Kabanosy is a famous Polish sausage and probably the finest meat stick in the world. The name comes from the nickname “kabanek” given to a young fat pig no more than 120 kg (264 lb) in weight, that was fed mainly potatoes in the Eastern parts of XIX Poland, known today as Lithuania. The sausage was traditionally stuffed into 22 mm sheep casings and would become much thinner due to the loss of moisture during smoking, baking and drying. What distinguished Kabanosy from other sausages was that after smoking they were baked in smokehouse and not cooked in water. This resulted in an additional loss of moisture and the sausage became stable even at room temperatures. In about 1-2 weeks it would become a dry meat stick. In the past Kabanosy were tested for by dropping them on the floor from the height of 1 meter (1 yard. The sausage was expected to break into pieces. According to Polish official standards nutmeg and caraway are dominant spices.
|pork||1000 g||2.20 lb.|
Ingredients per 1000g (1 kg) of meat
|salt||18 g||3 tsp.|
|Cure #1||2.5 g||½ tsp.|
|pepper||2.0 g||1 tsp.|
|sugar||1.0 g||1/5 tsp.|
|nutmeg||1.0 g||½ tsp.|
|caraway||1.0 g||½ tsp.|
|cold water||100 ml||⅜ cup|
- Grind lean pork with 3/8” plate, fatter pieces with 3/16” plate.
- Mix ground meat and all ingredients together until the mass feels sticky.
- Stuff mixture into sheep casings 22 mm diameter. You may use 24-26 mm sheep casings, anything bigger will not be a meat stick but a sausage. It will also need different smoking and cooking times. Link sausage into 60-70 cm (24-27”) links so when hung on a smoking stick the individual links (half of the meat stick) will be about one foot long. You can make shorter 6” links if you like. Don’t separate stuffed sausage into short individual links, leave it linked but as one long rope.
- Leave it hanging on smoke sticks in a cool place at 35-42º F (2-6ºC) for 12 hours. It is permitted to dry it at room temperature for 30-60 min and then smoke it.
- Kabanosy are smoked in two stages: a. smoking with hot smoke 104-122º F (40-50º C) for 50-60 min, b. baking for about 20 min at 140-190º F (60-90º C) until the meat reaches a temperature of 154-160º F (68-71º C) inside. The color of the casings should be dark brown.
- Total smoking and cooking time about 70 - 90 min. This is a rather short time due to the small diameter of the meat sticks. The sausage is done and ready to eat.
- Shower with cold water, separate into links and keep refrigerated.
- The following step was performed in the past to create semi-dry sausages that would last long time at room temperatures: place Kabanosy for 5-7 days in a room at 54-59º F (12-15º C), relative humidity of 75-80%, until the weight is reduced by 45%. If during this drying period you will see a slight accumulation of mold on the outside surface just wipe it off, this is normal.
- Separate links into individual pieces and keep it in a cool place, no need to refrigerate. In Europe the sausages hang in the kitchen and are consumed on an as needed basis. Most people prefer them when they are about one week old. If you have made a lot of them, place them in a freezer but remember that unfrozen products, though still healthy, never taste the same.
When the Polish political system collapsed in 1990, the rigid production standards were lowered and today anything that is stuffed into long thin casings is called Kabanosy, the fact that annoys many old sausage makers and purists. There are Kabanosy made from beef, pork-beef, chicken, turkey, even horse meat. After smoking, they are in majority cases cooked in water and offered immediately for sale. They are thicker, lighter in color and are just a smoked sausage that is stuffed into a thin diameter casing. Spice such as paprika, garlic and bay leaf are also used.