Well, its been a little over three years (!) since I last made home-made kielbasa and I figured its time I finally get back into some serious sausage making.
As luck would have it, our local grocer had twin-bagged pork butts on sale for a mere 89¢ a pound. I promptly snagged three large packs (just over 50 lbs) and stowed the majority in our outside freezer for later use, keeping one pair to grind!
All ingredients assembled, and I cubed the pork butts. 15.7lbs of bone-in butt became 11 pounds of usable pork. I set aside about two pound of pork fat for another project.
Single grind (4.5mm plate). The standard ingredients for classic hot-smoked Polish kielbasa (salt, sugar, marjoram, garlic and cure#1).
Leaner than store-bought, but still juicy enough to make a good kielbasa (18-20% fat).
I stuffed the mixture into 28-32mm natural casings I had been soaking while the grinding & mixing was going on.
I forgot to snap a 'stuffing' photo so I'll just use an older shot of the little grizzly, loaded up & about ready to do it's job, five pounds at a time...
I hung the load in a prewarmed smoker (no smoke) at about 110°f to allow the links time to dry before applying smoke. After about an hour, I used my a-maze-n tube full of PECAN pellets, and began applying smoke for the next 3-4 hours, gradually raising the temp to about 150°-155°F towards the end of the four- hour period.
The links had taken on good cold and had an IT of about 135°F. Next step was to finish them in a hot water bath.
I place the load into my vintage turkey roaster filled with hot water (165°F). Temp probe in both the water and the links.
After about 30 minutes, the IT of the sausages reached 158°F and I then plunged them all into a basin of ice water, then hung them to dry and bloom.
Eleven pounds of Polish Goodness
I usually let these rest overnight in the refrigerator but the family wanted to have some with dinner. My wife made sauerkraut with apple & onions; country potatoes and we had plenty of different mustards to try—plus some cold beer! The kielbasa turned out quite tasty —maybe I'll add bit MORE garlic next time—but overall, a good first attempt after a long, long layoff!
NEXT up: BOLOGNA!
thanks for readin!