Contributors to this thread:
Elk Sausage Seasoning
Just got back from a late season cow elk hunt and refuse to pay the ridiculous rising cost of processing so I’ll be doing it myself. I’ve done several in the past with decent results in sausage but I know it can be better. What is your favorite brand of seasoning? What ratio of pork/pork fat do you prefer? Thanks in advance.
I like 15% fat and use LEM seasonings
I go with 30% pork fat. Fat means flavor! And I, too, like the LEM seasonings but have developed my own recipes for Breakfast, italian, hot links, and chorizo.
Leggs Old Plantation seasoning.
No kidding on the rising cost of processing. Same goes for any other service out there. The nerve of some people that want a good paycheck...
I have to laugh whenever someone mentions the rising cost of processing. Those same people spend thousands of dollars on tags, vehicles, bows, arrows, broadheads, boots, packs, clothes, etc. All for a mere chance of killing an animal. The processing is actually the cheapest expense.
Other than that, Leggs old plantation is some of the best. Use at least 16-20 percent pork fat and that’s on the leaner side. If using pork meat then a 60/40 blend is good. 60 percent WG and 40 percent pork. Also, if you do this blend then you can add pork fat to it as well if needed. I recommend the hot blend from Leggs or the medium.
We add seasonings at time of cooking. Made sausage this morning by adding legs old plantation seasonings, sage & red pepper to a 80/20 blend of venison & pork shoulder.
This is our everything blend. We use this for both a ground beef substitute & sausage with seasonings added at time of cooking.
We also grind plain for certain meals, but the pork blend is our favorite.
If fat means flavor I’m cooking bacon. Ha!
What kinda sausage are you trying to make? No need to buy pre-mixed seasoning just made 20lb of sausage using one of Hank Shaws recipes.
Thanks for the info guys. As for the processor comment I have nothing against guys who are processing for a living. I understand the price increases we’ve experienced over the years are in direct correlation with inflation. I agree you gotta make a living. The last elk I took to a processor was $800.00. I had some sausage and brats made but not a ton. For me, I just can’t justify spending that much when I can do it myself. I’m sure plenty of people would but not this guy. And I have some time off so figured it would be a good way to spend some time with the kids helping out. Thanks again.
^^^ I apologize. I was just being petty.
I agree with the Leggs brand seasoning. btw it's not "Old Plantation " anymore. The new, PC branding is just Leggs Sausage Seasoning.
We buy seasonings from a butcher we like. 50/50 for us, we eat plenty of lean game meat, sausage needs the fat.
$800 is pretty high! The only ones I’ve charged that much for is basic processing then every bit of the grind was turned into 4 different flavors of jerky, two types of summer sausage, 2 types of brats, and snack sticks. It was from a big bull and had well over 100 lbs of grind. Had another one where the whole bull was turned into ground and pressed jerky. That one was over 1k. Those are two extreme examples and I warned them about the cost. Most elk I did averaged anywhere from $200-$400. All depending on the weight of the animal. Extras always cost more.
Good luck on your processing and I would be more than happy to answer any questions.
Google.....curleys sausage kitchen. The have about any sausage blend one can think of.
I’ve been using Backwoods for summer sausage and Old Plantation for breakfast. 20% pork fat but it’s hard for me to find so I often use beef fat. I’ve used bacon ends also. I started adding some fresh jalapenos to mine for added spice. In addition to saving money I enjoy doing it. Butcherboy is a good dude and has been a big help to me. Happy New Year y’all !!!
"I agree with the Leggs brand seasoning. btw it's not "Old Plantation " anymore. The new, PC branding is just Leggs Sausage Seasoning."
Ok, so I’m definitely leaning towards using natural hog casing for brats and breakfast links. What are pros and cons of natural vs collagen?
Natural - short, around 4 to 6 feet long. Have to "reload" more often.
Collagen - can tear easier.
My preference are natural. Has more of a crisp "crunch" or "snap" when eaten.
HDE that's interesting. The last couple of years we've seen packages without the "Old Plantation ". Same product.
“My preference are natural. Has more of a crisp "crunch" or "snap" when eaten.“
Ok good to know. That’s what I figured.
“HDE that's interesting. The last couple of years we've seen packages without the "Old Plantation ". Same product.“
Looking online they all say “Old Plantation” on the packaging label still. Maybe just old stock photos?
Natural casings will have a slight curl to them and collagen will produce a straight link. I prefer natural, I think they hold up better on the grill.
I use a lot of P&S seasoning mixes for jerky and summer sausage and snack sticks. The Willy's and Honey/BBQ snack sticks will not disappoint. The jerky is not too salty like some other brands. Another favorite is the bratwurst seasoning that I add my own Jalapeno and cheddar cheese to.
If I buy high temp cheese, I usually get it from LEM in a larger amount with a sale or coupon code.
Ok thanks btnbuck. Good to know on the cheese. I love jalapeño cheddar brats.
Another vote for Curley's Sausage Kitchen. He's local for me and just a great guy.
I mix 50/50 venison/ground pork for pretty much everything sausage.
