canning venison

hawaiisamAugust 15, 2014

How do you like to can venison (or other meat and poultry)? I have read the instructions from USDA, NCHFP and Ball but was curious what liquid you have had the best experience with (water vs. tomato juice; broth vs. bouillon cube; blends etc.) How about wine? Have you tried either the Ball or KatieC's recipe for beef burgundy using venison? Thanks

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

We do the chunks and cubes in the broth and the ground venison in out own tomato juice since we use most of it for making chili. If you use raw pack you don't have to add anything as it makes its own broth but we don't care for raw pack.


    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 6:02PM
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Thanks for your response Dave. I noticed on other threads that you seem to can meat so I was hoping you would answer. Do you grind the venison with some pork as recommended by NCHFP or do you can it plain as Ball suggests? Also have you ever tried the Beef in Wine from either KatieC or Ball, and if so, have you ever tried them with venison? thanks, sam

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 11:13AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Hi Sam - we don't normally add pork when grinding since we use most all of it for chili and we add Italian sausage chunks to the chili while making it. If I was going to add pork to it I would probably use some of the Italian flavored pork sausage available. Think I might try that, :)

We have made the Beef in Wine from the BBB and it was ok. Not great but ok but never made it with venison.

Most of our venison that is canned is canned plain in chunks/cubes so its uses later aren't limited in any way. Wife makes a great venison stroganoff, stew, and a crockpot swiss steak with venison, canned tomatoes, onions, and peppers. If you like Hot Italian Beef you can dump a couple of jars of canned meat in the crockpot with a jar of pepperochinis and some onions and broth and pig out on it. :)

We smoke some of the better roast cuts first and then wrap and hang or freeze and we make a fair amount of venison sausage for freezing too.


    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 12:57PM
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I was ready to respond, but then I looked up your public profile and saw you probably live in Arizona?

When we lived in Texas, we treated venison a lot differently than we do now, living in the Northeast. We used to call them Texas dog deer, and they had a much different flavor based on what they were eating (mostly scrub, as opposed to ours here which feast on the finest fruits and vegetables :-)

What species of venison (mule deer, white tailed?) are you canning? That would make a difference (if I was putting it up) in how I prepared it, either for canning or freezing.

Just curious. We harvest 3 to 4 whitetails a year, and venison is our main protein source. Haven't purchased beef in over 12 years, and buy maybe 10 whole chickens a year. We do buy pork, mainly for processing the venison into ground meat and sausage.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 1:55PM
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Thanks for the ideas Dave! I know it is a pain to type up recipes but do you think your wife would share the venison stroganoff recipe? or the Swiss steak? I remembered that you prefer to can things simply and doctor them up later. This is an entirely new area for me so I appreciate your suggestions.

Malna - I was raised in the islands and the only canning my mother and grandmother did was guava jam, hot pepper jelly, lilikoi (passionfruit) jelly and mango chutney. My mother is 90 and still makes the best mango chutney whenever she is gifted with green mangoes. We moved to AZ a few years ago but are in the process of relocating to the inland northwest (hence my sudden interest in venison). Whitetails and wild turkeys in the area.

Being an island girl my experience with venison is nil but I would like to learn and any suggestions, methods, recipes you or anyone else is willing to share would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, sam

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 3:57PM
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You might like Hank Shaw's website. He has great recipes for venison and wild game. I get lots of ideas from him.

Have a slightly tweaked version of his corned venison recipe in process right now, from frozen roasts we put up last fall.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hunter Angler Gardener Cook

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 4:40PM
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Thanks! That website is very cool! Appreciate it. sam

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 4:58PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

do you think your wife would share the venison stroganoff recipe? or the Swiss steak?

No need for specific recipes for those. All you are doing is subbing venison for beef in any stroganoff or swiss steak recipe you like. Most any beef or pork or chicken recipe can also be made with venison. Just a different taste.

If you ever make corned beef hash you can sub venison too for venison hash. Marinated venison kabobs too.


    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 6:23PM
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Here's another recipe site that will give you some ideas.

As Dave said, you can almost always substitute venison for beef. We've made sauerbraten, tamales (we used lard made from venison fat, too), carne asada, shepherd's pie, tourtiere, spiedies, city chicken, corned venison and pastrami, etc., all using venison.

We love the stuff (can you tell? :-).

