Kielbasa

I had neighbours who made Kielbasa. It is a Polish sausage. I have always loved it and have tried to make it several times to improve the final product to what I wanted.

In doing my research, a lot of modern recipes call for additives to improve texture. However, I wanted a more traditional sausage and asked for family recipes from people I knew. Wow! Some people are really fantatical about their Kielbasa.

I have incorporated many of the ideas I got into my efforts and I thank them all!

Kielbasa is a cured sausage which means you will be using curing salts. These are called Prague powder #1, Instacure #1, Pink Salt #1 or other names. Whatever it is called, you are looking for a product that is 93.75% salt and 6.25% sodium nitrite. If it has these ingredients in that proportion, you can use it. Curing salts are needed to give the nice pink colour and to preserve the meat during the long slow smoke. You must use the exact proportions in the recipe as too little will not do this and too much is bad for you.

Kielbasa is traditionally stuffed into natural pork casings. The problem with that is they are difficult to find and when you do find them, they come in large portions. I have taken to substituting collagen casings in my sausage making. They last indefinitely and are easier to work with.

Most of the recipes given to me made the Kielbasa in the oven but my reading suggests it is usually smoked so I have gone with a smoked version. This recipe can easily be done in an oven and will have a great result.

My Kielbasa is made out of pork. I would normally use pork shoulder which has a perfect fat/lean blend for the sausage. However, for this attempt, pork loin was on sale and I had some save pork fat so I used pork loin with 10% added fat. This gives a good result but the product will be a little paler than pork shoulder.

An important thing to know about making any sausage is to keep the meat cold at all times. Make sure you have taken the meat right out of the refrigerator and to put it back in the refrigerator if you are not doing something with it. If you don’t, the texture of your sausage will be pure.

I started by cubing my pork to one inch cubes except for 10% of the weight I cubed to 1/4 inch cubes. Weigh the meat and set the 1/4 inch cubes aside.

I ground the one inch cubes through the medium plate of my grinder.

I put the meat in the fridge for 1/2 hour to chill.

While the meat is chilling, for each kilogram of meat used, mix the following into a slurry:

  • 80 ml ice water
  • 25 ml skim milk powder
  • 10 ml kosher salt
  • 10 ml garlic powder
  • 5 ml coarse ground pepper
  • 4 ml marjoram
  • 2 ml sugar
  • 2.5 grams (2 ml) Prague powder #1

If you are metrically challenged, make the slurry out of the following per pound of meat:

  • 3 tablespoons ice water
  • 1 tablespoon skim milk powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/5 teaspoon Prague powder #1

Spread the ground pork on a tray and poke holes in it with your fingers. Pour the slurry over the pork.

Mix the pork with the slurry by folding half the meat toward you and pressing flat. Rotate the tree one quarter turn and fold half it toward you and pressing flat. Continue folding and pressing for 3 minutes. Put the mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Put the mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix at medium speed for three to four minutes until the mixture is almost pasty. Add the reserved 1/4 inch cubes and mix.

Put in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour to chill.

I put the mixture in my sausage stuffer and put 8 feet of 40 mm  (1  1/2 inch) (collagen casings on the horn and stuffed the casings.

I squeezed a flat spot every foot on the casings and cut at the flat spot. I put the pork in the fridge for 2 hours to chill.

Making Kielbasa requires a slow increase in heat to the sausage. You should start it at 140 F (60 C) for one hour and then increase the temperature to 150 F (65 C). Increase the temperature to 160 F (71 C) for another hour. Increase the temperature to 170 F (77 C). Increase the temperature to 180 F (82 C) and then cook to an internal temperature of 155 F (68 C).

You can do all of this in an oven and get a great sausage. I wanted my Kielbasa smoked. My smoker’s lowest temperature is 165 F (74 C). So, I cold smoked the Kielbasa for 4 hours in my unlit barbecue grill using my A-Maze-N tube smoker. I filled it with pellets and lit it. It smoldered for 4 hours in my grill with the sausage in it. I put the sausage in the fridge overnight to chill.

The next day I put it in the oven at 140 F (60 C) for one hour, 150 F (60 C), and then I put it in my smoker at 165 F (74 C) for one hour, and increased the temperature to 170 F (77 C) and smoked for 1 hour. I increased the temperature to 180 F (82 C) and smoked until the temperature was 155 F (68 C).

I plunged the Kielbasa into ice water for 10 minutes to stop the cooking and left it on the counter for a couple of hours. Refrigerate and freeze any that won’t be eaten in the next week.

The Verdict

This is very reminiscent of what I ate from our friends. It has a nice bight, a ham taste and wonderful garlic notes. I have arrived at my Kielbasa recipe!

The Old Fat Guy

  • Kielbasa

    Kielbasa

    Ingredients

    • Metric measures for 1 kg of pork shoulder
    • 80 ml ice water
    • 25 ml (26 grams) skim milk powder
    • 10 ml (12.8 grams) kosher salt
    • 10 ml (7.4 grams) garlic powder
    • 5 ml (2.7 grams) coarse ground pepper
    • 4 ml (0.5 grams) marjoram
    • 2 ml (2.2 grams) sugar
    • 2.5 grams (2 ml) Prague powder #1
    • US measures for 1 pound of pork shoulder
    • 3 tablespoons ice water
    • 1 tablespoon (0.54 ounce) skim milk powder
    • 1 teaspoon (0.2 ounce) kosher salt
    • 1 teaspoon (0.13 ounce) garlic powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon (0.048 ounce) coarse ground pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon (0.01 ounce) marjoram
    • 1/4 teaspoon (0.05 ounce) sugar
    • 1/5 teaspoon (0.44 ounce) Prague powder #1
    • 8 feet of 40 mm (1 1/2 inch) collagen casings

    Instructions

    1. Make sure the meat is very cold before starting.
    2. Cube meat to 1 inch (25 mm). Cut 10% of the cubes into 1/4 inch cubes and set aside.
    3. Grind the remaining cubes through the medium plate of your grinder. Chill the meat for 30 minutes.
    4. Mix the rest of the ingredients together into a slurry.
    5. Spread the meat on a tray. Poke finger holes in the meat and spread the slurry over the meat.
    6. Fold the top half of the meat toward you and press flat. Turn the tray 1/4 turn and fold the top towards you and press flat.
    7. Continue folding, pressing and turning for 3 minutes. Chill the meat for 30 minutes.
    8. Put the mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix at medium speed for three to four minutes until the mixture is almost pasty. Add the reserved 1/4 inch cubes and mix. Chill for 30 minutes.
    9. Stuff the meat into the casings and let sit in the fridge overnight.
    10. You can cook in a smoker or an oven.
    11. Start at 140 F (60 C) for an hour. Increase to 150 F (65 C) for an hour. Increase to 160 F (70 C) for an hour. Increase to 170 F (75 C) for an hour. Continue at 180 F (80 C) until the internal temperature is 155 F. (68 C)
    12. Plunge the sausage into ice water for 10 minutes and then let it rest at room temperature for 2 hours.
    13. Refrigerate and freeze any that will not be used in a week.
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