I use Leggs primarily for breakfast sausage, summer sausage, snack sticks, and Italian. I have other companies I use for other sausages and ham, bacon, roast beef, pastrami type things.
Natural casings are more durable and give the sausage that snap. They have to be stored in a vacuum bag in a salt brine or kept in the freezer and should be rinsed before they are used. Collagen casings are thinner, longer and don’t have to be stored in a brine or the freezer. They can be pulled right out of the box or bag and used dry. Collagen is easier to use for a commercial plant. Natural is great for small batches. I rarely break any collagen casings when cooking but they will break if they are cooked too long at a high temp. There are also other natural casings like sheep, hog, beef and are used for certain types and sizes of sausage.
Sorry I am late to the conversation, but butcherboy hit it right on the nail head in every post. Couldn't have said it better myself.
Bohunr, at least you got here. ;)
We buy pork shoulders on sale (usually .99/lb) and grind and mix with our wild game at a 50/50 ratio. We've been doing this for a number of years now and everyone loves the final product. Some people question what we do, but it certainly works for us. For sausage, we usually use 100% pork, although we occasionally make it out of the 50/50 wild game and pork. The all pork sausage is preferred but there is nothing wrong with the 50/50 mix sausage.
when you guys grind your own sausage meat what size plate are you using and do you do a single or double grind. I have always done a single grind and the texture is good but maybe it can be improved by double grinding.
We always double grind. For sausage, we run it twice through the bigger plate. For ground meat, we do once through the big plate and the second through the smaller holes.
I will also add that, when making sausage, we chop up both the game and pork into pieces that we feel our grinder will easily handle. At that point, we season the meat, give it a good mix and then refrigerate for a day. The next day, we then run the seasoned meat through the grinder (twice) and then bag or case.
I do the same as Ccity65 cube all the meat then add the seasoning before grinding. I've tried several things beef fat, pork back fat, and pork shoulder in different ratios and have settled on a 60/40 pork shoulder mix. My grinder came with 3 plates not sure of the diameter but I run it through twice once with the large and again with the mid sized for sausage. Use natural casings for brats, links, smoked sausage, collagen casings for snack sticks, and the fibrous casings for summer sausage.
I grind twice. First time through a 3/8” plate then through a 3/16” plate. Season most sausages as cubed meat before the first grind. Snack sticks and summer sausage are seasoned after the first coarse grind then ground through the 3/16” plate at least two more times. Breakfast sausage, brats, Italian, chorizo, etc are only ground twice. Once coarse and once fine then into the stuffer. Here are a few pics of different seasonings I use, casing, grinder plates and stuffer.
I usually make brats, summer sausage, breakfast sausage, venison bacon, sticks and jerky as well as just burger. For the burger i do some just all venison for tacos, chili etc. and then do patty's that are a mix of ground bacon and venison. The bacon is ends and pieces we get from Nueskes for a real reasonable price not far from here. I get a lot of compliments on the bacon burgers. From reading above i am defiantly going to do a double grind. Thanks, Buther boy for suggesting the plate sizes.
Would you guys also suggest double grinding the burger as well?
It's nice to be able to come on here and share ideas.
Thanks fuzzy! We have cut a lot of meat over the years that’s for dang sure.
I've found that 25% pork fat is just right for me. I usually use recipes from a couple of sausage making cookbooks. I don't usually use store bought unless I'm making summer sausage. As to the grind, I will grind twice if using large and small plates. But, I bought a medium plate that seems to do alright without the second grind. I do not grind and stuff or package in the same session (except summer sausage with cure) but let the seasoned mix rest in the refrigerator for a couple of days to blend the seasonings stirring occasionally to be sure it's well mixed. The only thing that I just can't seem to do are the snack sticks.
Gary, yes I recommend double grinding for burger as well. I know quite a few guys don’t. The only time I wouldn’t double grind is if I had a grinder that had multiple plates and blades so the meat could go through one pass starting as cubed meat and ending in a fine grind. Basically, that’s still a double grind. Some machines have 3 plates and 3 blades.
I double grind sausage and burger same as butcherboy. Chorizo I grind, dry season, grind fine, wet season and grind fine again.
I double grind everything except my chilli meat I like a coarser grind for it. While I like pork shoulder for sausage I prefer beef fat in a 10%-15% ratio for my grind. Just made 19lb of javelina chorizo.
As others have said I rarely add just fat I use whole pork butts
Nice shop Chad. Thanks to everyone for the input. Will put it to good use.
I’ve seriously thought about doing a step by step tutorial about meat processing and making specialty items for Bowsite. Kinda like Dennis Razza has done with taxidermy. Makes it hard to do though since I rarely cut WG anymore.
Butcherboy, I wish I was closer to you. I have about 40 pounds of frozen, neatly trimmed mule deer grind meat I would love to see you do a tutorial on. My sausage efforts have been less than stellar in the past, so I usually just do burger with 15% bacon in it. I hope to give jalapeño brats and snack sticks another try in the near future.
Thanks for all the tips and advice guys. We had fun experimenting with different flavors, blends etc. Everything turned out great.
I switched to Walton's seasonings and so far have really enjoyed everything I've made from venison and wild hog. They have a message board and how to video's that are great.