Here is a link that might be useful: Hunting PA Venison Recipes

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 11:13AM
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I hope I am not barging in here on your venison discussion... Dave, you mentioned you make venison sausage. Is that ground sausage to use for frying later? I ask because I have been looking for a smoked venison sausage recipe. We used to get this from the butcher when we lived in the north country. It is made in a ring sausage form. Cured and smoked, fairly dry in consistency, made for freezer storage. Can't seem to find a recipe that fits this description.
Also, malna and Dave, do you consider the cured and smoked meat recipes on Hank Shaw's site reliable? He has some that really look good, but I have never used any to date. I have seen a lot of recipes for curing and smoking all over the web, but I am pretty conservative as to what I am willing to try. I've done a small bit of curing and smoking and had great results. I'm looking for what would be considered "tested and approved" resources so I can expand my food preservation skills in that area. :)
I was recently able to purchase my first pressure canner (Presto 23 qt) so I am looking forward to pcing venison and wild turkey this fall. Yum.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 3:50PM
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No apologies necessary about barging in - I love talking about venison.

As far as sausage, we make bratwurst, andouille, breakfast, Italian and kielbasa. I have to admit, we haven't gotten the ratios of venison to pork and the seasonings quite perfected yet on some of them. We do 10-20 pound batches at a time, so it takes a couple of years sometimes to get enough meat again to tweak one recipe :-)

You are probably looking for venison summer sausage (?).

Here's 23 pounds of ours. I cheat and use Backwoods brand Summer Sausage mix. It is the only one I like of the ones we have tried (the others were very chemical tasting or too salty or too highly seasoned or we just flat didn't like them).

We could have done these in rings, but chose to do half that size. Also I don't care for the collagen casings, so I use 42mm hog casings.

And, yes, I consider Hank's recipes safe. His are akin to Michael Ruhlman's, who wrote Charcuterie, and is an expert in sausage making.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 4:27PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Wow malna puts our sausage making to shame! We make only summer sausage types, mostly Applewood Smoked and dry Italian Cured. We prefer using hog casing too when we can get them.

If you like really spicy summer sausage then Hank's Italian Cacciatore Salami is great with venison and pork - better than bacon! :)


    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 8:47PM
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wow malna, that is an awesome amount of meat you put up! Your summer sausage looks great! Not sure, but I don't think that we are talking about the same type of meat. Do you slice and eat yours cold like for sandwich meat or snacks? The product I remember was called 'country sausage', it is smoked but now I am not sure if it was cured or not, but I think so. It is a supper kind of meat... we would fry it, or boil it, or simmer it in a bit of liquid before eating. That probably doesn't sound very appetizing, but it was great tasting and what I really loved about it is that is was very versitile. It could be a stand alone meat or used in many different dishes and was so fast to prepare.
Oh, and thank you for the letting me know about Shaw's recipes. I have a few bookmarked that I would like to try. Most are more complicated than I have ever attempted. Dave, the Italian Cacciatore Salami looks wonderful! What kind of set up do you guys use to keep the humidity high while fermenting, and then between 70 adn 80% while drying? I don't own a humidifier, maybe I should invest in one if it can't be done well without one.
I was also able to find a copy of Charcuterie at the big city library, and am looking forward to reading through it, although it is probably well beyond my skills at this point. That, and I can't pronounce the name either! :)

This post was edited by KSprairie on Fri, Aug 22, 14 at 1:43

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 10:59AM
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Thank you both for your suggestions. I downloaded some recipes from Hank's website (including the stroganoff) and particularly liked his tutorial on Basic Sausage Making with the great photos. Nice introduction for beginners like me. I doubt I will ever be in your league but it would be fun to learn and his instructions seem clear. Hank's Chilindron Stew is one I definitely have to try too. Thanks. sam

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 4:07PM
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Hank's Chilindron is delicious on a cold winter night. We've made it a few times, and love it.

Edited to add: it freezes very well, too, so we make a big batch.

This post was edited by malna on Wed, Aug 20, 14 at 17:21

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 5:02PM
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I just noticed you edited your post.

Summer sausage is cured (it has Instacure #1 aka Prague powder aka sodium nitrate in it) and smoked.

We do eat it cold as a snack, with crackers and homemade mustard, etc. Also delicious lightly pan fried or simmered in liquid. It's good stuff.

You may have gotten it in larger casings so it looks more like a salami size. We just happen to prefer smaller, natural casings. We also grind ours a little coarser so it's not as finely textured as , say a bologna (that just looks wrong - it's pronounced baloney, right?)

Regional names for meat differ so much, it's hard to tell what "country sausage" might be. Around here, that's a fresh breakfast type sausage patty. Obviously, not what you described.

