Thursday, December 6, 2007
The sausage is in!
Much as wine connoisseurs anticipate the arrival of this years nouveau beaujolais, we deer hunters await the yearly call from the meat market, "Hey, come on down and pick up your venison sausage, its all done." The way we do it at Reefer Creek camp is to field dress the deer in the woods and drag it back to camp where we skin the deer and completely bone out the meat on the picnic table. Anything that looks like a steak, chop, or roast is packaged and marked and any trim or off cuts go into the sausage bag.
The boned out carcass is left up in a tree for the Black Capped Chickadees to feed on over the winter. The fat and protein left on the bones keeps them warm as they winter in the area and in the spring the bones are taken down for other scavengers such as coyotes and fishers to feed on. The hides are usually donated to a program called Hides for Habitat. The sausage trim is then taken to one of many fine sausage makers in the area and combined with either pork or beef depending on whats being made, resulting in about twice as much sausage as the weight of trim you brought in. Our camp favors Jim's Meat Market in Iron River, WI and I personally like the Ukranian meat market, Kramarczuks, in northeast Minneapolis.
I got 'the call' on Monday, got over to pick up the sausage on Wednesday and after a couple hours with the Foodsaver sealer it was all freezer ready. The beer sticks however, need to be hung and dried for awhile. This causes great interest, salivating, slobbering, and angst on the part of Rookie, the part Australian Shepherd/part god knows what canine that lives here.
The same single minded enthusiasm for the beer sticks shared by Rookie and I is not quite as apparent in the Voice of Reason. The first question upon her arrival was, "How long do those beer sticks have to hang there?" The inference is that holiday guests might not enjoy the butcher chic ambiance nearly as much as Rookie and I do. She also made the point that the normal smells that people like around the holidays are scented candles, piney Christmas trees, cinnamon sticks and that sort of thing. Not so much garlic saturated meat sticks. She also pointed out that on the Wild Women kayak trip which she organized, foodstuffs like hummus, pita bread, goat cheese and sun dried tomato were enjoyed and there was not a single beer stick, string cheese, or big hunk of bread anywhere to be found at lunchtime. I personally would weaken, tip over, and not have the strength to roll up or wet exit on a prison camp-like diet of that nature but I'm told that all the WW functioned very well on it. In any event the bounty of this years deer hunt will be enjoyed on a regular basis until it runs out and next falls deer season rolls around. My personal hunting ethic is that I don't hunt anything I don't enjoy consuming and in this case that presents no ethical problem at all.