Elk Beer Brats
We decided to do our own food for our wedding since we’re hunters, that means gourmet game. I’ve never made sausage before, but they came out pretty good aside from being a little too fine in texture. We used a Hi-Country kit for brats and replaced the water for Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo Double IPA. You can get kits here: http://shop.hicountry.com/dinner-style-sausage-kits-p21.aspx
If you’re trying to do it sans kit, you’ll need either hog casings or synthetic casings. The kit includes hog casings, which I’ll warn you now, smell awful. You need to soak them overnight to soften them up.
This is the most unappealing part of the whole process, but rubber gloves are nice to keep the stink off. Once the casings were prepped, we had to trim off some junky pieces of our 2012 elk (we wanted to practice on less quality meat). Anyhow, we ended up with a perfect mix of 18lbs elk and 12lbs pork fat (usually 50/50 fat to meat ratio) to make a round 30lbs of sausage. After grinding, we mixed in the spice mix (no cure required since these will be frozen and grilled) and the beer into the meat mixture. It helps to try and grind the meat and fat in equal amounts to get an even consistency. Once you’ve ground the meat once, send it through another time with the extruder tip on your grinder. We found that we just needed to use the coarse grinder plate, or the consistency was a little too fine. It’s best to have at least 2 people; one to feed the grinder and one to control the casing fill. I found that slight pressure to the auto-fill rate was about perfect. You don’t want it completely full because you need to twist the length into links. We only had a couple blow outs, but we used them for taste-testers.
The flavor was spot on, so we set aside half the batch (30 links) for our wedding. We’re still going to make more flavors, so they may not actually be up to snuff for the wedding, but so far they’ll do.
Our next experiment will be a deer and rabbit sausage that we’ve seen on the menu at one of Taos’ finest restaurants for over $20.