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Game Dishes: Deer Sausage Gravy

While a southern delicacy, nearly anyone can appreciate good sausage gravy, especially when smothered over a biscuit for biscuits and gravy or over toast for S.O.S. Sausage gravy is a milk-based gravy that is easy to make, even with a leaner sausage like that from deer meat. If you make your own wild game sausage instead of using a processor, you can experiment with different flavors that can enhance the overall flavor. The pro tip for sausage gravy is ensuring you have enough fat to add to get a good roux started. The leaner the sausage mix the more extra fat you'll need to add.

First, let's assemble the ingredients as having everything on hand makes life much easier during the cooking process. (Ingredients listed are for one batch)

  • 1-lb of deer sausage (hot or mild)
  • 6 tablespoons of butter (3 for roux, 3 for finishing)
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 2 cups of milk (whole milk is better, but 1 or 2% will work)
  • hot sauce
  • salt and pepper

deer-sausage-gravy-ingredients

I prefer to use a cast iron skillet for making sausage gravy, as it responds well when managing temperature with the stove, the raised sides contain the gravy and because it has a little bit of nostalgia.

Brown the meat

Our first cooking step is to brown the sausage in the pan. Brown the meat thoroughly on medium-high heat, but not full high to prevent burning. With venison (deer, elk, antelope) sausage, there is not a lot of fat that renders out. As the meat becomes browned, add in 3 tablespoons of butter to melt and mix with the browned meat.

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Make a roux

The key to any good sauce or gravy is making a roux. A roux is a flour and fat mixture that serves as a base for the liquid to build upon. With the browned meat/butter combo, we are going to spread the flour over top and mix it together. Maintain medium-high heat and stir frequently. We want everything coated with flour and a slight dryness throughout. If there is excess liquid, add a little more flour to even out the mixture. Unlike a dark/brown gravy, we only want to cook until you get a light golden/slightly brown color to the flour before we start adding liquid.

deer-sausage-gravy-flour1

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Gravy!

Now we turn the roux into gravy with our milk. We will turn the temperature down to medium, and add the milk slowly while stirring. Be sure to get the bits and flour off of the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring to mix the milk with the flour. As the milk starts to thicken, keep stirring until bubbles start to appear and turn to low heat (you cannot over-stir during this process).

deer-sausage-gravy-milk

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Now we add the hot sauce (2-3 splashes), salt and pepper to taste. If you like some spice, be heavy handed with the hot sauce. I prefer a strong pepper flavor, so I'll add extra pepper to my gravy. Just beware of adding too much salt to start. Be sure to be stirring off and on to prevent the gravy from burning to the bottom of the pan. If the mixture gets too thick, stir in more milk to thin it back out.

deer-sausage-gravy-seasoning

deer-sausage-gravy-stir

With the mixture starting to look like gravy, take a taste-test and make sure the spices are where you want. After a 5 minutes or so of stirring on low, stir in the remaining butter for a little extra richness.

deer-sausage-gravy-butter

Biscuits and Gravy

Now that we have a delicious gravy mixed up, the best way to eat it, in my opinion, is smothered over biscuits. While there are some delicious homemade biscuit recipes, the canned biscuits work well and can be cooked while making the gravy. Once cooked (I look for a golden brown bottom), either cut the biscuit in half or shred into small pieces in a bowl. Then smother a healthy serving of gravy on top and enjoy!

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