These Venison Hot Dogs were the epitome of labor of love.
When I think of hot dogs my mind normally goes two places. The positive way is eating some tasty all beef dogs, at a baseball game, enjoying America’s pastime. The negative way makes me think of the book the Jungle and the stereotypes of them being made out of pig feet, lips, and other less tantalizing parts. Either way you look at it, they sure are tasty 😂.
When starting out this adventure of making your own hot dogs, you don’t realize how much work goes into it. You have to grind your meat twice, emulsify it in a food processor, stuff it into casings, and then bring it up to temperature. All this makes you wonder how companies can make hot dogs so cheap. Then you see the giant factories with expensive machines, that do the whole process for you, and you understand.
Some important notes I found that helped throughout this process is COLD. Keep everything cold. Because you’re putting the meat through a couple different processes, it opens up the chances of fat smearing, and the consistency being off. Freeze your meat after every step and you should be fine. Another note is having help. You can do this all by yourself, but once you get to the sausage stuffer an extra set of hands is INCREDEBLY useful.
If you have a family, or group of friends, you could totally make a day out of it and turn pounds and pounds of venison into tasty hot dogs! They are very good and the transformation from pink gloop into delicious red wienies is an incredible sight to see. I was honestly blown away with how they came out and the consistency was incredible! If you do end up giving this labor of love a try let me know in the comments and ENJOY!!
Venison Hot Dogs
- 3.5 lbs venison cut into pieces small enough fit into your grinder
- 1.5 lbs pork fat cut into pieces small enough fit into your grinder
- cellulose hot dog casings ~25mm
- 2 T kosher salt
- 1 T white pepper
- 1/2 T sugar
- 1 T paprika
- 3/4 T garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 1 tsp Prague Powder #1
- 2 C ice water prepare before using the food processor
- Freeze your venison and pork fat pieces for ~30-60 minutes after cutting into grinder size pieces.
- Grind the meat through coarse plate.
- Mix your seasonings into your meat by hand and put back in the freezer for ~30-60 minutes.
- Grind the meat again switching to a fine plate.
- Freeze the meat again for ~30-60 minutes.
- Depending on how big your food processor is you might need to work in batches.
- Place half of your meat into your food processor with half of you ice water.
- Pulse for ~2 minutes until it turns into a thick paste/emulsified mixture.
- Remove from the food processor and place into your sausage stuffer.
- Make sure the mixture stays below ~40°F. Keeping the mixture that cold will stop the fat from smearing.
- Place the other half of your meat mixture and ice water into your food processor and repeat the process.
- Once all of your meat is into the sausage stuffer, punch down the meat to try to get out as many air pockets as possible.
- Place your cellulose casings onto your stuffer. Push the casings all the way back until you run out of space. The casings should be ~1 inch in diameter so you need a stuffer under ~1 inch to fit.
- When you run out of space cut your casings and tie it off at the end. I used kitchen twine to tie it off.
- Preheat your smoker to 180°F. I used a competition blend of pellets, but most fruitwoods would work well here.
- Start stuffing your casings, two people makes this process a lot easier. If you have any blowouts in the casings just cut the casings, pinch out some of the exposed meat, and tie it off again at the end with kitchen twine.
- After you have all of your sausage in casings, and tied off at both ends, you can twist them at your desired hot dog sizes. I found that using kitchen twine to tie off each hot dog, at ~6-8 inches, worked fine without needing to twist each dog to and away from you.
- Put your hotdogs onto your smoker. If you have a vertical smoker where you can hang them that works. If you have a regular one you can place them flat on that works too.
- Smoke for ~3 hours or until the hot dogs have reached 155-160°F. If you have an ugly or tiny hot dog wait for ~45 minutes and then stick your probe into that one to get a temp.
- Remove your hotdogs and immediately place into an ice bath, for a few minutes, to stop them from cooking and to also make the cellulose casings easier to remove.
- Remove from the ice bath and pat dry. Place into a fridge to let cool overnight.
- Remove the hot dogs and pull the casings off of them. Most should come off easily, but some you might need a knife to make an initial cut.
- Cook your hot dogs on the grill, fry on a pan, boil them, or store them for later use.