Bratwurst just in time for Octoberfest

I purchased a pig this summer and had a bunch of ground pork in the freezer and was thinking about using it somehow but wasn't sure what to do with it.  Then my brother called and told me he still had ground venison left over from last year and wanted to know if I wanted to use it for anything, the lightbulb went on and I needed to make brats.  I had made some brats last years from Rytek Kutas' cookbook on  sausage making  and meat curing and they were pretty good so I thought maybe I could modify it a little and use venison instead of veal as the original recipe called for.

In my first batch of brats last year I followed the recipe which called for soy protein concentrate.  I had no idea what it was or how necessary it was or why it was even being used.  Then this last summer I was sitting at the firestone waiting for my oil too be change and struck up a conversation with the other guy waiting there.  As it turned out he was a butcher and ran a small butcher shop in St. Paul and was full of information and I was full of questions.  He explained to me that the soy protein is added to hold the liquid and to bind the sausage together.  When you grill the sausages they won't lose all there liquid and dry out.  He also shared his secret, that instead of using soy protein you could use instant milk in the powder form and it will do the same thing.  So when I through together this batch of Brats I gave that a try.

He was very much correct the powdered milk absorbed all the liquid and bound the sausage together and didn't alter the flavor at all.  After I made about ten pounds of brats and boiled a couple in beer then browned them with a little butter and served them with some pickled onions and some Gulden's spicy brown mustard and was very pleased with the end result.  The brats had just the right texture and had a great pop from the natural casings I used.  I think I found a recipe for brats that I will use and have plenty of brats to bring with this weekend for the opening of the duck season and an Octoberfest celebration.

Jamie's Venison Bratwurst

6 pounds ground pork
4 pounds ground venison
3 eggs
1 pint whole milk (ice cold)
2 cups powdered instant milk
1 tablespoon ground white pepper
1 tablespoon mace
1 tablespoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger
5 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder

Mix all ingredients together completely then let stand for a couple hours in the fridge, fry up a patty and adjust seasoning as needed.   Then stuff into pork casing and let stand over night in the fridge before freezing.