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DIY meat care: Venison beer brats

Homemade venison bratwurst ingredients
All photo credits: Brad Tribby

I have always wanted to process my own meat. As a kid we would even process all of our own animals, cutting and wrapping the steaks and roasts. Occasionally, I would help make a batch of jerky. I take pride in filling my freezer with meat I have harvested, plus, there is nothing healthier than wild game and wild-caught fish. 

I like to cook and I consider myself pretty good at it. So, several years ago I decided that I wanted to try making my own sausage out of wild game. Once I finally settled into a home big enough to store the equipment needed, I purchased the necessary items.

Homemade venison pizza

Last year, I made 20 pounds of Italian sausage and 20 pounds of breakfast sausage. It turned out excellent. One of my favorite ways to use the Italian sausage is on homemade pizza, which is a combination of homemade wild game Italian sausage, pheasant breast, homemade pepperoni, vegetables and cheese.

This year, I am planning to make another 20 pounds of both Italian and breakfast sausage, but also want to take my meat processing a step further and try making a batch of bratwursts. The more research I did and the more people I talked with, the more creative my mind became. 

Cold Smoke jalapeno cheddar wild game brats:
* Makes 100 brats  
11.5 lbs. Any wild game meat of your choice
11.5 lbs. Pork
2 lbs. LEM high-temp. cheese
6 oz. Dried jalapeno flakes
1 package LEM Bratwurst Seasoning
1 package LEM Wild Hog Casings: size 32mm-35mm
1 can Cold Smoke Scotch Ale


Supplies needed for venison bratwursts

Meat grinder Attachments for casings
Foot pedal Knives
Cutting board Kitchen scale
Meat tub(s) Kitchen scissors

Continued below.

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Soaking hog casings in warm water

1. To begin, soak wild hog casings in warm water.

Pork pieces for mixing with venison

Cut up small chunks of venison

2. While casings are soaking, cut up wild game and pork into chunks small enough to fit through the grinder. It’s a 50/50 or 1:1 ratio of wild game to pork. Weigh the wild game and pork and make sure you have 11.5 pounds of each. 

Meat through coarse grinding stone

3. Once the meat is ready to be ground, send it through the coarse grinding stone. To start the mixing process alternate handfuls of wild game with handfuls of pork. 

Using a can of beer instead of water

4. Mix the ground meat by hand. In a separate bowl, mix the LEM Bratwurst Seasoning. Instead of using water, use Cold Smoke Scotch Ale, or your favorite beer. 

Grinding the meat with a fine stone

5. Once the seasoning is mixed add it to ground meat. Replace the coarse grinding stone with the finest stone you have. Send the seasoned meat through the grinder again. This will mix the seasoning and meat together. 

Add cheese and jalapeno flakes

6. Once the second grinding is complete, add 6 ounces of jalapeno flakes and 2 pounds of LEM high-temperature cheese. 

Hog casing on grinder attachment

7. The meat is finally ready to be stuffed into the casings. Your casings will be soft after soaking for several hours in warm water. Grab a casing and run water through it several times to remove the salt from inside of the casing. Then get ready to place the casing onto your grinder attachment. 

Grinder setup

8. You will need to use the foot pedal when stuffing the bratwurst meat inside of the casings. You will need both hands to fill the casings. One hand will be on the casing to provide resistance to thoroughly pack the casing with meat, (letting little to no air inside) while your other hand will be used to keep stuffing meat through the grinder. 

Making bratwursts

9. Now its time to make these into actual brats. Pinch the casing closed and step on the foot pedal while stuffing meat into the grinder. The casings will begin to fill with meat. Once your brat is at its desired length (about a 1/4 pound) twist the casing four or five times and begin stuffing the next brat.

Finished bratwursts

After the second brat is finished, once again, twist the casing four or five times, then use scissors and cut the brats off. Continue this process until you have finished.

Vacuum sealing venison bratwursts

10. Vacuum package your brats in whatever quantity best suited for you and your family. Last, but not least, enjoy a year of homemade bratwursts! 

I made 25 pounds which made exactly 100 brats. I am very fortunate to spend many nights camping for work, as well as for play. I look forward to being able to share these brats with friends and family as well as co-workers. Good luck with your bratwurst making. If you have any questions feel free to ask!


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Brad T. - posted 3 years ago on 03-14-2016 12:22:21 pm
Rawlins, WY

Jeremy: Thank you for your comment. Sorry it has taken me a few days to get back to you. I have done it both ways. I would highly recommend chilling the meat before you stuff it into the casings. It will make that part of the process much more smooth. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask. Once again, thank you!

Jeremy Brewster_1155029507841000
Jeremy B. - posted 3 years ago on 03-11-2016 08:37:06 am
Colonial Beach, VA

Nice article. I started making my own sausage last year.

One thing I keep seeing in my reading is to keep the meat really cold, especially during the grinding processes, to keep the fat from starting to melt. Do you chill the meat between processing steps?

Brad T. - posted 4 years ago on 12-28-2015 04:55:26 am
Rawlins, WY

Jim G: Thank you for comments and questions. I don't add any fat per se. There is usually some fat that comes on the pork that I buy. However, its not much. Maybe a pound of fat if I were guessing.

The great thing about meat processing is a person can make things like brats however they want. If you would like your brats a little more lean, I think it would be fine to add in some fat.

Once again, thank you for comments and questions. If you have anymore, feel free to ask. Thanks and good luck.

Jim G. - posted 4 years ago on 12-27-2015 11:07:04 am

Great article and pics. Thanks. How do you control the fat content? I thought brats needed added fat. I assume it comes from the pork but all cuts have different amounts of fat.

larry t. - posted 4 years ago on 12-17-2015 08:55:49 am
Rogers, Ar

Great article, have been searching for this information on the internet but have not found exactly what I needed until this. Thanks!

Brady J. Miller
Brady M. - posted 5 years ago on 01-28-2015 07:10:19 am
Las Vegas, NV
goHUNT Team

Great to hear you enjoyed the brats, Jordan! It is a perfect time of year for preparing wild game meat like this.

Jordan L. - posted 5 years ago on 01-25-2015 09:50:48 pm

Just made a batch with about 12 lbs...they turned out awesome! Thanks!

Brad T. - posted 5 years ago on 01-21-2015 06:36:31 pm
Rawlins, WY

Jordan: Thank you for the questions. I have a "Cabelas Pro 450 Meat Grinder". It works great for the processing I do. I have ground over 150 pounds of meat and most of that was ground twice. The grinder shows no signs of wearing out and keeps cranking sausage out like its brand new. I would recommend it.

I usually buy a "pork butt" or "pork shoulder". They are very common in most grocery stores. I know people who have found "pork loin" on sale and have purchased enough loins to make whatever sausage/brat/summer sausage they have in mind.

Thanks for the questions and if you have anymore feel free to ask.

Jordan L. - posted 5 years ago on 01-21-2015 04:05:40 pm

Also, what kind of pork did you use?

Gordon R. - posted 5 years ago on 01-21-2015 04:04:57 pm

Awesome article. Thanks for the information. Next year I'll have to try it.

Jordan L. - posted 5 years ago on 01-21-2015 04:04:29 pm

Awesome article. What kind of grinder do you use?