Sunday, February 5, 2012

Time to Grind

With the holidays behind us and a foot of snow outside, it was a good time to turn the trimmed venison in the freezer into something usable. We butchered three deer this fall ( Blog post: filling freezer), and had fifty pounds of trim to work with, so we decided to make burger, brats and snack sticks.

Like most things, there are many ways to do this; this is just how we do it.
To start, all the trim gets run through a coarse grind. This is 100% trimmed venison.

The next step is to measure out the meat by weight and add the proper amount of fat for the product you are making. We used tallow (beef fat) because that's what we had, but more often pork fat is used for sausage. Beef fat is perfect for burger. 
If you are making burger, then all that's left is to mix the fat and the meet and put it through a fine grind. If you are making sausage, it's time to measure your seasoning and mix it into the meat and fat. To make things easier, we used packaged mixes that come with seasonings and sausage casings.

Once it's all well mixed, it goes through a fine grind and gets stuffed into the prepared casings.

Folks that are well practiced at this can do it with one or two people but for us, three worked well. One to feed the hopper, one to regulated the grinder and one to stuff and twist the casings.

Whitney turned out to be very good at making bratwursts, and stuffed these dogs right as they came out of the grinder. 
We decided to try snack sticks for the first time this year. This was different because these are done without casings. All the steps up this point are the same as the other meats, but from the grinder
we ground the meat onto a wire rack and then baked it in the oven on low heat for a couple hours.

This could have been done with a smoker too, if you have one. This is the first round fresh from the oven.

Finally, all that's left is to bag up the meats for the freezer. Again there are many ways to do this, but for the burger, we've had really good luck using these common ground meat bags. Filled right off the grinder, it makes the process of bagging really easy and clean.  
For the brats and snack sticks, food saver bags work perfect. Here is the first load all bagged, dated and ready for the freezer. Makes me want to BBQ just looking at it! A big thanks to Alyssa and Mac for all the help getting this done, and thanks to everybody else for stopping by.
Until next time,



April said...

Wow, your productivity, as usual, is impressive!! Nice going guys. By the smiles on your faces, it looks like it was a good time, too. :)

Kyle and Whitney said...

Thanks A! yeah it is fun, and satisfying. The real fun is pulling packages out of the freezer all neat and ready to use. I love it :-)