Smoked Kielbasa

Oct 8th, 2009 | By | Category: Blog, Kielbasa

There is so much misunderstanding about definition of that I would like to uncover some of the mystery…
People in Poland are not going to say “sausage” – they are going to say “”. There is not one universal sausage () – I have a list of 55 different sausages made in Poland so which one are we talking about ? We are talking about Polish Sausage (Polska Kielbasa Wedzona) and a poor imitation of this sausage can be found in every supermarket in the USA.   What we see here in supermarkets has NOTHING to do with the real polish sausage. It is embarassing to look at the ingredients list. Let me clarify a few points :

1. The Polish Sausage is made entirely of pork . There are sausages like “Mysliwska” (Hunter’s sausage) that are made with pork and beef, nevertheless the traditional Polish Smoked Sausage is made of pork and the following : salt, pepper, sugar, garlic and majoram. Majoram could be eliminated but garlic has to stay.   This is how this sausage was supposed to be made as recommended by the Polish Government in 1958. Yes, the way meat products were made (especially ones for export) was regulated by the Government, down to the last technical detail.
2. It comes in two versions :
a. Fresh sausage
b. Smoked sausage – this is the Polish Smoked Sausage (Polska Kielbasa Wedzona) that everybody eats in Poland.
To buy real stuff you have to live in New York or Chicago where it can be obtained in meat stores located in Polish neighborhoods. It becomes harder to buy it even in Poland as the present meat industry in order to stay competetive is following american production standards (lower costs and lower quality) and includes the never ending list of chemicals. The final effect is product that resembles the original sausage in name only and not in quality.   Polish Smoked Sausage is made from ingredients mentioned above plus sodium nitrite (you don’t smoke anything without sodium nitrite). Frankly speaking I don’t understand why our FDA hates so much use of potassium nitrate – in Poland they have used it for ages and it is still in use today. And nobody dies. After all, both of them are very powerful poisons 
3. It is stuffed into large casing : about 38 mmm.
4. It has to be smoked (hot smoke) for 2 – 3 hours, this is the only way to get the proper flavor and color and believe me : liquid smoke does not do the trick.   Recommended way is to cold smoke it for 1 to 1.5 days but that will be done probably only by the most demanding purists. Besides, unless you live up North, it is not easy to generate cold smoke.

Rytek Kutas in his book “Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing” got it almost right, except for “soy protein concentrate” (it has no room in a decent sausage – if you want the highest quality).   We are not talking profits here – we are talking the best quality one can get.   Anything besides pork, salt, pepper, sugar, garlic and majoram has no right to be there.   Though of Polish parents, I don’t believe he was ever in Poland himself as he misspells almost every Polish sausage name he writes about.   Otherwise it is the best english book to learn the art of sausage making.

You can of course add anything you like to your sausage but it will not be Polish Smoked Sausage (Polska Kielbasa Wedzona) anymore. Come up with your own name.

A little curiosity : In Poland to obtain the highest quality possible, the meat to be used for sausages is first cut into about 2 inches pieces and then pickled in brine solution (salt plus some sodium nitrite) for about 48 – 72 hours. After that : Grinding, mixing, stuffing, smoking according to established rules. A commercial sausage factory can not find room, time or money to pickle meat for 48 hours
before it goes into the grinder.   All these little details, call them tricks of trade if you will, separate super quality product from its commercial version. That is why a home based sausage maker, having necessary technical knowledge will always make a better sausage than his commercial counterpart as he has all time in the world to do it well

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