When the Freezer’s Full

You can tell when people like meat. Their eyes light up at the mention of mallard and they smile and ask, “What’s this?” as they reach out for a mytery offering.

I appreciate people who have an adventurous appetite.

My wife will not eat game meat, except pheasant. She likes fish, but even fish often take a back seat to anything Safeway.

When I hunt, I prefer to shoot stuff. Bringing home a prize is part of the fun. I enjoy preparing game to eat, but without eaters I’m at a disadvantage.

That’s why my freezer fills up.

When that happens, it’s time to get to work.

On my Idaho trip I came home with 50 pounds of pure meat and also found a great Jerky and Sausage Supply store in the small Idaho town of Kooskia. I went a little overboard purchasing seasonings and cures, but I’m having fun with them. The company has an online store:  www.eldonsausage.com.

Over the past week, I’ve made three batches of jerky. The first two were with venison and I tried Eldon’s Original and AC Legg’s Maple Style. I prefered the Eldon’s original. While brining meat in Eldon’s Premium Ham Brine in preparation for smoking, I threw in some duck breasts from non-mallards. I often make jerky from the likes of spoonies, cinnamon teal, wigeon and gadwall.

Another good brine for jerky is a 50/50 mix of soy sauce and Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce. With these, overnight brining is enough.

On the other hand, the ham brine recipe calls for several days of soaking. After 5 days I decided to check out the meat. It was ready for smoking while the breasts were ready for the jerky maker. Yesterday I fired up my water smoker  and sliced the breasts in preparation for the dehydrator. (I use a NESCO, American Harvest Food Dehydrator and Jerky Maker. It works well.)

After a day of smoking, the meat (ducks, geese and venison) came out of the smoker looking quite good and tasting great. I have to watch myself while I’m doing all this because if I eat too much of the product I swell up like a balloon. You don’t want to take in too much salt! That’s why you need eaters!

The “ham-brine”  duck jerky also came out excellent, but the Eldon’s Original is still my favorite.

Last weekend I made a big dent in the venison by producing 15 pounds of summer sausage with  High Mountain Seasoning’s summer sausage kit. It came out perfect. I highly recommend their product – just follow the directions.

My grinder is a Cabela’s Heavy Duty Grinder that I purchased for about $70. It will produce two pounds per minute and that’s fast enough for me. I don’t know how long it will last, but I’ve already got my money’s worth.

Now my freezer has some room, but (hopefully) not for long.

One thought on “When the Freezer’s Full

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