Editor’s note: As hunters and fishermen, we don’t agree on everything. We’ve even been known to argue on occasion. That’s why this week is all about who’s right and who’s just plain wrong. Every day we’ll post stories to get to the bottom of the most important hunting and fishing debates, like 870 versus 500, 12 gauge versus 20 gaugeand fly fishing vs spinning. Today, Whitetails Editor Scott Bestul goes head-to-head with Editor Dave Hurteau over the best deer camp venison snacks. Welcome to Versus Week.
The case of the summer sausage
Jerky. Some people like that. Dentists, mostly; bright-eyed men and women who build dream homes and fund their children’s Ivy League education by mending cracked teeth and irritated gums from the poor saps that insist on gnawing on parched deer meat. It’s a safe bet that most of these unfortunate patients are endurance sports athletes who also find whey powder, energy bars and sports drinks to be appropriate substitutes for proper nutrition.
Of course jerky has other fans. Mountaineers, with no prospect of firing a gun or wielding a Bowie knife at something tasty for the next month, always preferred jerky to grubs, berries, or saguaro cactus.
The rest of us who know what’s good, unlike Hurteau, get sausages every time. Think about this: Anyone with a shred of common sense when it comes to wild game cooking knows that rule #1 is: Do not overcook the meat. So what do people do with jerky? They take a slice of perfectly fine venison, cut it into scabby strips, throw chemicals or healing potions on it, and dry it into a piece of rawhide.
Jerky “aficionados” will protest and point to milder versions of their favorite jerky snack, where lean ground meat is tossed with spices and then cured or cured. Definitely a step up from normal survival fare, but really just an indication of laziness. With just a little more work, you can create a summer sausage that people will line up to eat, then ask for a few seconds while they suggest the recipe.
summer sausage smoker
Sausage making is both art and craft, where family recipes including the precise amounts of spices, fats and other additions (cheeses, peppers, wild rice, even berries) are a closely guarded secret. Stuffed into a casing, then lovingly smoked for hours, the end product can be used in sandwiches, cooked for breakfast, or served as an appetizer at a holiday meal or festive event. And, of utmost importance to most of us, summer sausage is that celebrated treat at deer camps across the country. Jerky is the stuff you grab to fill your belly while you’re freezing in a treestand.
It’s also worth noting that artisan sausage makers partner with national and international competitions and flaunt any ensuing awards like an actor would an Oscar. The nation’s best jerky makers celebrate when they display their wares on a truck stop counter.
I’ve lived in deer country for decades, and oftentimes I’ll give property owners a sausage stick as a thank-you gift for the privilege of hunting deer on their property. Although invariably kind and gracious by nature, these farmers look forward to their annual summer sausage with enthusiasm and delight. “It’s not necessary, but it’s much appreciated,” they exclaim as they accept the delicious venison. “Come back and hunt next fall.”
Read more : The Complete Guide to Making Wild Game Sausages
If I tried this with a bag of jerky, you and I knew exactly what would happen: Farmer Joe would feed the withered meat to his dogs as a chew toy, and I’d be asked to pay a rental fee for the next one. to fall. No thanks. It doesn’t matter that I can’t afford modern rental rates, but I just don’t treat my friends that way. —Scott Bestul
Jerky, the original protein snack, was made by ancient Egyptians as early as 1386 BC. who placed it in tombs as a small mummified morsel of meat for the journey to Ra, and it lasted there long enough for archaeologists to find it thousands of years later. The Quechua people of present-day Peru began making a portable piece of meat most resembling today’s jerky around 1550 using llama and alpaca meat, and they named it “jerk”, d where does the word “jerky” come from? Native Americans made pemmican, a kind of jerky meatball of bison, deer or antelope rolled up with dried fruit. Of the 9 pounds of meat members of the Corp of Discovery consumed a day, much of it was cured into “jurky” or “jirky,” according to expedition logs. For Jim Bridger and Calamity Jane, jerky was a staple.
In other words, jerky is the outdoor enthusiast’s snack. Now, argues Bestul, like many underdeveloped jaw muscles do, jerky is difficult. But that misses the point. Jerky is a tough snack for tough people, for mountain people and cowboys, and especially for hunters and fishermen.
But I’m not here to talk jerkily. I’m here to bang the summer sausage.
Summer sausage is not good. It’s not bad, I guess, but it’s too chewy and bland to be good. It was brought to America by German immigrants, along with Vienna sausages and head cheese, and found its biggest fans in the Upper Midwest, where Bestul lives, and where the tuna casserole is also a big hit. . I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with tuna stew. I’m just stating the facts here.
Summer sausage belongs to that category of things that people think are good but aren’t good, like Sting or dance with wolvesexcept it’s not this good. It’s more like Hootie and the Blowfish and howard the duck. You know how you know summer sausage is no good: people never push you for jerky, but they always give you summer sausage. Every Christmas you get summer sausages that are still in your fridge on the 4th of July because you don’t want them wasted, but you don’t want to eat them either.
No one brings venison jerky to deer camp. Nobody says, “Hey, eat my venison jerky.” But you can’t go to camp without having summer sausages imposed on you. “Dude, my butcher makes the best summer sausage. Go ahead. Have some. I brought a lot. Please eat my summer sausage!”
I was just talking with Will Brantley, editor of F&S Hunting, who, yes, still talks to me, and he said he always had several sticks of venison summer sausages made up with much, much more jerky – and the jerky is always gone long before the summer sausage is. I had the same experience with my family, without even bothering to have the summer sausage made. When I make jerky, I’m lucky to get a bite of it. But that Christmas summer sausage is still there in the fridge, like a meat-emulsified guilt trip.
Read more : The Ultimate Guide to Making Wild Game Jerky
I agree that the deer summer sausage is better than the commercial sausage, but only because it doesn’t come with an assortment of smoked cheeses. By right, it should come with a jar of Miracle Whip and a stick of margarine and a bottle of non-dairy hazelnut creamer and a block of Velveeta. But it’s not, and that’s a plus.
And you know what else is a plus, if someone gives you a venison summer sausage stick you can always pawn it at the deer camp. “Go ahead. Have some. I brought a lot. —Dave Hurteau