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Venison sausage is a firmly established tradition in Texas where deer are abundant. The blends of meats and spices and other know-how are often unique to each sausage maker, and often to each batch of sausage.
A couple of Texas Co-op Power readers shared their wisdom about the sausage-making process:
Ken Loth, who lives in Fredericksburg and is an account manager for Texas Electric Cooperatives’ Manufacturing and Distribution Services Division, wrote that making sausage with his brothers, Rick and Bob (who is the CEO of Central Texas Electric Cooperative), is a special time of brotherly bonding.
“I started making sausage 23 years ago when I met my wife,” wrote Ken. “Her family had been making sausage for generations already. I took what I learned from them and shared the recipe with my two brothers. … Although we all live in the same area, it is not that often we all three get together, but at least one day a year we all meet to make sausage.
“Between Bob’s grinding advice, Rick’s tying strategy and my overall stuffing talents, there is a lot of, let’s say, ‘how I would do it.’ Sometimes I think the sausage is so good not only because of what’s in it but what goes into making it.”
Smoking sausage used to be a way to preserve it. But with refrigeration, smoking has become more of a way to add flavor, said Sunset resident Allen Krejci, a member of Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative.
Here’s how his smoking process works: “We use a 6-foot by 6-foot by 8-foot-high tin smokehouse and use split mesquite for the fire,” he said.
Two small fires, made of mesquite pieces about the thickness of a broomstick, are kindled. The sausage links are hung on 6-foot sticks, which are themselves hung on an overhead rack. It smokes for 2 to 2 1/2 hours at 150-170 degrees.
You “cool the smoked sausage and then vacuum pack,” Krejci said. “Freeze, and you will have good eating for a long time.”