Easy homemade venison breakfast sausage patties made from ground venison and pork fat, and a unique herb and spice seasoning blend. This spin on country sausage is smoked over oakwood for the perfect balance of gamey, smoky and sweet flavors.
If you’re a fan of smoked meats and breakfast foods, you’ll love smoked venison breakfast sausage. This delicious sausage – made from ground venison, seasoned with a blend of herbs, and then smoked to perfection – is the ideal way to kick-start your morning.
Discover just how simple it is to make your own smoked venison breakfast sausage. Learn how to grind your own venison, season it to complement its gamey flavor, and cook it in the smoker. Here’s how to make venison breakfast sausage.
Easy Venison Breakfast Sausage Patties
These smoked venison breakfast sausages, made from seasoned ground venison and formed into patties or link sausages, boast a mouth-wateringly rich flavor.
Venison is a very lean game meat, so you need to add extra fat into the recipe to make a good textured and flavored sausage.
Both deer neck and deer shoulder are great for making the ground venison mix for your sausage meat. They both feature a good deal of connective tissue which, when smoked low and slow, renders down nicely to provide a tender and juicy flavor. They’re also both lean meat cuts, meaning that you can control the amount of fat going into your sausage, helping keep to the right meat-to-fat ratio needed for homemade breakfast sausage.
Making the Venison Sausage Mix
The key to good sausage of any kind lies in the preparation of the sausage mix. This mix can be used to make sausage patties or sausage links.
Ground venison can be bought directly from your local butcher, but making your own ensures the best mix for your sausage. Plus, you can use up any venison trimmings you may have from other recipes.
Your ground venison mix needs added fat to keep the sausage mixture moist during smoking. Adding pork back fat to your grinding mix is a fantastic way to do that, and the flavors complement each other well.
Game meat, like venison, is extremely lean. For a balanced texture and flavor in your sausage, aim for a protein-to-fat ratio of around 70/30.
The easiest way to ensure an accurate ratio for your sausage mix is by weighing your meat and fat. Our recipe below calls for 3 lbs of ground sausage meat, so you’d want to weigh 2 lbs of venison and 1 lb of pork back fat to make your own 70/30 mix.
In addition to venison and pork fat, your smoked venison breakfast sausage will require a few other ingredients to enhance the overall taste.
Some of the most commonly added ingredients are:
- Kosher Salt: Salt is essential for seasoning the sausage and enhancing the flavor of the meat.
- Fresh Herbs: Fresh sage and thyme are popular herbs to use in smoked venison breakfast sausage. They add a fragrant, earthy flavor that complements the meat.
- Crushed Garlic: Garlic adds some savory flavor to the sausage
- Brown Sugar: Brown sugar helps to add some sweetness that goes well with the smoked flavor.
- Black Pepper: Black pepper adds mild heat and depth of flavor to the sausage.
Grinding the Meat
The best way to make your ground meat at home is by using a meat grinder. This is an especially handy bit of kit to have if you like to experiment with recipes such as burgers, meatballs, and others that use a ground meat base.
- Put your venison and pork fat in the freezer. They don’t need to be frozen solid, just firm enough for easy chopping into cubes. Around 30 minutes in the freezer should be enough.
- If your meat grinder has been broken down into pieces to chill in the freezer, remove and reassemble them so that the grinder is ready to process the meat.
- Remove your meat/fat from the freezer and set on your chopping board, carefully cut it into 1-inch cubes using a sharp knife.
- Run the meat through the grinder twice: First with the coarse disc and then with a finer disc. Doing this means your mix will have a better consistency for making sausage patties or links.
If you don’t have access to a meat grinder, it’s also easy to make your own ground sausage meat at home by using a food processor. You can follow the same steps as above with regards to chilling and cutting the meat, then separate the cubes into small batches and pulse them in the food processor until they are evenly chopped. Check the consistency between each pulse, as you don’t want to overwork the meat.
Top Tip: When grinding meat, ensure the processed mixture remains cold to avoid the temperature ‘danger zone‘.
Make sure that your equipment is cold before using it. Take apart all the pieces of your equipment where possible (with food processors, this might only be the blade attachment) and set them in the freezer for at least one hour before you use them.
Once the meat has been ground, we need to keep it cold before combining it with the rest of our ingredients.