And, no, I have not graduated to dry cured salamis. I don't have the space, the controlled environment, or the appetite to eat that much salami :-)

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 11:58AM
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trmeyer(z5a MO)

KsPrairie, I wonder if you are thinking of a polish sausage type or even an italian sausage type. Or a kielbasa. I know what you are talking about because we eat that a lot too. We have cooked it with sauerkraut or just plain. My in-laws use chunks of it for kebabs on the grill. The andouille might be similar also. My husband works at a small butcher shop where we live (about 3400 people in our town) and he is in charge of most of the sausage, salami and such making. I wish I could share the recipe they use but they have had it copyrighted so I can't. The ratio in their batches of venison to pork though is usually 80% venison and 20% pork. They do batches of summer sausage and such in 100 pound batches. We have a book called Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing. I put the amazon link in case you would like to look at it. It is a great book to get. We got ours from the company where we ordered our meat grinder and sausage stuffer, but I can't remember what the name was. I hope some of this info helps a little bit.

Tracy M.
Northeast Missouri

Here is a link that might be useful: Great Sausage Recipes and Cured Meats

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 2:16PM
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Regional names do differ so much! Local butchers seem to have their own specialties, so it's not always easy to find the same thing somewhere else.

Thank you for the link Tracy. I will take a look at that book. I understand about not being able to share the recipe! That's pretty common, and I can't blame them.
You know, the country sausage is more like a kielbasa than the others, but without reading descriptions of all of those, I can't articulate how they differ! The kielbasa we buy at the grocer is more of a moist product, but it is similar. Sounds like I just need to start trying some recipes and see what we like!
I have a lot of venison packaged in 3 to 4# bags in the freezer that still need to be ground and processed into something before fall hunting comes around again. I'm just a little busy with the garden produce now! :)

I also appreciate the tips from you all on using hog casings rather than collagen.

This thread is making me hungry.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 2:46PM
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I should have remembered to link Len Poli's site. Lots and lots of sausage recipes with pictures.

Also, the book that Tracy recommended is available at - that's probably the company she was thinking of. Also, another source for casings, seasonings, "odd ingredients", etc. is outside of Detroit. I've dealt with both companies and can recommend them.

We do prefer to use frozen venison in cured and smoked sausages, and make fresh sausages like bratwurst (for freezing) with fresh venison.

Here is a link that might be useful: Len Poli's Sausage Recipes

This post was edited by malna on Fri, Aug 22, 14 at 15:21

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 3:17PM
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More great information, that will be very helpful, thanks. :)

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 4:01PM
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trmeyer(z5a MO)

Yes, it was I just followed a link there for a dehydrator and remembered that it was that site. That company is AWESOME! When we got the meat grinder the ring was screwed on crooked and it cracked the ring and you couldn't get it off. I emailed them and sent a few pics of the problem and they shipped one out to me that day, got it the next. I asked about a return shipping label and they told me to just keep the other one. It was a hand cranked one, but it was still an expensive purchase. I always have to look up the site, but I recommend everyone to go there. They have the best customer service. And we got all of our items very quickly.

We don't get to make a whole bunch of our own sausages and such mainly because by the time my husband gets home he is tired of messing with it. And also since he works there he can take our meat in and make a small batch after hours. So not much gets done in our house anymore. Not that I'm complaining because it is kind of a messy procedure. But I like to make jerky and stuff myself.

I also have a big bag of frozen deer meat in the freezer to grind up. It has to go to the shop with my hubby to thaw in their walk in cooler and he is going to grind it there. Then we are going to can it instead of refreezing it. Some will be done in chunks probably because I use that a lot in all kinds of different recipes. It's nice to see other people here that do this type of stuff and don't think I'm a nut for it. Oh well. I'm going to have food to eat if anything ever happens.

Tracy M.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 11:03PM
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trmeyer(z5a MO)

KSPrairie, I was talking to my husband about this and he said if you do like a kielbasa with the venison, it would be naturally drier than regular kielbasa because of the deer meat to pork ration. Since kielbasa is made with just pork or whatever at the store. :) So maybe if you tried one of those recipes that might actually be what you are looking for. Hope you get some time soon to be able to experiment. I understand about all the garden produce because right now I am drowning. I'm not complaining, just drowning.


    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 7:44AM
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Tracy, you make a great point about venison being more dry than a pork or beef product. I think a kielbasa recipe would be a good place to start and go from there. Even if it is not exactly what I am looking for, I bet it will be good!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 2:10PM
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I will offer a few unsolicited comments :-)

We never refreeze meat unless it is cooked or cured and smoked. For instance, if we grind frozen meat, we make meat loaf, partially bake them and refreeze the meat loaves. We wouldn't make it into burgers and refreeze the uncooked burgers. Canning would be fine, as you are essentially cooking it.

I've tried four or five versions of venison kielbasa. We've done 50/50 venison to pork, 60/40 venison to pork, 70/30 venison to pork. The best of the three was the 50/50 - the others were much too dry. We now just do all pork, and make other sausage types with venison. But that's just a personal opinion.

Last fall, I posted our kielbasa recipe (with lots of pictures) over on the Cooking forum. There were a couple of lengthy discussions about cooking venison, which you might find interesting, too.

