First time smoked sausage is a success!

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Cowgirljac

Newbie
Original poster
Aug 14, 2018
16
0
My husband and I just made our first round of bratwurst. We used a commercial kit. The flavor is good, but not what I would call bratwurst (maybe it’s a regional thing?) anyhoo, it’s still good sausage! I have a few questions:
1. Does anyone have a good rule of thumb for how dense to hang sausages to ensure good even application of smoke? I feel like ours were too thick and suffered uneven smoke.

2. Anyone have a good recipe for venison bratwurst? We did a 5lb venison to 20 lb pork. I’d like to use mostly venison.

Thanks everyone!
 

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TomKnollRFV

Master of the Pit
Group Lead
May 19, 2018
3,407
726
Neenah WI
Bratwurst is a regional thing! <Really big regional thing in WI actually> It's normally a fresh sausage, you don't smoke them. They're at most boiled in beer, butter, and onions to parcook then finished on a grill. If you want a plain Bratwurst, I'd suggest looking up Disco's blog <oldfatguy.ca> and using his. I'd probably cut in bacon to the grind if you primarily do venison, just so they don't dry out when cooked. I can't really offer much of a recipe as I haven't made them my self yet despite living in WI..

Probably because after living here for so long, every time we had friends or relatives come from out of state, all they wanted first was brats off the grill and you sort of impartial. They're so common place here we treat them like a hot dog, every cook out has them! You'll see people add super crazy things to the blends if you look around online though! <I've had some killer mushroom swiss brats!>
 
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archeryrob

Smoking Fanatic
Oct 26, 2015
626
224
Western Maryland
It looks good to me.

There are lots of recipes out there. Meat and Sausage.com and Len Poli have tons posted. I personal don't have Bratwurst recipe to share. My wife is not a German spice lover and doesn't like the Nutmeg and mace a lot of the German recipes use, so i don't make those.

On the using Venison, you can use 7# of venison to 3# of pork fat to get a 30% fat ratio. I like 20% minimum and 25% to 30% best. Johnsonvilles are about 40% to 45%.

I like to mix 50% pork to 50% venison to cut the game flavor for my wife. Pork makes better sausage and beef makes better bologna, IMO. Here is how I get to 50% and 30% fat. for 5# I use 2.5# venison to 1.5# pork but and 1# pork fat. Good luck and post back with what you learn, even if it didn't work. :) BTW this is a fresh sausage recipe and not a smoked sausage recipe. you'll need #1 cure for smoking, or recommended.
sweet-italian-recipe.jpg
 
Last edited:

tallbm

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Dec 30, 2016
6,786
3,802
Texas
My husband and I just made our first round of bratwurst. We used a commercial kit. The flavor is good, but not what I would call bratwurst (maybe it’s a regional thing?) anyhoo, it’s still good sausage! I have a few questions:
1. Does anyone have a good rule of thumb for how dense to hang sausages to ensure good even application of smoke? I feel like ours were too thick and suffered uneven smoke.

2. Anyone have a good recipe for venison bratwurst? We did a 5lb venison to 20 lb pork. I’d like to use mostly venison.

Thanks everyone!

Hi there and welcome!

I do Venison brats each year though I don't smoke them. I have an MES40 so the most sausage I can comfortably fit for smoking is about 10-15 pounds so that is the best info I can give you on volume of sausage for best coverage at least with an MES and hanging sausages.

As for using mostly Venison to make your brats I definitely have you covered here because that is what I do. I use the least amount of non-Venison meat/animal additions to my sausage as I can so I get a max Venison sausage rather than a mostly pork of beef sausage with Venison added lol.

I go 80% meat (pure no fat Venison), and 20% trimmed pork back fat that I buy from the butcher.
This blend makes PERFECT Venison (and wild game) sausages for me every year since about 2011 when I started processing my own animals and making my own sausage.
To reach your desired goal of a mostly Venison sausage I highly recommend you go buy pork fat rather than pork butts.
80/20 is also simple math. 5 pounds sausage = 4 pounds venison, 1 pound pork fat. 10 pounds sausage = 8 pounds venison, 2 pounds pork fat. Make multiples of 5-10 pounds from there!

As for Brat flavor, I have tried and eaten many many many brats in both Wisconsin and Minnesota. I have eaten brats from all over Texas. I have tried brats at probably 5-6 different German restaurants across the US and some overseas, but I've never been to Germany so I can't speak to the brats made there. I've eaten Johnsanivlle brats too.
I tried and tried and tried and never found a brat that blew me away until I made them myself.

