Venison Hot Dogs
In all of the culinary world, nothing is more humble than the hot dog. I would also argue nothing is beloved. Hot Dogs are a vice. If I’m at a ball game and it’s dollar beer and dollar dog night, you can bet that I’m the guy with a tray, balancing a stack of foil wraps and a cup tower of domestic lights.
The challenge I wanted to undertake was can I combine my summer time fav and my fall passion of hunting deer to make a whitetail weenie. First, was the lean to fat ratio. Beef dogs are made with chuck which is roughly 80/20. Second, is the casing. I cut my product in half and tried both natural and collagen casing. While the natural takes a little more fussing; wetting down the casing, rinsing in water, then loading it onto the horn, it made in my opinion a better dog. I was able to buy some casings from my butcher shop. Not without a few questions and some free advice. Third, is keep everything cold. Let me just say it again for emphasis. Cold, Cold, COLD! When going through the grinds and the emulsifying, the meat has to stay cold to get the desired texture. We are talking below 40 degrees. Break the grind up into batches. The more surface area, the easier it is to chill. Chill components from grinder, food processor, and stuffer, also not to be timid when adding ice/ice water to the mix when in the processor. Things can get heated pretty quick.
Sausage making is an art and a science all at once. Sometimes everything works, others not so much. Throw in a new process of emulsion and it can get pretty complicated and time consuming. However if you have the time and patience, these hot dogs can quickly become a household favorite.
Venison Hot Dog Receipe
Yield: ~40 links
- Food Processor
- Sausage Stuffer
- 5 lbs Diced Venison and 1 ¼ lbs fat, or Ground Venison with a fat ratio of 80/20
- Collagen Hot Dog Casing, or Natural Lamb Casings
- 3 tablespoons ground mustard seed
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon fine ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons ground mace
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ground celery seeds
- 1 teaspoon Cure (pink salt)
- 1 cup ice water/ crushed ice
Start by coarse grinding lean meat and fat. Making sure to alternate meat and fat to mix evenly throughout. Place in freezer to chill
- Mix together dry seasonings, then add to ground. Mixing by hand is effective, then return to freezer to chill
- Run the seasoned ground through 2 times using the fine die making sure to place back in the freezer between grinds. Notice a theme?
- Divide seasoned ground into several sections (roughly 1 to 1.5 lbs a peice). Working one section at a time, place into a food processor and be ready to add some crushed ice or ice water to emulsion.
- Run the ground in the processor till the consistency resembles a whipped mousse. Be sure to add ice water or crushed ice to keep temperature down and help with emulsion. Put in freezer untill set up for stuffing.
- Set up the sausage stuffer with either collagen casing or natural casing. Helps to have a partner when cracking out the meat. By feel, allow the casing to fill, but not to the point of bursting, still have to make links.
- By alternating twists, find a consistent length for links (I put a couple pieces of tape down) pinch and twist. Place on racks or sheets for the smoker.
- Prep the smoker for 200-250 degrees, set in the links and smoke till links are 145-150 degrees internally. Probe thermometer works great.
- Pull the links and allow to cool.
- Hot Dogs are ready to be grilled or seared and set in the bun
- Plate, Serve, Be a Hero