Onion & Beer Braised Elk Bratwurst

In Carnivores Kitchen by Chef John McGannon, WildEats.comLeave a Comment

Bratwursts are originally from Germany and have been around since the 1300’s. There are many variations that vary from region to region. They are traditionally made with pork, beef and veal, but it would seem logical to incorporate our own specialty meat (elk) to produce the Rocky Mountain varietal.

The key to incorporating full flavored wild game meat into this mildly spiced sausage is to dry age your game meat before using in this recipe. The most important concept is understanding that you need to remove (dry) the capillary blood to remove the “gamey” flavor associated with wild game meat.

Ingredients
7 lbs pork shoulder
6 lb, Elk Shoulder or other tough cut, silver skin removed,
3 lbs pork fat
(all cut into 1 inch cubes)
8 tbsp kosher salt

dried seasonings*
3 tbsp ground white pepper
4 tbsp dried marjoram
4 tsp caraway seeds
3 tsp ground mace or nutmeg
3 tsp ground allspice
2 tbsp crushed red chili flakes
2 inches, grated fresh ginger
7 tbsp fresh minced garlic
zest of 2 lemons or limes
1 1/2 tbsp pink curing salt (optional)
3 cups ice cubes
10-12 feet medium hog casings

Procedure:
Place all the ingredients in a large container. Mix very well, cover and store in the refrigerator overnight to allow the seasonings and salt to penetrate the meat and set up the proteins. This step will give you a smooth consistent texture. If you don’t let the sausage cure the end result will be grainy.

After sitting overnight run the meat through a grinder, first through the big holes (1/4 inch) then through the smaller one (1/8 inch). At this point you can store the sausage as bulk or put them into casings. I use medium sized hog casings. Have a pin handy when you’re filling the casings. You can prick the casings as you are filling the sausage to remove the air pockets. At this point you can tie off the links or braid them to get the desired size links. Once you have them sectioned now I hang the sausage and blow-dry them with a fan for about an hour. This dry’s out the casings so when you cook them they’ll have a nice crunchy texture and not chewy.
At this point you can get ready to cook or wrap and hold in the freezer for a use later on.

Braised Onions & Beer Bath
1 qt sliced yellow onions
3 tbsp fresh garlic
1/4 lb. butter
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp WildEats Burger Dust (optional)
2-3 rosemary or marjoram sprig
2 12 oz. bottles of beer

Procedure:
Melt the butter in a medium saucepot. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add the sliced onions, herbs, seasonings and beer. Bring to a simmer and place 8 or so brats into the bath. Slowly simmer until the sausage is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Due to the lean nature of this formula, go straight from the bath to a glowing grill or heated pan.

These sausages should be served with crusty bread, hearty mustard and of course very cold BEER!

* – Take your spice/herbs to a new level of flavor try dry toasting them in a skillet over medium heat for a couple of minutes or until you can start to smell their fragrances. This little trick will produce flavors you won’t believe.

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