A friend of mine was kind enough to offer me some venison since I do not hunt anymore. He had left it in his driveway in a cooler for me. At first glance it appeared to be several gallon baggies of coarsely ground venison, I gestimated it to be between 25 and 30 pounds. So I ran into town and grabbed a summer sausage kit, a jerky kit, and 20 lbs of 95% hamburger. While I was in town I ordered a beef tenderloin for Christmas dinner, on sale for $9.99/lb.
This would be my first attempt at summer sausage so I borrowed a buddy’s grinder/stuffer on the way home. I cleared me out a spot to work in the kitchen and I was very eager to begin. I got out my “extra” spices and pepper jack cheese, and I set up my meat mixer on the counter next to my friend’s grinder/stuffer. I surveyed my surroundings and when I was satisfied everything was ready to go and all my props were in their proper place it was time to bring in the meat.
As I was putting the baggies of venison in the kitchen sink, much to my astonishment, I discovered four full tenderloins and several roasts under the two baggies of coarsely ground venison. I very excitedly shared my discovery with my wife who did not share my enthusiasm at all. She will not eat wild game at all (if she knows about it).
In my excitement I had rapidly envisioned myself canceling my beef tenderloin order, smoking a venison tenderloin or two, and proudly serving them to our families and friends for Christmas dinner. I pled my case before my wife. She was unmoved. I pulled out all the stops and played every trump card I thought I had. The cost of the beef tenderloin, the quantity of the meat on hand, the quality of the venison before me, and the value of what sit in our lowly kitchen sink, but it seemed as if there wasn’t any room for compromise.
My vision began to fade, crushed at my feet. In a last ditch effort I tried to salvage a venison tenderloin for our own personal use. No! I tried to negotiate a half of a tenderloin for supper some night. No! What about just enough of a tenderloin for a single meal for us, I’d fix it up just right you wouldn’t be able to tell it was venison. No, no, and NO! I caught myself begging. Reluctantly the helplessness of my situation began to sink in and I had to once again accept my place in the natural order of things in the grand footprint of life.
One by one, under a cautiously observant supervisory eye, all of the venison went through the grinder and into the meat mixer where the spices, cure, cheese and hamburger were tenderly blended into it. All the while in my mind’s eye I could see a large hand from nowhere slapping me across the face while a booming voice asked over and over and over again “when will you ever learn to keep your big mouth shut”.
When the thin blue smoke cleared I had 30 lbs of venison summer sausage and 11 lbs of venison sticks to show for my efforts.
As I sampled (quality control checked) the sausage and sticks, packaged them up for freezing and sharing, and, later, as I begin to share them with my friends and co-workers I just can’t keep myself from thinking “next time it’ll be different, I will be able to contain myself and keep my mouth shut”.