The influence of partial replacement of animal fat by healthy oils on composition, physicochemical, volatile, and sensory properties of dry-fermented deer sausage was evaluated. Four different batches were manufactured: the control was formulated with animal fat (18.2%), while in the reformulated batches the 50% of animal fat was substituted by olive, canola, and soy oil emulsions immobilized in Prosella gel. The reformulation resulted in a decrease of moisture and fat contents and an increase of protein and ash amount. Moreover, reformulated sausages were harder, darker, and had higher pH values. This fact is related to the lower moisture content in these samples. As expected, the fatty acid composition was changed by the reformulation. The use of soy and canola oils increased polyunsaturated fatty acids and omega-3 content and decreased n-6/n-3 ratio and saturated fatty acids. Thus, the use of these two oils presented the best nutritional benefits. The changes observed in the fatty acids reflected the fatty acid composition of the oils employed in the emulsions. Regarding volatile compounds (VOC), the replacement of animal fat by healthy emulsion gels increased the content of both total VOC and most of individual VOC. However, the lipid-derived VOC did not show this trend. Generally speaking, the control samples presented similar or higher VOC derived from lipid oxidation processes, which could be related to the natural antioxidant compounds present in the vegetable oils. Finally, all reformulated sausages presented higher consumer acceptability than control samples. In fact, the sausage reformulated with soy oil emulsion gel was the most preferred. Thus, as a general conclusion, the reformulation of deer sausages with soy emulsion gel improves both composition and sensory quality of the final product, which could be an excellent strategy to the elaboration of healthy fermented sausages.
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