How to Store Venison Sausage (Refrigerating, Freezing, Thawing, and Refreezing)
Properly storing and preparing venison sausage is essential to ensure its safe consumption. That’s why it’s worth knowing the best ways to properly keep venison sausage. In this guide, I’m going to show you just that.
Whether you want to refrigerate, freeze, thaw, or refreeze venison sausage, read on to find out exactly how to store venison sausage and make the most of this delicious food.
How Long Is Venison Sausage Good in the Fridge?
The answer to this question really depends on the condition of your venison sausage.
If you’ve just purchased or made fresh venison sausage and are wondering how long you can keep it refrigerated, the answer is one to two days.
Smoked sausages, however, have a longer shelf life. You can keep them refrigerated for two to three months, as long as your fridge runs at 40°F or lower.
However, if you notice your sausage turning an off-color or developing a slimy texture, it most likely means that it’s gone bad. At this point, you’re better off throwing the sausage away.
It’s also important to know how to store venison sausage properly. To ensure the best quality, wrap the links in plastic wrap. Try to keep the air out as much as possible.
Above all, I recommend checking the label on the package for detailed instructions. If the sausage label says, “needs refrigeration,” you should store the sausages in the fridge right away.
If, on the other hand, it says “refrigerate after opening,” you can safely store the links in your pantry before using them. The latter could be the case if you purchased a venison summer sausage, which, like cured meat, can be kept without refrigeration before opening.
How Long Does Frozen Venison Sausage Last?
Maybe you’ve had enough venison sausage over the week, and you want to freeze the portion you didn’t use. If you end up doing so, know that you can safely store the leftovers in the freezer for two to three months. After all, freezing is the best way to keep your sausages if you want them to last as long as possible.
If you have smoked venison sausages, you can freeze those for longer. It’s recommended to keep them in the freezer for no longer than five to six months. However, this is under the condition you store them properly.
I recommend using a vacuum sealer for safely storing these sausages in the freezer. This will protect the meat from developing freezer burn and will keep all the nutrients sealed in. Alternatively, you can use freezer paper by folding the edges around the sausage, taping them, and storing them in the freezer. Packaging your venison sausage properly will help maintain the original meat quality for the longest time possible.
The ideal temperature for storing venison sausages in the freezer should be 0°F or lower.
Don’t be surprised if your frozen venison sausage actually tastes better after some freezer time! But be careful not to over freeze it, as leaving the meat in the freezer for too long can lower meat quality and flavor.
Note: for safety reasons, you should only freeze the venison sausage that came from your fridge. If you previously thawed it in the refrigerator without consuming it, you can freeze that sausage as well.
Can You Refreeze Venison Sausage?
In general, yes, you can refreeze venison sausage or any other type of deer meat. However, if the sausage has spent more than two hours at room temperature after you thawed it, then refreezing is not an option. This goes for any other meat type.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that generally, you can refreeze meat after thawing, but you might notice a loss of quality and flavor. This is because the meat will lose some moisture in the thawing process. However, if you notice the sausages smelling odd and that the meat has a slimy texture, your sausages might have gone bad.
There’s one crucial thing to remember when thawing the meat in the fridge. Make sure you leave the sausage for at least 12 hours until it’s completely thawed. If you decide to thaw your venison sausage in the microwave, you should consume it immediately afterward.
Usually, thawing meat in the microwave is not recommended. The safest option would be leaving the frozen meat in the fridge. Store the meat on the bottom shelf; this will help avoid any potential cross-contamination.
How Long Can Deer Meat Stay in the Fridge After Thawing?
As advised by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, you can keep deer meat in the fridge for two to three days after thawing. They generally recommend storing the venison frozen until cooking time. This is because any meat that was frozen and then thawed deteriorates more quickly. A piece of general advice is to store the meat at 40 °F or less.
There a few things worth mentioning about thawing. You should never thaw your meat at room temperature – you should only do so in the refrigerator. If you thaw the meat in the fridge and then, for some reason, decide not to prepare it that day, it’s safe to refreeze it again. However, only the meat that was in the fridge the whole time during the thawing process can be refrozen. Note that you will lose on meat quality the more you freeze and thaw it.
Also, make sure to give your meat enough time to thaw. This process can take anywhere from 12 hours for smaller meat pieces up to two or three days for larger cuts.
Venison sausage can make for a delightful family dinner, and I’m sure everyone in your family would love it. That’s another reason why you want to make sure you’re serving your loved ones a healthy, fresh piece of meat.
Storing venison sausage in the fridge is fine, and so is freezing it. If you don’t consume the sausages right away, the safest way would be fridge > freezer > consumption. No room temperature thawing or storing. Hopefully, after reading this article, you now know how to properly store your venison sausage