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Smoking Venison Summer Sausage
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5 from 1 vote

Smoking Venison Summer Sausage

Venison summer sausage can be made in a variety of ways, but the one thing that remains constant is how delicious it tastes when smoked correctly. My family waits all year to have that first bite of melt-in-your-mouth goodness that can only be found in tender venison sausage.

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time6 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Summer Sausage
Servings: 1
Calories: 368kcal


  • Meat grinder
  • Meat mixer 
  • Casings of your choice
  • Sausage stuffer
  • Woodchips (hickory preferred)
  • Smoker


  • 6


    Coarse ground venison

  • 4

    Pounds Pork trimmings (fatty butt or shoulder works best)

  • ¾ 


    + 1 tablespoon low fat cultured buttermilk (for fermenting)

  • 4


    + 2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2

    Tablespoon Whole mustard seed

  • 3

    Tablespoon Coarsely ground black pepper

  • 4



  • 1

    Tablespoon Garlic powder

  • 1

    Tablespoon Onion powder

Optional additions:

  • 2

    Tablespoon Paprika

  • 1

    Teaspoon Ground marjoram

  • ¼

    Teaspoon Ground ginger

  • ¼

    Teaspoon Ground coriander

  • 1

    Teaspoon Monosodium glutamate


  • Cut your venison into 1” cubes and freeze for 40 minutes to firm it up first (this makes it easier to handle).

  • Once cold, combine it with the pork trimmings and then grind them together very coarsely (use the coarse plate). 

  • Since the meat isn’t cured yet, it’s very important to make sure it stays cold through all of the initial processes.

  • Add all of the ingredients above to the ground venison.

  • Mix by hand or with the meat mixer. Do this until the ingredients are mostly incorporated into the meat.

  • The meat needs to be grinded together again to really combine the flavors.

  • For a drier summer sausage, use the coarse plate once again.

  • If you want a juicier sausage, use a finer grind plate this time.

  • Keeping the meat cold, stuff into synthetic or fibrous casings that are 2-3 inches in diameter.

  • Don’t skimp on this part! The stuffed casings should feel tight, but not ready to bust.

  • Under-filled casings will not turn out correctly.

  • Store stuffed casings in the refrigerator for up to three days (but at least overnight). 

  • The sharp “tang” of the summer sausage will increase the longer it is refrigerated.

  • Personally, I let mine sit for 2.5 days to achieve a nice flavor profile.

  • Don’t let the temperature get below freezing (~34 degrees f) or the fermentation will not take place.

  • Preheat the smoker to 120°F. Hang or lay fermented sausage on smoker racks, making sure they do not touch.

  • Allow to dry for one hour with damper wide open at this temperature.

  • Add wood chips to the wood pan, close damper ¾ of the way, and increase the smoker temperature to 150°F for four hours.

  • Add water to the pan and increase temperature to no more than 170°F for the rest of the cooking process.

  • Continue to add woodchips as necessary to generate smoke for three to ten hours more hours.

  • The length of time you leave it smoking will determine the “smokiness” of the final product. 

  • Sausage is finished when internal temperature reaches 155°F.

  • Overcooked sausage will taste very dry and crumbly.

  • After reaching 155 degrees, dunk the sausage into ice cold water to stop the cooking process.

  • Once the internal temperature drops to 100°F, you can move on to the next step.

  • Dry the outside of the sausage with a towel and then allow to air dry at room temperature.

  • The sausage will reach optimum color after a few hours.

  • Eat immediately, or wrap in aluminum foil and butcher paper so it will stay fresh in the freezer for up to three months.


Serving: 139g | Calories: 368kcal