Wild Turkey Bratwurst

This is a great generic bratwurst recipe, and wild turkey meat is a fine base for sausage. But like most recipes adapted from domestic to wild meat, fat can be a critical factor.

Wild turkey breast is among the very leanest of game meats, and needs the addition of a bit more fat than others—or sausages can turn out dry or mealy.

Hover here for the “skinny” on fat…

Game sausage recipes always include added fat, usually pork. They use words like “shoulder trimmings” or “butt” or just “fat”.

The noble pig sports several types:

  • FatBack: (a.k.a. back fat) The hard fat found on the back of the pig. With a high melting point It is exceptionally well suited for sausage. It sometimes comes skin-on, in which case be sure to remove the skin.
  • Jowl fat: Prized by fancy artisinal sausage makers for it’s more creamy texture.
  • Shoulder Butt: (a.k.a. Boston butt, shoulder) A roast heavily marbled with excellent fat for sausage. The butt is the most common fat specified in game recipes. Keep in mind a whole butt is about 30% fat, 70% lean. Butt trimmings are much higher in fat percentage, up to 90% depending on who did the trimming. So there is a huge difference and they are not interchangeable in a sausage recipe.
  • Belly Fat: (a.k.a pork belly, where bacon comes from) A soft fat with a low melting point. Some recipes call for it, but some sources consider it unsuited for sausage. Probably best not to use belly fat or bacon unless the recipe calls for it or you’re experimenting on purpose.
  • Kidney Fat: (a.k.a. leaf lard) A hard intestinal fat concentrated around the kidneys. Possibly too hard for sausage, but it makes the flakiest pastries and the best lard.

Be warned that many grocery store meat counter folks, and even some butchers, don’t understand all of the above. I’ve had butchers tell me there is no difference between back fat and shoulder fat, and it just ain’t so.

Cost can vary all over the place – from free or close to it, to those who will charge as if it was loin. $1/lb or more for fat seems a bit like robbery.

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Tweaking sausage recipes is part of the game. But two ingredients are worthy of caution: salt and fat. Too much or too little of either can ruin your sausage. If adjusting fat or salt in a proven recipe, it's best to test with a small batch first. Salt density varies widely by type and even brand. Going by weight is safest. But if you measure by volume using a different type of salt than the recipe presumes—you could be way off. The intarwebs has a WIDE range of opinions on the salt density of the various types and brands. The volumes in this recipe are based on sources that seemed the most credible.
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
lbs sausage
Ingredients
Meat
Salt by weight or volume - PICK JUST ONE!
Pre-grind ingredients
Post-grind ingredients
Other
  • 16 ft sausage casing - or just make patties. Here is some extra text to show line wrapping
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
lbs sausage
Ingredients
Meat
Salt by weight or volume - PICK JUST ONE!
Pre-grind ingredients
Post-grind ingredients
Other
  • 16 ft sausage casing - or just make patties. Here is some extra text to show line wrapping
Instructions
  1. Cut meat and fat to fit grinder, mix together with salt and "Pre-grind ingredients". Refrigerate 2-12 hours.
  2. Soak casings in warm water if you plan to stuff.
  3. Place meat and removable grinder parts in freezer for ≈ 20 minutes
  4. Grind half through course plate, half through fine plate.
  5. Return meat to freezer until firmly chilled (≤ 35°F)
  6. mix in "Post-grind ingredients". Mix well.
  7. Stuff into casing or form into patties. To make links, pinch about 6" apart and rotate 3 or 4 times away from you, then pinch the next link and rotate towards you. Continue alternating for the whole casing.
  8. Poach links in 160°F water 25 minutes. Try to get close with the water temp - definitely do NOT boil, or run longer than 25 minutes.
  9. Immediately chill links in ice water.
  10. Hang links to dry. Refrigerate and use within a week, or freeze.
Recipe Notes

Poaching before refrigerating or freezing is not 100% necessary, but with sausages containing eggs and dairy it works best, creating a nice texture. Obviously you don't poach patties.

Serve using whatever cooking method you normally use for brats but results will be best if they are nicely browned. Enjoy!

View online at http://KillerNoms.com/turkeybrats

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