Sometimes the first thing you do is the best thing. I was confronted with that recently when I decided to take a couple of wild pig shoulder quarters out of the freezer, bone them out and grind the meat for sausage. The flavor wasn’t the issue; it was the texture.
Sausage is always about the texture. And I’d discovered long ago that despite wild pig and commercially grown pig being essentially the same animal, they didn’t make sausage the same way.
Start with a pork shoulder roast from Bob’s Thriftway. Grind it up and mix your spices in well and, voila! with that little bit of hand it’s sausage. The proteins had broken down, bonded the lean and fat together and created that lovely cohesion that is sausage. That doesn’t happen with wild pig, even when you use commercial fat, in whatever proportions.
That drove me to research the science of sausage and write Sausage Season. Pretty soon I learned that if you treated wild pork as you would wild game meat instead of like store-pig, it was very easy to create brats, or polish sausage with nothing else added. Because that’s what I wanted.
I wanted my sausage to be meat and fat—what it has been for centuries.
I wanted it to be how much salt I wanted, how much spice I wanted and to adjust the flavors and % of fat depending on what mood I was in and whom I was feeding.
I wanted to know which parts of the leftovers from butchering were in my sausage.
Finally, I wanted to eat as many brats and wursts as I craved, without paying extra money to add unpronounceable ingredients.
Go back to that first paragraph. I’d decided to try wild pork again with the second, faster mixing method I’d discovered after writing the book. It was just stubbornness. The taste was wonderful, but the proteins in the young boar I’d shot had not broken down completely. Cooked in the skillet, it was still pretty crumbly, more like ground meat than I wanted, proving once more the quicker method was only for red meat.
I remade it with my original mixing method and had much better results. The same ones I’d had when writing the pork section of the sausage book. I took some video of the final test recipe, mostly about the mixing so you could see how the bond forms. Watch it, then try out the recipe below.
Part 1: https://youtu.be/BWhiuYxg7f8
Creole-ish Sausage Recipe
Makes 1 pound 14 ounces of sausage
John and I both love this level of heat. But what about you? Cayenne or not to cayenne. Depends on how hot you like your sausage. Add it about ⅛ teaspoon at a time–but only after you taste the original mix after a few hours of flavor-developing. Then, when you add the cayenne, allow time between each addition. Spices are tricky. They don’t always reveal their true selves right away. Three to four hours, overnight is better, then roll a teaspoon of sausage into a ball, set it in a microwaveable coffee cup and nuke it 15-20 seconds, until there’s no pink inside. The flavor won’t be the same as if you grilled or fried it, but you’ll get a sense of it without a lot of time and mess. Then no matter how you cook it, do chill it to 28˚F, then mix with bouillon as directed for 6 minutes in a stand mixer on low speed.
- 20 ounces ground wild pig meat
- 10 ounces ground pork fat
- 1½ tablespoons Spanish paprika
- 4⅛ teaspoons onion powder
- 2⅛ teaspoons non-iodized salt
- 1½ teaspoons dried leaf thyme
- 1½ teaspoon hot smoked paprika
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ cup chicken or pork broth
Prep & Cooking
- Grind together the wild pig meat and pig fat in a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients (except the broth) and add the ground meats. Mix thoroughly.
- To taste test: before adjusting the flavors, chill the mixture 8-24 hours to let the flavors fully develop, and the salt work on the meat protein (myosin).
Once chilled, microwave a ½-inch ball of sausage in a cup for about 15 seconds on high, or fry a small patty until all the pink is gone.
Have you watched the videos?
For the best sausage texture, follow the original mixing method–the one in the book:
Once you’ve mixed that fat and lean with the seasonings, put it all into a resealable plastic baggie, flatten the sausage mix, and place in the freezer until it reaches 28˚F, about 3-4 hours depending on your freezer.
Break the mixture up, drop in your stand mixer bowl, add the broth and mix on low for 6 minutes.
Shape into patties and cook on medium high in a cast iron skillet until the pink is gone from the middle, about 170°F.
There’s a lot more detail, lots of photos and recipes as well as how to case your sausage in the pages of Sausage Season. https://www.riflesandrecipes.com/product/wild-game-sausage-recipes/