Monday, May 4, 2009

Jalapeno + Cheddar + Deer + Smoke = Yum!

I got a chance to smoke up a batch of our favorite deer sausage last weekend...Smoked Jalapeno Cheddar Deer Sausage. This sausage I hold near and dear to my heart because in my quest to learn how to make it I stumbled upon the Bradley Smoker Forum where I not only learned how to smoke sausage and meat but also met a group of some of the nicest folks in the world. I highly recommend the forum to anyone interested in smoking their own food if you own a Bradley smoker or not. There is an incredible wealth of knowledge to be found there.

This a great recipe that I guess could probably be used with elk or beef, too. The venison that I work with is already ground with 15% beef suet when I receive it from the processor. Since the recipe calls for 3 pounds of ground venison make any additions of fat to it before you weigh out the 3 pounds.

I have used both the 38mm edible collagen casings and the natural hog casings. They both work well but prefer the natural hog casing because they are less likely to tear if you accidentally over stuff them. Also, they make a nicer finished product by adhering to the sausage contents when cooked. The collagen casing are edible but they tend not to stick to sausage during the cooking process and you instinctively want to peel them off when you eat the sausage. I do not have this result when making snack sticks using the 19mm collagen casings but I'm not sure why this is the case because I am buying both sizes of the collagen casings from the same source. Maybe someone who knows the reason can post it in the "comments" section at the bottom of this post.
3 pounds of ground venson already mixed with fat
1 cup of distilled water
3 TBS of Morton Tender Quick, (make sure to level each tablespoon but do not pack it)
3 finely diced large jalapeno chiles
1/2 tsp of garlic powder
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 tsp of whole yellow mustard seeds
1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese at about a 1/4" dice
6 to 7 feet of hog casings or 38mm collagen casings

I purchase a product called high melt temperature cheese which can be found at meat processing supply companies like Butcher & Packers. You can use regular cheese from the local grocery store but some of it will melt into the meat due to the temperatures reached during the cooking process. The high melt temperature cheese is wonderful to work with because it will keep its form during the entire process and it is lovely to see all the chunks of cheese in each slice of the sausage.

If you are using natural hog casings soak them for about an hour in cold water and set aside while you make your sausage mixture. In a large mixing bowl place the Morton Tender Quick, garlic powder, yellow mustard seeds, ground pepper and distilled water. Stir this mixture until the Morton Tender Quick dissolves completely. Once the Morton Tender Quick is completely dissolved you are ready to add the meat, cheese and diced jalapenos. Mix this very thoroughly in a big mixer or with your hands (preferably wearing disposable gloves).
Now you are ready to stuff the sausages. Rinse out the hog casings well after soaking and use whatever stuffing device you prefer, you can see my Kitchen Aid Mixer setup at the top of this post. I personally like to have some pre-cut butcher twine at the ready before I get my hands into stuffing.
Stuff to the lengths that you want and whatever fits your smoker best. I have a 4-shelf Bradley smoker and if I am smoking the sausages on the rack I usually make the sausages 16" to 18" in length. Once stuffed place them on a cookie sheet uncovered in the fridge overnight to cure.
The next morning, preheat the smoker to 130F and place the sausages in the smoker. Let the sausages sit at this temperature (with no smoke) for an hour or until the casings are dry to the touch. Once dry bring the temperature up to 165-170F and apply smoke for 2 to 4 hours depending on taste, I apply 3 hours of hickory smoke to mine. Leave in the smoker until the sausage reaches an internal temperature of 160F. Be careful not to let the smoker get above 170F or the fat will start to render out of the sausages. Once they reach the desired temperature, shock them in a large pot of ice-cold water. Now they are ready to eat and enjoy.


  1. Nice! With the big mixer and the ingredients that you have there, I really think that making a sausage is just easy. My wife is expert on the field actually. I just let her do it alone (and that’s what she prefers too, I guess :p). I, on the other hand, just waiting, preparing myself to eat. :D

    Alex Staff

  2. I'm always looking for new venison recipes. We enjoy processing our own deer and trying new mixes and recipes. The premixed seasoning packs are ridiculously priced!!! There is definitely a sense of accomplishment by creating these wonderful treasures on my own.

  3. All stuffed and ready to smoke tomorrow. Using the Kitchen Aide seemed a little tricky as I pressed the meat and my wife dealt with the sausage end. I used 90% beef instead of Venison without adding any extra fat. Hopefully that will work out. Seemed the it was a little heavy on the jalapenos, but we'll have to see.
    BTW, do those natural pig intestines always stink that bad when you open the bag? LOL I though I might have got a bad batch. After a good cold soaking and running water through them really seemed to tame them down.
    Big Joe

  4. Holy Smokes!This is one of the best sausage recipes i have ever tried.You should star making this on a commercial level,maybe contact Cabelas and see if they are interested.You are one talented sausage maker!
    Size Doesn't Matter

  5. Thanks for such thorough instructions, it was very helpful to me (7 years after your original post date). I've used this recipe a couple times now and it is awesome. We made a quick and fun video of the process using this recipe, you can check it out at:

  6. Can we just freeze the sausages after making them and grill or smoke them later on, instead of smoking them the next day?