Kielbasa start to finish for Chef Jimmy

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Which cut of meat do you prefer for making sausage

  • Boston Butts

    Votes: 19 10.9%
  • Pork Shoulder

    Votes: 100 57.5%
  • Loin Ends

    Votes: 56 32.2%
  • Country Ribs

    Votes: 3 1.7%
  • Other

    Votes: 3 1.7%

  • Total voters
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Smoking Fanatic
Original poster
OTBS Member
Sep 8, 2012
Harrisburg PA
I just dropped some Kielbasa to Chef Jimmy for his expert opinion. I figured I would post the recipe and step by step pictures of the process for other to use.
pork (picnic 75%)10001800.01.8
Kosher Salt1730.61.8
Cure #
Cracked Black Pepper23.61.8
Minced Garlic59.01.8
cold water115207.01.8
I know most people use butts for Sausage, but I think the fat ratio and flavor is better with a picnic.  

Step 1:

Remove the skin leaving as much of the fat as possible.

 Take care to remove any clots, vessels or glands

Cut the meat from the bone and trim off the larger "silver" tendons.

Here is what you should have left.
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Looks like a great start.....
Yeah, good start!

In these parts Boston butt and pork shoulder are one and the same.
I think that picnic (at least that's what we call it here) is what you mean by pork shoulder.
Pork shoulder can also mean the Boston butt and the picnic combined.
Yeah, colloquial differences.
It can get confusing for some folks. :biggrin:

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Step 2:

Cut meat into strips about 1 inch wide by 2 to 3 inches long

Carefully measure all of your spices.  My recipe uses wieghts not volumes, as it is far more acurate.  You can pickup a small scale that measures in 0.1 gram increments for under $10.

This picture shows garlic powder instead of minced garlic.  You can use either, but minced garlic will give  a better texture.  Also if you use garlic powder reduce the amount to 2.5 g/kg.   Mix throughly, cover and refrigerate overnight.

The meat has cured for 18 hours so it is time to grind. Since this is only 4 lbs, I used the kitchenaid attachment with a 3/8 die. 

The 3/8th inch die give a much coarser texture and helps hold the moisture when cooked.

After the meat is ground add your cold water and mix throughly.

The mix will begin to get "sticky" as you mix in the water. 
Step 3: Stuffing the Sausage

I use 38-40mm hog casings for Kielbasa.  If possible try to buy from the butcher at your local supermarket, the casings are so much better.   My butcher charges $16.00 for a hank, which will keep you in casings for a long time.   The last hank I bought had only 5 strands each of which was able to hold more than my 15l stuffer.

I soak and rinse my casings 4 times.  The last soak I add a tsp of white vinegar to the water.  It helps to soften the casing.

This is about 1/6th of 1 strand but will be more than enough for the 5lb stuffer.

I load the stuffer tube then let it drain a bit while I load the stuffer canister.

Here it is stuffed.

I pinch and twist about every 15 inches and hang on my rods for about an hour to dry before the next step.
Step 4: Smoking

Kielbasa is cooked smoke sausage but how you cook it makes the difference between good and great kielbasa.  Most people hot smoke it with temperatures up to 180 or more.  I prefer to use warm smoke 145-150 degrees, then finish the kielbasa in a 170 degree water bath.  The case has a good snap but is not tough and chewy.

  I smoke Kielbasa with maple chips for the first hour, then smoke with cherry pellets and apple pellets for an hour then the last hour is all maple chips. 

  All of these woods give a mellow somewhat sweet smokey flavor.  In fact I had one person insist that I added sugar to my kielbasa.

Out of the smoker they go into a 170 degree water bath until the internal temperature is 155 degrees then into ice water.  

Here is the finished product

This is what Kielbasa should look like on the inside:

I hope enjoyed this step by step post. I would like to see the steps others use in making their sausage and maybe learning some new tricks.  Thanks again for such a great forum.
Thanks for the post and the Kielbasa Shannon. I am not an Expert at making Kielbasa, yet, but after 50 years of eating the stuff, I venture I know how it is supposed to taste!
  I am looking forward to trying it as it has been a while since I went to NJ and had the opportunity to eat the Real Deal. The Sauerkraut is simmering as I type and the Kielbasa will be going in to cook up for Supper. It will be enjoyed with both Horseradish and some Kosciusko Mustard, not to mention some Rye Bread to sop up the juices. I will give my review later, though the Kabanosa was awesome and was enjoyed with a Cheese Omelet for Breakfast...JJ
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@ DigginDog  Sorry no marjoram here in the smoked kielbasa.  I do add it sometimes as well as chopped onions when I make fresh sausage.   I don't eat it fast enough and after a few days the marjoram makes the fat taste rancid.  @NEPAS- I would love to hear and see your tips and tricks.  I am always looking to improve my techniques.  Any suggestions would be more than welcomed.
Hmmm... Interesting....I've never noticed marjoram causing a rancid taste, the Poles in this area (and there are a lot of them) have always made it with marjoram.
Anyway, it sure looks great!
I make mine similar to yours as far as the smoking and prep cooking goes, I prefer to cold smoke (75 degrees or less) and them gently 'steam' at 160 degrees.


When I make kielbasa I keep it refrigerated for up to 2 weeks, so by the end the Marjoram starts to give an off flavor.  It could just be the dried Marjoram I use.  Also, I tried cold smoking, but was not able to get good color.   If I could get a good color I would definately cold smoke as the casings don't toughen up.
The Verdict is in... The Kielbasa was eaten by myself, 2 newly graduated CIA soon to be Chefs, highly trained in Charcuterie, my Polish wife and youngest Daughter with 16 years of eating some of the best Kielbasa made...This recipe was outstanding! It was very well balanced with a great Pork flavor enhanced by the Smoke without being over done or bitter. The the amount of Garlic was definitive of the style of sausage but not over powering as is sometimes found. The amount of Salt was perfect, nicely highlighting the other flavors as was the Black Pepper. The Kielbasa was moist and tender, not fatty at all and the Casing was also tender but had a nice snap as I bit into the link. Overall I would not hesitate to make this recipe and did not miss the commonly used Marjoram at all. Very well done Shannon! Thank you again...JJ
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Kielbasa looks great Shannon..... I like your recipe using the KISS method..........

@Martin--I WIll Have to give that a try next time. Thanks

@Steve and Smoking B....Thanks I appreciate the compliments

@Joe-- Is there any other way?  I must have made a ton of sausage with my Grandmother's brother who was born in Poland.  I do not rember him ever adding anything but saltpeter, salt, pepper, and Garlic.  I hope some day to make a batch that tastes as good as I remember his Kielbasa.

@JJ-- I think maybe you shared with too many people for all the more I gave you.  I will have to give you some more in a couple of weeks when the next batch is ready.  I do appreciate the feedback, Thanks again.
@Joe-- Is there any other way?  I must have made a ton of sausage with my Grandmother's brother who was born in Poland.  I do not rember him ever adding anything but saltpeter, salt, pepper, and Garlic.  I hope some day to make a batch that tastes as good as I remember his Kielbasa

Lots of different recipes for lots of different types of polish sausages. Kielbasa is not a specific sausage, it's a generic term that means "sausage" in Polish.

I did share too many ways but what started out as three for dinner turned into five. We just cut the links into 4 inch pieces and everybody got to try it. We also had a couple of pounds of Brats and salads so it was a good supper and I was able to get more opinions. It really was great and all enjoyed it. I appreciate your generosity and look forward to discussing one of my favorite subjects with you again. My family is tired of hearing me talk about Sausage making and Smoking. Though they never seem to tire of Eating the results of all my knowledge!...JJ is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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