I can tell you with 100% confidence that the BEST Brat I have had hands down (don't laugh) is with the LEM's Backwoods Fresh Brat seasoning! It blows every other brat I've ever eaten out of the water completely!
I came across it when I bought the LEM 5 pound stuffer kit that came with the stuffer, as sausage book, some various casings, and a variety pack of 5 pound seasonings that LEM provides.
I used the seasonings from that kit to make sausage the first year I started processing for myself and I was SHOCKED at how amazing the Brats came out. Everyone I feed them to is blown away!!!!

If I have any knock it is that the seasoning can sometimes be a little salty so I measure for about 1-1.5lbs short when I'm making 20lbs batches (usually make at least 40 pounds of venison brats). I do a fry test before stuffing and if if it seems to need more seasoning I can still add some. This practice is actually a good one to apply no matter what sausage you are making if using a store bought seasoning or using an untested (to you) seasoning you get from online.

Anyhow, I hope this helps you make the best and purest Venison sausage you can and feel free to try that LEMs Fresh Brat seasoning (never tried the cured one). Also the LEMs Frank seasoning has made the most amazing Pork Franks I have ever eaten as well! I usually use that to make Franks from the wild/feral Hogs I usually shoot each year and I add pork back fat to those lean guys for 80/20 meat/fat sausage as well :)
 

Cowgirljac

Newbie
Original poster
Thread starter
Aug 14, 2018
16
0
Hi there and welcome!

I do Venison brats each year though I don't smoke them. I have an MES40 so the most sausage I can comfortably fit for smoking is about 10-15 pounds so that is the best info I can give you on volume of sausage for best coverage at least with an MES and hanging sausages.

As for using mostly Venison to make your brats I definitely have you covered here because that is what I do. I use the least amount of non-Venison meat/animal additions to my sausage as I can so I get a max Venison sausage rather than a mostly pork of beef sausage with Venison added lol.

I go 80% meat (pure no fat Venison), and 20% trimmed pork back fat that I buy from the butcher.
This blend makes PERFECT Venison (and wild game) sausages for me every year since about 2011 when I started processing my own animals and making my own sausage.
To reach your desired goal of a mostly Venison sausage I highly recommend you go buy pork fat rather than pork butts.
80/20 is also simple math. 5 pounds sausage = 4 pounds venison, 1 pound pork fat. 10 pounds sausage = 8 pounds venison, 2 pounds pork fat. Make multiples of 5-10 pounds from there!

As for Brat flavor, I have tried and eaten many many many brats in both Wisconsin and Minnesota. I have eaten brats from all over Texas. I have tried brats at probably 5-6 different German restaurants across the US and some overseas, but I've never been to Germany so I can't speak to the brats made there. I've eaten Johnsanivlle brats too.
I tried and tried and tried and never found a brat that blew me away until I made them myself.

I can tell you with 100% confidence that the BEST Brat I have had hands down (don't laugh) is with the LEM's Backwoods Fresh Brat seasoning! It blows every other brat I've ever eaten out of the water completely!
I came across it when I bought the LEM 5 pound stuffer kit that came with the stuffer, as sausage book, some various casings, and a variety pack of 5 pound seasonings that LEM provides.
I used the seasonings from that kit to make sausage the first year I started processing for myself and I was SHOCKED at how amazing the Brats came out. Everyone I feed them to is blown away!!!!

If I have any knock it is that the seasoning can sometimes be a little salty so I measure for about 1-1.5lbs short when I'm making 20lbs batches (usually make at least 40 pounds of venison brats). I do a fry test before stuffing and if if it seems to need more seasoning I can still add some. This practice is actually a good one to apply no matter what sausage you are making if using a store bought seasoning or using an untested (to you) seasoning you get from online.

Anyhow, I hope this helps you make the best and purest Venison sausage you can and feel free to try that LEMs Fresh Brat seasoning (never tried the cured one). Also the LEMs Frank seasoning has made the most amazing Pork Franks I have ever eaten as well! I usually use that to make Franks from the wild/feral Hogs I usually shoot each year and I add pork back fat to those lean guys for 80/20 meat/fat sausage as well :)
Thank you very much for the info and explanation. I appreciate your time. I’ll have to find some of that seasoning- it’s getting close to hunting season around here! Very exciting!
 

tallbm

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Dec 30, 2016
6,786
3,802
Texas
Thank you very much for the info and explanation. I appreciate your time. I’ll have to find some of that seasoning- it’s getting close to hunting season around here! Very exciting!

No prob. Try some things out and work in small batches if you can. Do some fry tests as well.
Doing so will help you figure out what you do and don't like. Also it helps you get your seasoning and various sausage making processes (fry test, stuffing, grinding, etc etc) more refined.

Let us know how it turns out and good luck with the hunting this year! :)
 

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