By Heath Wood
This weekend, as we celebrate our freedom on Independence Day, let’s take a moment to honor the men and women who have served our great country. For those of us with a passion for the outdoors, this is the perfect time to spend it with family and friends, enjoying the great outdoors. And what better way to celebrate than with a classic backyard cookout?
When I think of classic backyard cookouts, I immediately start craving hamburgers, hot dogs, and brats sizzling on the grill. As someone who loves to cook and is also a hunter, I wanted to find a way to combine my passion for both. So, I decided to dig into my freezer and see what I could come up with using wild game. To my delight, I found several packages of ground venison, which sparked the idea of making some delicious smoked venison bratwurst on my trusty portable Traeger Ranger grill.
What You’ll Need
- 3 lbs. of ground venison
- 2 pounds. of pork belly
- Two teaspoons of kosher salt
- One teaspoon of coarse black pepper
- One large Vidalia onion (chopped into small pieces)
- Two tablespoons of minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- ½ cup of cold water to mix in all the ingredients
- Hog casings or a casing of your choice to pack them in brat shape
- In a large bowl, mix the ground venison, pork belly, and all the other ingredients, using the water to help blend in all the spices.
- Run the mixed meat through a meat grinder until it turns into a fine consistency.
- Once the meat is mixed, place it in a Ziploc bag and refrigerate overnight.
- After 24 hours, pack the meat into casings, then vacuum seal and freeze until you’re ready to cook.
How to Prepare
- Preheat your Traeger wood pellet grill, preferably the Traeger Ranger portable grill if you’re cooking in your backyard or remotely. Use Hickory wood pellets and preheat the grill with the lid closed to 225 degrees.
- Once the grill reaches the desired temperature, smoke the brats for 30 to 40 minutes to let them soak up the irresistible wood-fired smoke flavors.
- Increase the heat to 325 degrees and continue cooking the brats until they are well-done, making sure to rotate them every 5 to 10 minutes to avoid overcooking the bottom side.
When it comes to serving bratwurst, there are countless delicious options. Personally, I love adding toppings like mustard, relish, jalapenos, or sauerkraut. And for this cookout, I decided to slice a Vidalia onion and cook them alongside the brats on the griddle insert that comes with the Traeger Ranger. You can even take it up a notch by seasoning the onions with Meat Church’s Honey Hog BBQ seasoning. The result is a mouth-watering combination of flavors that will leave you craving for more.
So, this Independence Day, show your love for all things American by treating your family and friends to some classic backyard smoked venison brats. Head over to Ekilove for more mouth-watering recipes and outdoor cooking inspiration. Happy Independence Day!