Meat. Lots of Meat

Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Greetings from the Of Woods and Words butcher shop.

Ever since Andy got his buck a week ago Saturday, we've been busy processing venison. I'll spare you the gory details, but there has been much chopping, grinding, freezer wrapping, labeling and dishwashing going on in these parts. The cabin has about 4 square feet of useable counter space, so it's been a juggling act, to say the least. We have some very happy jays and a rather smug looking red fox who are happily gobbling up the scraps we leaves outside.

Thank goodness Andy didn't try to get a second deer with his license this season. While I'd felt we'd gotten a decent amount of meat from last year's doe -- about 20-25 pounds of venison, including sausage-- this buck easily has provided us with twice as much. Between the garden produce we put away in early autumn and the recent venison additions, our chest freezer is nearly brimming at the top and we haven't even finished "SausageFest 2011" yet.  

Speaking of SausageFest 2011, on Saturday evening, Andy and I finished up a batch of Italian sausage. And when I say batch, I mean 21+ pounds of Italian sausage.  Pretty much any bit of useable venison that's not tenderloins, roasts, or round steak, gets ground up for sausage. The ground venison is then mixed 50:50 with ground pork. Because venison is an extremely lean meat, the pork is necessary to "bind" the sausage together. The fact that we ended up with about 20 pounds of ground venison this year means we'll ended up making approximately 40 pounds of sausage. Holy schmoly!

Last year we made a batch (about 8 pounds each) of Italian and breakfast sausage. The Italian sausage was by far the favorite, which is why Andy decided we need to make so very much of it this year. We don't bother putting the sausage in casings, just freeze it in bulk for use in lasanga, spaghetti, and pizza throughout the winter. But 21 lasangas is an awful lot of lasanga. I have a feeling we'll be giving some the sausage away.

And yet, we still have 10 pounds of ground venison that needs to be converted into sausage. I'm thinking a batch of chorizo, maybe a small batch of breakfast sausage, and some jerky. Also does anyone have a good recipe for wild rice venison sausage. Google has totally failed me in my search for a wild rice sausage recipe, yet I know wild rice venison sausage is a standby in many Minnesota households, so if you have a recipe, please do share!  

All this venison must be seeping into my subconscious. Just last night, I dreamed I saw a ginormous buck, only to realize I needn't bother telling Andy because deer season was already over. (The season ended on Sunday night.) I don't even want to explore the meaning behind this one!

You're welcome to dinner any time. Just be forewarned: chances are, we'll be having lasanga.


  1. wow. that is absolutely amazing! after growing up veggie, what was the process like for learning to be OK with butchering and all of this jazz? i'd love to hear the story!

  2. Mmm...both your breakfast and Italian sausage sound incredible, Ada!

  3. haha- well this is about the opposite of my kitchen. I'm impressed by how you use the meat though!

  4. I love hearing about all this! I cannot WAIT to have a garden, though venison is not my favorite taste ever. Hopefully though, when we get a house (in the next few months) we'll be able to have a garden. YAY!


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