Winter Trouting – 2019

Southern Ontario has experienced some cold, albeit, intermittent, weather of late.   With minus double digits in the evenings for several days straight, my mind started to drift northward to possible ice fishing adventures.  Southern Ontario doesnt always see fishable ice before christmas each year, but it was looking like a real possibility this year.   With that possibility, the usual suspects and I began hatching plans for a quick trip during the holiday break.

Over the past few years our group has spent more efforts on pursuing the various trout species the province as to offer.  It started with some eventual success on a stocked rainbow trout lake, and was followed by excellent outings on several brook trout lakes.  Sprinkle in a few lake trout and splake trips into the mix and voila, you have a full blown hardwater trout addiction.  This year we decided to tackle a new goal.  The Ontario Trout Grand Slam.  One Brookie, rainbow, brown, and laker or splake.

Very few of the trout species remain native to southern ontario.  Heck, very few lakes have trout at all in our neighbourhood which makes our addiction and slam goals very difficult.  Thankfully the MNRF maintains a healthy stocking program in southern Ontario, all of which can be accessed via their website Fish Online.  This is where all our trout trips begin, and this will be where any description of where we fished, ends.  After all finding these lakes on your own is half the fun.

Here are some pics of the trip for your viewing pleasure.

20181227_12283020181227_10544020181227_11315220181228_08441720181227_124928

Although we fell short of completing the slam, we did manage to ice both a rainbow and a brown trout, not to mention a few other incidental coarse fish.   Ultimately, the chance of a competing a slam, without the use of a motorized vehicles to cover ground, is very difficult.  At least during the winter.

Cheers from the Wild

Venison Pepperettes – AKA Deer Snack Sticks

Firstly, my apologies for posting so many cooking write ups.  I know a good portion of you are here to see some sweet outdoor pics or to hear about a cool trip.  Realistically though, if you are out fishing, hunting or foraging as much as I am, your bound to end up with something to cook.  As luck would have it, I find myself in this exact situation with a freezer full of freshly harvested Ontario grown Whitetail deer.  Plus, if you know me at all, you know that I am not one to hoarde wild game until its claimed by the ice grip of freezer burn.  No sir! I see it, I harvest it, I wait a moment out of respect for the animal, and then I eat it!  Plus all these recipes makes for great posts and photo ops.

Coming from a German family has given me a healthy appreciation for sausage making.  I can recall as a kid, making pounds and pounds of the stuff.  A little Bratwurst here, a bit of Kielbasa there.  If you lived in my dad’s house, it was pretty likely you would be helping with sausage making at least once or twice a year.  Although I may not have appreciated all the work back then, I am thankfull now I had the chance to learn this skill.

What does this have to do with my post?  Well venison makes some of the most exquisite sausage one could ever hope to taste.  So it was with this goal in mind  fired up the old hand grinder and set to work making some Venny sausage.   Cliché or not, get ready for some serious Wurstherstellungs!

First up: Venison Pepperettes.  

Possibly one of the most popular recipes among hunters for ground venison would have to be the delicious pepperette. I chose to follow the recipe provided in Rytek Kutas’s book, Great Sausage Making Recipes with a few minor adjustments.  Ive said it once, I’ll say it a thousand times, this is the absolute bible on sausage making (BUY THIS BOOK!).

The ingredients included paprika, ground mustard, ground black peper, white pepper, ground celery, mace, granulated garlic, salt and Curing salt #1.  To avoid copyright infringement I’ve conveniently forgot what quantities were used.  If you want the recipe, spend a few bucks and give Rytek’s book a shot. Its solid gold.

Rytek’s recipe includes fermento and dextrose which are used in semi dry cured sausages to give that tang that pepperettes are notorious for.  I decided to drop out the fermento and rely on the smoke flavour to carry this sausage.

DSC_1798

The sausage was made with 80% venison and 20% pork shoulder.  This makes for a good consistency, a great bind and awesome mouthfeel.  The meat was ground through a coarse die and again through a fine die once the seasonings were added.  Once completely mixed and ground to the desired consistency, I stuffed them into 22mm collagen casings sourced from http://www.sausagemaker.com/ .  A worthwhile link indeed!

DSC_1806 DSC_1807 DSC_1814

After stuffing, these little beauties went into the smoker for 4 to 5 hours.  The sausages took on a deep red hue and have a pungent smokey odour.

The result was some of the best, most badass pepperettes snacks I  have ever tasted.  Quite the appetizing little wieners if I do say so myself.

Cheers from the my kitchen,

Al