Our “Famous” Maple Venison Breakfast Sausage Recipe
We have been perfecting this recipe over the years, but it all started after a successful elk hunt in Idaho. I had been daydreaming about maple breakfast sausage, so after I got my first bull and a friend loaned us his grinder, it was on. Now we make breakfast sausage every year, and we even have our own grinder to abuse.
It’s a pretty simple recipe with just a few staple ingredients. The fun is in the sampling stage, where you mix everything in by hand and cook up little patties as you go until you’re happy with the taste. In past years we froze the ground sausage in quarter to half pound packages, but this year we made breakfast links with sheep casings.
Patties are great for egg sandwiches and don’t require the extra work of sausage stuffing. Links are easy to throw on the stove for a quick breakfast and make less of a mess in the pan. We don’t really have a preference. Whatever tickles your fancy!
- 12 lbs venison for grinding (roughly 1×1 inch chunks)
- 3 lbs bacon
- 1 lb beef or pork fat
- 1/4 cup cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup dried sage
- 1/4 cup salt
- 1 1/2 cups Franks RedHot Original sauce
- 1 1/4 cups real maple syrup
Keep all your grinder parts nice and cold before you begin. We put whatever the meat touches into the freezer or outside if it’s below freezing out hours before we begin. We also keep the meat nice and cold beforehand, and often it is still slightly frozen when we start. This keeps the grinder running smoothly, keeps the fat in the meat and prevents it from gunking things up, and probably cuts down on potential bacteria growth.
- Start by placing all of the parts of your grinder, your bowls, and anything else that will be in contact with the meat into the freezer to cool off. Make sure everything stays cold throughout the process – if you need to, put everything into the freezer and take a break. We prefer to grind meat that is still partially frozen but no matter what it needs to stay cold.
- Set your grinder up for a coarse grind and push the venison, bacon, and fat through, doing your best to integrate the fat into the grind as evenly as possible.
- Add the salt and spices and mix thoroughly – we do this by by hand but a stand mixer works great too.
- Set your grinder for a fine grind and push all of the meat through one more time.
- Add the maple syrup and Franks Redhot and mix into the meat thoroughly.
- Form a small patty and throw it on the stove for a quick taste test, add more of whatever you desire until you’re happy. We tend to make some of the sausage mild and some of it more spicy so that when we give it away to friends and family they can choose what they want.
Tips and Tricks
- Oil the moving parts of your grinder. We grease our grinding plates and blade with a light coat of veggie (or similar) oil at the beginning of a day of sausage making and before putting the grinder back into storage once its clean and dry. This keeps the parts rust free in storage and cuts down on friction when actually using the grinder.
- Prepare to get messy. Sometimes we wear rubber gloves, sometimes we don’t. You may want them, they’re nice to have. We like to place a piece of plastic wrap over the on/off switch on the grinder to keep all the nooks and crannies free of crud. Large wire brushes are handy for cleaning out all the parts the meat passes through. Take the time to thoroughly clean your grinder at the end of the day.
- If you don’t use casings, baking the sausage patties in a toaster oven or regular oven (on parchment paper) works great and is less messy than stovetop. Freezing quarter pound servings is great for the two of us. Half pound servings work well for 4 to 6 people. Sheep casings are the perfect size for breakfast links. We prefer hog casings for dinner sausage, as they are a little larger.