You are free to use whatever meat you want here: Pork, beef, venison, wild boar, bear -- even duck or turkey. Traditional would be 80 percent pork and 20 percent beef. Go easy on all the spices except the garlic. You should be able to taste garlic in these links. My recipe does that, so make it as-is the first time, then adjust to your liking. A lot of Poles I know prefer to smoked their meats over cherry wood, so use that if you have it. Other choices would be oak, maple, beech, or walnut. You'll need the curing salt No. 1, which you can buy online.
Course: Appetizer, Breakfast, Cured Meat, Main Course
Keyword: pork, sausage, smoked foods
Author: Hank Shaw
4poundspork,wild pig, bear, venison, etc
1poundpork fat(fatback or shoulder fat)
36gramskosher salt,about 2 tablespoons
5gramsInstacure No. 1,about 1 teaspoon
5gramsground black pepper,about 2 teaspoons
1gramdried marjoram,about 2 teaspoons
10gramssugar,about 2 teaspoons
Chill the meat and fat until they is almost frozen by putting it in the freezer for an hour or so. Take out some hog casings — you’ll need about 3 to 4 standard lengths, about 10 feet — and set in a bowl of very warm water to rehydrate.
Chop meat and fat into 1-inch pieces. Combine the salt, instacure, sugar, garlic, marjoram and pepper and mix it into the meat and fat with your hands. Let this rest in the fridge for about an hour.
Grind through your meat grinder (you can use a food processor in a pinch, but you will not get a fine texture) using the fine die. If your room is warmer than 65°F, set the bowl for the ground meat into another bowl of ice to keep it cold. Put the meat mixture back in the freezer while you clean up.
Add the ice water to the meat mix, then mix thoroughly either using a Kitchenaid on low for 90 seconds or with your (very clean) hands. This is important to get the sausage to bind properly. Once it is mixed well, put it back in the fridge while you clean up again.
Stuff the sausage into the casings. Kielbasa is normally made into long links tied at both ends to form a loop. Stuff about 2 feet of sausage, then pinch off the trailing end and pull off at least 6 inches of casing from the stuffing tube. Cut the casing with a knife and immediately pull out another 6 inches or so of casing to form the loose end for the next long loop of sausage. This ensures that you will have enough casing to tie off the links. Leave the links untied for now.
Check each long link of kielbasa for air pockets. You will probably have some. Use a sterilized needle (get the point glowing in the stove burner for a second or so to do this) and pierce the casing all around any air pockets. Gently compress the meat in the link from either end. Don't force it or the casing will burst. When you see no more air pockets, tie off the casings at either end.
Hang the sausages in a cool place. If it is warm out, hang for one hour. If you have a place where the temperature will not go higher than 38°F, you can hang them as long as overnight.
Get your smoker going. Smoke the links for at least 4 hours, and as many as 8. I prefer a lighter smoke, so you can still taste the meat and spices. You are looking to get the internal temperature of the links to 155°F. When the kielbasa is smoked, shock the links in ice water to cool quickly.
Hang them to dry for at least 1 hour before eating, and if you have a cool place (55°F or cooler) you can hang for up to 4 days.
Once made, these links will last two weeks tightly wrapped in the fridge. You can seal them and freeze for a year.