From the field to the smokehouse — Sausage making brings friends together after the hunt

abigsausageDanna Kohleffel entered the sausage house at the family property near Boerne carrying bottles of champagne, where her husband Theo, sons Chris and Nick, and a host of others began the day’s sausage-making efforts.

“It’s time for a toast to dad,” she said, referring to her late father, J. Martin Davis, who started the tradition in the early 1960s.

Friends and neighbors arrive with their cubed and thawed venison and pork, and the fun begins.

Neighbor Chuck made the mistake of arriving with his pork uncubed, and faced the music while the group gathered around the stainless steel table to finish the job.

“I just didn’t get time,” he said shamefully while the others complained.

People took their stations preparing the casings and mixing the meat while Theo applied the 1849 German and super-secret spice recipe — known only to him but to be passed to his sons someday. Others manned the grinder to ready the mixture for stuffing.

Next, the group stuffed both fresh and dried sausage, but only after cooking a small amount of each batch on the griddle to make sure the mixture was “just right.”

The job of cranking the old-time sausage stuffer gets handed to the newcomers, while the more experienced handle filling the casings and tying the links.

Over the two days, about 500 pounds of sausage made its way to the smokehouse, and after a week or so the dried sausage will hang to dry further.

Most of the crew has processed their own meat, beginning with harvesting and gutting the deer, followed by skinning quartering, deboning and cubing the venison.

Once the sausage is made, the process has come full circle and the deer hunt is complete.

“It tastes a lot better when you make it yourself,” Nick said.