I love making my own wild game bratwurst. This Italian Bratwurst recipe is one of the most versatile options that we make. Italian Sausage is a family favorite of ours and this sausage can be used in a variety of dishes. We almost always package bulk sausage in addition to stuffing links when making this recipe.

Again, like many of my other brat recipes, I normally don’t like to add plain pork or beef fat to this recipe. I have found that the addition of fatty pork meat is just enough to do the trick, and the cost is not much different.

This recipe makes 24 lbs. of brats. I typically like to make 25 lb. batches.

  • 12 lbs. venison
  • 12 lbs. pork (I use pork butts)  (can use all venison and substitute 20% added fat)
  • 1/2 cup garlic, minced
  • ½ cup pink sea salt
  • ½ cup fennel seeds
  • ½ cup dried onion flakes
  • 2 tablespoons oregano
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 cup ground black pepper
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3-4 cups cold dark beer or water
  • Hog, sheep, or synthetic casings

Hot/Spicy Option

  • 1 (medium) to 3 (hot spicy) tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • ¼ (medium) to ½ (hot spicy) cup red pepper flakes

Step 1 – Trim and cube both the venison and pork into 1-2 inch cubes and combine the meats together. The meat will grind better if very cold and almost frozen.

Step 2 – Mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl

Step 3 – Incrementally add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly in a tub. Once you have a decent mix, and all the meat pieces are coated, add the water/beer and red wine vinegar and mix thoroughly a second time.

Step 4 – Grind the meat through a medium (7mm) grinding plate. If you want to make the grind smaller, then run the meat through a small (4-5mm) plate a second time. I personally prefer to grind through the medium plate. The smaller plates seem to mash the meat too much for my liking. You can also add a little more liquid to the mixture if it feels dry. Mix very thoroughly after grinding to ensure the ingredients are spread evenly throughout the meat.

Step 5 – Using a stuffer, stuff casings with the ground meat mixture into a pre-prepared natural hog, sheep, or synthetic casings. If you’re using natural casings, be sure to soak them in warm water the full amount of time on the directions (usually a couple of hours). I prefer to use hog casings. Sheep casings are very nice, but they are typically more expensive.

HINT: When I’m using natural casings, I use a large syringe, turkey baster or similar, to add a small amount of warm water inside the casing. I do this before I begin to slide the casings on the stuffer tube. This makes sliding the casings on the stuffer tube much easier and helps the meat to pack better.

Step 6 – I mentioned above that you could also package into burger bags as bulk sausage.

Some people prefer to tighten up the links after stuffing. This works great if you have the space to refrigerate the links a day before freezing. If you don’t have the time, going directly into the freezer will work just fine.

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