Have a cold bowl prepared to tip your ground meat into once it has been through the food processor. A ‘cold bowl’ can be made by getting two mixing bowls that fit one inside the other, filling the larger bowl with ice, and then nestling the smaller bowl inside.
Using your hands, mix the ground meat with the seasonings. Try not to mash or squeeze the ingredients together; you want to be able to see defined bits of ground venison still.
Forming Into Patties
Grab a small portion of the mixture and form it into a ball; place the ball onto an aluminum tray lined with waxed paper and press down to form your patty shape.
Forming Into Sausage Links
To transform this venison sausage mix into links, you’ll need to add some extra liquid to act as a bind for the mixture. Adding water (or apple juice if you want to give it some sweetness) to the mix until it forms a tacky or slightly sticky consistency.
To make link sausages, you’ll need a sausage stuffer and casings. Natural hog casings are a popular choice for breakfast sausages. Soak the casings in warm water for 30 minutes before using them, then load the sausage stuffer with the meat mixture and attach the casing to the nozzle. Slowly crank the stuffer to fill the casing with the meat mixture, and twist the casing every 4-6 inches to form individual sausages.
Best Wood for Smoking Venison Breakfast Sausage
The best smoke flavor for venison sausage comes from hardwoods like oak, hickory, and walnut. They are a popular choice of wood as they give a nice balanced taste and steady, consistent smoke. If you want to infuse a bit of sweetness and balance out the rich gamey taste of venison, fruit woods such as apple or cherry can be a good choice.
Time & Temperature
Venison must reach an internal temperature of 160℉ (71℃) to be safe to eat.
On a smoker set to at least 225℉ (107℃), it generally takes about 1.5 hours per pound of venison to reach the required internal temperature. However, because we are breaking our mix down into patties weighing about 0.25 lbs each, this time will be cut down to about 50-60 minutes.
The most accurate way to ensure that your smoked venison sausage is fully cooked is by using an instant-read probe thermometer placed directly into the center of the patty or sausage link.
Cooked venison sausage can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days and still be safe to eat. Make sure to follow the standard food safety guidelines and allow it to cool down fully before putting it into an airtight container and refrigerating.
Raw ground venison can be refrigerated for 1-2 days. Ideally, you want to make your sausage meat on the day you plan to cook it.
You can also prepare venison sausage patties in advance and freeze them for later cooking. After making the mixture and forming the patties, wrap them individually in greaseproof paper (or stack with a square of greaseproof paper in between each patty). Store the patties in a freezer bag to protect them from freezer burn, and they should keep for 2-3 months.
Serving & Side Dish Ideas
Smoked venison sausage is versatile, pairing well with almost any breakfast food. You could try the following:
- Serve with scrambled eggs and toast for a classic breakfast meal
- Use the sausage as an ingredient in a breakfast burrito
- Add the sausage to a breakfast hash with potatoes, onions, and peppers
- Go for a sweet and salty combo and pair it with waffles and some maple syrup
- Place a drip tray underneath the patties to catch any fatty run-off while they cook
- Don’t forget to rest the patties before serving. After pulling the venison sausage from the smoker, allow them to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. This will help them keep their shape, moisture and flavor.
- Want a little added flavor? Try adding a little crushed red pepper for heat or a dash of fennel seeds for a little more depth.
Smoked Venison Breakfast Sausage
- Meat grinder
- 2 lbs venison neck or shoulder
- 1 lb pork back fat
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp fresh sage finely chopped finely
- 1 tsp fresh thyme finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- Fire up your smoker to 225℉ (107℃)
- While your smoker preheats, chop venison and pork fat into 1-inch cubes
- Using your meat grinder’s coarse setting, grind the venison and pork fat together. Then, change your grinder to a finer setting and run the meat through again.
- Add the ground venison and pork fat mix to a large bowl. Add the seasoning ingredients. Mix by hand until well combined.
- When fully combined, pinch off a small piece of the mixture and roll it between your hands to form a ball. Flatten the ball to create a patty shape.
- Repeat until you’ve used up all of the mixture. Try to keep the patties to a uniform size.
- Place the patties on the smoker grates
- Leave to smoke to an internal temperature of 160℉ (71℃), about 1 hour
- Pull from smoker and serve immediately