Wild Turkey Bratwurst
Traditional bratwurst involves pale meats such as veal and pork. Wild turkey is a great base for this iconic sausage. Including thigh along with breast improves flavor.
Wild Turkey Bratwurst
Traditional bratwurst involves pale meats such as veal and pork. Wild turkey is a great base for this iconic sausage. Including thigh along with breast improves flavor.
8lbs meat/fat
8lbs meat/fat
  • 5.4lbs Boneless wild turkey meat — Best is a mix of breast and thigh. Those who just “breast ’em out” & don’t save legs and thighs do not have permission to use this recipe. See notes below about dealing with pellets.
  • 1.1lb pork butt
  • 1.5lbs Fatback
Pre-grind ingredients
Post-grind ingredients
  • 8yards 32-35mm natural hog casing— Shop carefully, pricey in small quantities. Extra should last at least a year or two in the fridge if packed in salt.
  1. Get the pre-grind ingredients measured out and ready
  2. Cut meat and fat to fit grinder.
  3. mix meat (not fat) together with the “Pre-grind ingredients”, taking care to have the lemon zest well distributed – it tends to clump. Refrigerate covered. 12 hours is great, not less than 2 hours.
  4. Place meat, fat and removable grinder parts in freezer ≈ 20 minutes. You want the meat stiff but not frozen.
  5. Toast and lightly crush caraway seed with mortar and pestle. Get your remaining post-grind ingredients together.
  6. Grind semi-frozen fat through a coarse plate – 1/2″ (12.5mm) or 3/8″ (10mm).
  7. If you want to be fancy about it, divide the meat into two batches and grind the first batch through a coarse (3/8″ or 10mm) plate, then add the fat to the 2nd batch and grind through a fine plate (3/16″ or 4.5mm), then mix both batches together. This produces an interesting texture, but it’s OK to just grind everything through the 3/16″ plate, producing a more familiar brat.
  8. Add dry post-grind ingredients. Mix.
  9. Add remaining “Post-grind ingredients” (cream & egg). Mix well. If it looks too stiff for the stuffer, add ice water and mix until you are happy with the texture.
  10. Return meat to the refrigerator to chill below 35°F
  11. Prepare/rinse casings and soak in warm water 20 minutes. Set up stuffer.
  12. Stuff into casings and form into links. It’s not hard but there are some techniques. Watching a couple of youtube videos on sausage linking will help you much more than me trying to describe it. Try to fill the cases consistently loose enough they don’t burst when linked, but tight enough to become firm when linked. It takes practice. Do the linking right away before breaking down your stuffer, so if you have “exploders” you can add the recovered meat back to the stuffer for a second try.
  13. Secret note: it turns out the leftover bit in the stuffer and tube is the perfect amount to slap into patties and fry right away for a well-earned Scoobie snack with a dab of mustard. They brown up nice!
  14. Optionally poach links in 160°F water (or beer!) until sausage hits 152°F internal, ≈ 25 minutes. Try to get close with the water temp — definitely do NOT boil or let the sausages get much above 152°F. Sous vide is even better than poaching – retains more flavor and easier to be precise, but difficult to accomplish in a large batch. The “water displacement” method is better than vacuum, to avoid distorting the shape of the sausage. Once the center of the sausage hits 152°F, if you hold it there for at least 3 minutes that sausage will be pasteurized, which increases the safe shelf life. Don’t go much longer or to a higher temp or you will render too much fat. See notes below for more info.
  15. Immediately chill links in ice water to 90°F or cooler.
  16. Hang links at room temp to dry for an hour or so. Refrigerate a day or two then wrap well and freeze. Or leave in fridge and use within a few days. Cook and serve like any other bratwurst.
Recipe Notes

Poaching is optional, but with sausages containing eggs and dairy it works best — creating a nice firm texture. If making patties you can poach them using the sous-vide method then brown them with a torch or on a hot grill or pan..

Like any other game taken with birdshot, it is VERY important to remove any pellets before cooking. This involves careful, observant trimming before packaging for the freezer. “Candling” meat strips when preparing large pieces for grinding is a good last step to be sure you didn’t miss any. A small percentage of any lead you may have missed is “bio-available”. No safe level has been established for children or pregnant women. And if you use non-toxic shot such as bismuth, steel, or tungsten – errant pellets may be hard enough to break your grinder knife and damage your grinder plate. Not to mention your teeth.

If poaching via sous-vide, avoid applying enough vacuum to distort the casing. Either use the water displacement method, or an external style sealer — pressing the “seal” button the instant you hear the motor pitch change or see that nearly all of the air is out. If using a chamber-style sealer turn the vacuum time down far enough so that there is a little bit of space still visible around the brats – you may have to waste a bag or two dialing that setting in.

Cook and serve like any other bratwurst. Take them to at least 165°F. Best if nicely browned. Enjoy!

View online at KillerNoms.com/turkeybrats