatile meat can be substituted for beef or pork in all the tried and true favorites, or it can be experimented with in creating unique sausages and dishes that will impress your family and friends.”

Over the years, I have butchered many of my own deer, but must admit lately I have found the ease and accessibility of local processors to be a route too convenient to ignore. I especially like supporting the meat processors who participate in the Share the Harvest program. I have tried a lot of different sausages, jerky and snack sticks. I can’t say I’ve ever had a bad batch, but some are certainly better than others. The absolute best wild game sausages I have ever had were made by my friend, Steve Jones.

Jones turns venison into a delicacy no matter how he prepares it. He runs a website called Killer Noms (www.killernoms.com), where he gives away his secrets for free. His recipes for venison lasagna, corned venison hash and venison breakfast sausage are just a few you should checkout. I know this column is about venison, but turkey season will be here before we know, so you should check out his recipe for wild turkey bratwursts. I swear, you will be amazed at how good these are.

Venison is lean and healthy. It is a great meat no matter how you cook it, but for family and friends not used to eating wild game, some of whom may be apprehensive to the idea of doing so, using ground venison in a spiced dish, like sausage, spaghetti or tacos, is a perfect way to introduce them to the experience of eating meat harvested from the field. Once they do, and find the dish or sausage to be of excellent taste and quality, maybe they’ll see hunting in a different light. And if things go really well, maybe the dish you serve will be the catalyst for developing a new hunter.

The venison is self-explanatory for acquiring. That’s on you as a hunter, but you’re also going to need some tools and supplies. Putting together the right spices can be a challenge. A company I have used in the past that has great products for wild game is Hi Mountain Seasonings. For tools, I have always turned to Weston. Products from both of these companies are easy to find online and in most sporting goods retailers.

Venison Burger and Sausage Making is a free online program, but advanced online registration is required at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/Zb2 for each person attending. Attendees will receive an invitation by email from the MDC Event Management System with a WebEx program link 24 hours before the program, as well as any important program information. If you do not see this email, please check your spam/junk mail.

See you down the trail…

For more Driftwood Outdoors, check out the podcast on www.driftwoodoutdoors.com or anywhere podcasts are streamed.