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.