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Christmas Break – 85 lbs Venison Ground; Four Kinds of Deer Sausages and a Pork Boudin Bonus I have not posted much lately as I have had back to back work related travel and then needed to deal with some family matters also out of town. As part of the out of town travel, I spent some time in New Orleans area with my brother and he asked me to bring my meat grinder and I decided that my basic sausage making equipment would also go along for the ride. My LEM Big Bite #12 grinder was perfect for the upcoming task. Let's Start With A Bit of Venison to Grind Why … well he had 85 pounds of trimmed and cubed venison in the freezer that he wanted ground. We partially thawed the meat in a large ice chest for several days to a workable level of thaw/frozen state. We did a single grind on a 3/16 plate with 40 lbs. Then double ground the remaining 45 pounds. Of the double grind we further ground 5 lbs through a 1/8 plate as my brother wanted some very fine grind to use as an element in tacos. All the ground meat was stuffed into commercial bulk plastic meat bags at 1.5 lbs per chub (about 47 of them) and tape sealed. I found we could get roughly 1.5 lbs in the nominal one pound meat bag chub. It was a good thing I had bulk pork/beef meat storage bags on hand or we would have killed the vacuum sealer machine. A Sampler of Some of the 85 lbs Frozen Trimmed Louisiana Harvested Venison (It may look it in the photo but it was not freezer burned) A Growing Mountain of Ground Deer Meat A Few Chubs Already in the Chest Freezer To assist the filling of the chubs I used a piece of 2 in PVC pipe and a plunger made from 1 1/4 PVC in with a cap – no need to glue the cap. Load the 2 in pipe with meat and tamp it. Slide the plastic bulk meat bag over the end, push the meat into the bag. Bingo! Then compress the bag, top off with an appropriate ball of extra meat to the final fill level, compress again, twist and seal. Simple and quite effective. Having a couple of the 2 in lengths handy works well as the person filling the “magazines” can always have one ready for the bag handling person. An 11 inch length of the 2 inch is about 1 pound. You could make a longer length (say 17 inches) to size for 1.5 lbs but it might get awkward to use. Chub Loader & Tape Sealer Onward to Sausage Making Time Now in the process of grinding the venison, the subject of sausage came up. Who would have guessed that? So about 18 lbs total of the single/double grind was set aside for sausage. With that we made four different venison based sausages adding in an appropriate amount of bacon. The bacon in the mix when ground adds the fat element and some pork meat and is easy to find and work with. We used roughly 4.5 lbs deer to 2 lbs bacon. Next time I would probably use 1 lb ground pork butt and 1 lb bacon to add some extra pork meat in the mix. We made in about equal batches of 6.5 pounds each: #1- Breakfast Sausage (bulk packed in 1 lb chubs) - The test fry. #2- Roasted Garlic, Mushroom & Sweet Onion (cased) #3- Hot Italian (cased) #4-Sweet Italian (cased) It was a bit of a marathon event spread over a couple of days with one day for grinding and the next for the sausage particularly since I did not bring my 5 lb hand crank sausage stuffer machine and only had with me my home made 1 lb at a time caulking gun stuffer - which did an admiral job (this: http://www.kamadoguru.com/topic/19891-the-homemade-smokehowze-caulking-gun-sausage-stuffer/#entry260655.) I did not know we were going to be making this much sausage and I was short on room in the truck. We did do one mod to the stuffer which was to add a simple spring loaded air bleed valve on the end of the point where the stuffing tube attaches.This permits one bleed out trapped air when inserting a the filled tubes of meat in the gun. Air Bleed Valve Modification O Ring Seal But wait there is more And then the rains came, so the following weekend another even more intense multi-day marathon ensued as we made two separate 22 plus pound versions of pork based Louisiana boudin for a total of 45 lbs of links and some bulk also. Another marathon of sausage making especially because of the preparation time involved for each batch with the 18 lbs of the mixed meats to be cooked, the massive amounts green onions, parsley, and sweet bell peppers plus garlic to be hand chopped, and the 34 cooked cups of rice to fix. But since it was storming the whole time and no good reason to be outside, why not? Boudin Sausage - Ready to Poach - (we used the crawfish boiling pot with the basket insert) Boudin After Poaching and Cooling - Heated Gently in the Microwave and Ready to Eat And I know you are thinking it... yes, an ice chest full of the ground venison and a sampling of the sausages went home with me. I feel a pot of chili in the making for New Years and maybe a sausage appetizer plate......Yummmm.