Last Fall Travis got his first big bull elk. He had gotten cows before and he had been given portions of the ones his dad had gotten before, but this was his first BIG elk. And we had an entire HUGE elk that we now needed to fit into a freezer that we didn’t have enough room for! Luckily, my dad had space so when Travis and Zach came home from Montana they took it straight to his house. From there they hung it and cut it up and packed it in the freezer.
I was looking forward to making all sorts of things. Typically with Travis’ deer we make lots of jerky, but I was wanting dinner sausage and Italian sausage and pepperoni sticks and summer sausage. I couldn’t wait to get to making it all!
Because I wasn’t sure how we would like the pepperoni sticks I didn’t want to make a ton of them. I started with 5 lbs of Elk meat and approx. 3 lbs of pork/pork fat. I chopped it into smaller pieces so it is easier to get though the grinder.
After Travis got his Elk last fall we decided to get a grinder and getting the attachment for the Kitchen Aid made the most sense. We got the grinder and a sausage stuffer as well and both have worked awesome!
So I put on the grinder attachment with the larger blade and placed a pan under it to catch the meat that comes through the grinder.
I basically did two or three pieces of elk meat to each piece of pork. That really worked to mix it in together a bit more.
Next I used this seasoning from Hi-Country. It is our favorite! We love stopping at their store in Mt get jerky on the way to Travis’ dad’s house.
I used a little more of the seasoning than the recommended amount. We wanted the flavor to be strong and we had made some cheddar sausages before that we felt like it was lacking flavor. We didn’t want to make that mistake again o a little extra seasoning it was!
So we poured the season mix over the meat
Then we added the cure and using my hands I mixed it all together. This part is a little gross to me because I don’t particularly like touching raw meat. I try to do it as little as possible!
Next I put on the sausage stuffer attachment. I already had my casing soaking in water and following the directions on the package. Then I placed the casing on the stuffer.
I thought I could do it myself but really you could use a third hand. Luckily my dad showed up and helped me because a second set of hands really helped to hold up the sausages!
Summer was so excited to be “helping” as we put the sausages onto a tray to be smoked.
We were smoking the sausages to an internal temperature of 160° and the sausage were in the smoker for several hours. I wasn’t terribly concerned about my pepperoni sticks having the typical creases in them because it doesn’t change the flavor. If you are you could certainly put them in the oven for a bit to dry it out some more.
Our pepperoni sticks were SO delicious and had a great seasoning taste. Not over done but not bland either, so I am definitely looking forward to making these again.
Have you ever made your own sausages or pepperoni sticks?