Here is a link that might be useful: Making Sausage-Cooking Forum

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 8:17AM
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malna, I was thinking about you. I have a new venison recipe and I really like it, courtesy of Chef Eric Villegas who now has Michigan Venison, a company in Traverse City that sells venison on line. We just shoot our own, of course, but it's getting more popular, I guess. Anyway, I like these a lot, they might sound good to you too...

Venison Potstickers

Author: Michigan Venison
A delicious Asian flare for our whitetail venison.

•Potsticker Filling:

•1lb. ground venison
•4 c. water
•1-1/2 c. shredded or finely sliced cabbage
•½ c. finely chopped green onion
•1-1/2 Tbs. freshly grated ginger
•2 Tbs. oyster sauce
•2 Tbs. salt (for softening cabbage)
•1 tsp. soy sauce
•1 tsp. fish sauce (aka patis or nam pla)

•Other Ingredients:

•50 wonton wrappers
•bowl of ½ c. water (used as glue for sealing potstickers)
•½ c. canola oil

1.Combine cabbage, 4 c. water, and salt in medium bowl and let sit for 15-20 minutes, tossing every 5 minutes to make sure all cabbage is softened. In larger bowl, combine all other filling ingredients. Drain and rinse cabbage, and add to meat mixture. Mix in thoroughly. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper to hold raw dumplings.

2.Assembling Potstickers: Place about 2 teaspoons of filling in center of wonton wrapper. Dip finger into water bowl, then line two adjacent sides of wrapper with water from finger. Fold the two dry sides of wrapper on top of the two water-lined sides and pinch closed (NOTE: make sure potsticker edge is completely sealed, otherwise the juices may run during cooking and your potstickers may dry out). At this point, your potsticker should look like a pudgy triangle. Fold each corner of the triangle in toward the center of the potsticker, using a little dab of water to ‘glue’ the corners down. Place assembled potsticker on parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

3.Cooking Potstickers: Pour about ¼ c. canola oil into the bottom of large sauce pan and bring to medium high heat. When pan is nice and hot and evenly coated, line the bottom of the pan with one layer of potstickers. We were able to fit about ½ of the batch into our pan at a time. Fry potstickers over high heat until the bottoms look golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Once bottoms of dumplings look nice and crispy, add enough water to submerge the bottom half of the potstickers. Cover pan with lid tilted so that steam can escape. Continue to cook until all water evaporated from pan and you hear the dumplings start to sizzle again, which can take anywhere from 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and serve with either tongs or a spatula. If you are going to cook the whole batch in one go, place potstickers on foil-lined try (photo below), wipe out the bottom of pan with paper towel to get the crusty bits out, then add remaining ¼ c. of canola oil and start process again.

4.Saving Potstickers: If you’re not going to eat all of the potstickers in one sitting, put the tray of raw dumplings in the freezer overnight. Make sure potstickers are not touching, otherwise they will freeze together. Once they are completely frozen, place them in a large zip-lock bag (or portion into smaller bags) and keep in freezer for up to a month.

Now, I've got to find time to make more liverwurst, I just used up my last piece and I have about 10 more pounds of beef liver in the freezer....


    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 11:32PM
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Thanks for the recipe. I'm always looking for new ways to cook venison. DH says I should write a venison cookbook (So when would that happen, hon? In my spare time? LOL)

I have some nice Napa cabbage ready to harvest, so I'll have to try these. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 8:11AM
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Yes, malna, would you just do that in your spare time? (grin)

I used regular cabbage in mine and they turned out well, I've got to make those again.


    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 1:00AM
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I have held to the general rule of thumb to not refreeze meat as well. When I partially thaw venison and grind it, then I typically make jerky out of it right away, so it gets dried, cured and sometimes smoked.
I have on occassion had to refreeze ground meat when the unexpected has come up and I couldn't finish the project. I don't know how much that affects the end product on something as basic as jerky.

I haven't done any experimenting with any other product made from ground venison other than jerky. So I am needing to branch out some! Since we like venison in just about anything, it would seem that the options are pretty wide open. I appreciate your input on your experience with making venison kielbasa. I have never even browsed over on the cooking forum, so thanks for the link!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 1:20PM
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I hope I didn't come across too "know-it-all"ish. I'm the first to admit I don't!

I have heard, numerous times, "If I defrost it and don't cook it, I just refreeze it. So whatsamattawiththat?" It seems "logical" but a lot of people don't realize that is not a smart thing to do.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 3:47PM
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I sincerely appreciate your advice!!! You sound well-experienced, not a "know-it-all" :)

It is so helpful to learn from others you have already been through it. I am going to try be more creative with venison this year, so I love to hear of other people's recipes, as well as the trial and errors!

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 1:10AM
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