Most Polish sausages derive their name from:
- the part of Poland where they were once originally made and (you may call it invented) and then became popular all over the country, most likely because they tasted so good and people liked them everywhere-Bydgoska Sausage, Lithuanian Sausage, Krakowska Sausage.
- the name of the meat part or other ingredient that plays a dominant role in the recipe- Bacon Sausage, Garlic Sausage, Juniper Sausage.
An average person is not really aware and could not care less about this technical classification as all sausages have their own characteristic names and people know them.
Polish sausages have always displayed the consistent quality. Take for example the finest meat stick in the world, the Kabanosy. This sausage has been made the same way for a few hundred years and every person loves it and is familiar with the sausage recipe. Although the communist government moved Poland back in time, they have created rigid standards for making meat products and sausages and those standards were rigidly enforced. This forced the state run meat industry to produce great products which were the same all over the country. There is probably no other country in the world that has created national standards for making sausages and enforced them for 50 years. The disliked sytem is long gone but it has left behind the legacy of wonderful meat products which are still made and sold in Poland. Although the sausage recipe may remain close to the original, the modern methods of production and chemicals that are used produce products that might look pretty but do not taste the same as before. The only way to experience the taste of those original sausages is to make them yourself at home.
The Official List
Hot Smoked Dry and Semi-Dry Sausages
(Kiełbasy trwałe i półtrwałe pieczone lub parzone)
(B = Baked, P = Poached, P/B = Poached or Baked)
Cold Smoked Dry and Semi-Dry Sausages
(Not Cooked, Ready to Eat)
(Kiełbasy trwałe, półtrwałe i nietrwałe wedzone surowe)
|2*||Hunter's Sausage||B||Kiełbasa myśliwska||2||Hungarian Salami||Salami Węgierskie|
|3*||Salami Krakowskie||B||Salami kakowskie||3||Salmon Sausage||Kiełbasa Łososiowa|
|4*||Juniper Sausage||B||Kiełbasa jałowcowa||4||Delicatessen Sausage||Kiełbasa Delikatesowa|
|5||Hunt Sausage||B||Kiełbasa łowiecka||5||Hungarian Smoked Sausage||Kiełbasa Węgierska Wędzona|
|6||Podkarpacka Sausage||B||Kiełbasa podkarpacka||6*||Polish Smoked Sausage||Kiełbasa Polska Wędzona|
|7||Loin Sausage||B||Kiełbasa polędwicowa||7||Smoked Frankfurters||Frankfurterki Wędzone|
|8*||Limanowska Sausage||B||Kiełbasa limanowska||8||Soft Serwolatka||Serwolatka Miękka|
|9||Tarnowska Veal Sausage||B||Kiełbasa cielęca tarnowska||9*||Metka||Metka|
|10*||Tuchowska Sausage||B||Kiełbasa tuchowska||10*||Pomorska Metka||Metka Pomorska|
|11||Beef Sausage||B||Kiełbasa wołowa krajana||11*||Brunszwicka Metka||Metka Brunszwicka|
|12*||Rzeszowska Sausage||B||Kiełbasa rzeszowska||12*||Salmon Metka||Metka Łososiowa|
|13*||Countryside Sausage||B||Kiełbasa wiejska||
Fresh Sausages (Not Ready to Eat)
(Kiełbasy nietrwałe surowe)
|14*||Krakowska Cut Sausage||B||Kiełbasa krakowska krajana||1*||White Sausage||Kiełbasa biała surowa|
|15||Vacation Sausage||B||Kiełbasa wczasowa||
|16||Tourist Sausage||B||Kiełbasa turystyczna||1||Italian Head Cheese (Polish Style)||Salceson włoski|
|17*||Krakowska Sausage||P/B||Kiełbasa krakowska||2*||Silesian Head Cheese||Salceson śląski|
|18||Foundry Sausage||P||Kiebasa hutnicka||3*||Brunszwicki Head Cheese||Salceson brunszwicki|
|19||Bialostocka Sausage||P||Kiełbasa białostocka||4*||Tongue Head Cheese||Salceson ozorkowy|
|20*||Baltycka Sausage||P/B||Kiełbasa bałtycka||5*||Black Head Cheese||Salceson czarny|
|21*||Ukrainian Sausage||P||Kiełbasa ukraińska||6*||Pomorski Black Head Cheese||Salceson czarny pomorski|
|22*||Zywiecka Sausage||P/B||Kiełbasa żywiecka||7*||Wolsztynski Head Cheese||Salceson wolsztyński|
|23||Kujawska Sausage||P||Kiełbasa kujawska||8*||All trimmings Head Cheese||Salceson podrobowy|
|24*||Lithuanian Sausage||P/B||Kiełbasa litewska||9*||Mazowiecki Head Cheese||Salceson mazowiecki|
|25*||Podhalanska Sausage||P/B||Kiełbasa podhalańska||10*||Countryside Head Cheese||Salceson wiejski|
|26||Tarnogorska Sausage||P||Kiełbasa tarnogórska||11||Pork Head Cheese||Głowizna wieprzowa prasowana|
|27*||Beer Sausage||P/B||Kiełbasa piwna||
(Kiszki pasztetowe i wątrobiane)
|28||Goose Beer Sausage||P||Kiełbasa piwna z gęsiną||1*||Pate Sausage||Kiszka pasztetowa|
|29||Torunska Pork Sausage||P||Kiełbasa toruńska wieprzowa||2*||Pate Sausage with Semolina||Kiszka pasztetowa z kaszą manną|
|30||Belzka Sausage||P||Kiełbasa bełzka||3*||Liver Sausage||Kiszka wątrobiana|
|31||Serbska Sausage||P||Kiełbasa serbska||4*||Obornicka Liver Sausage||Kiszka wątrobiana obornicka|
Hot Smoked Regular Sausages
(Kiełbasy nietrwałe grubo- i średniorozdrobnione)
|5||Liver Sausage with Barley Groats||Kiszka wątrobiana z kaszą jęczmienną|
|1*||Ham Sausage||P||Kiełbasa szynkowa||
|2||Beef Ham Sausage||P||Kiełbasa szynkowa wołowa||1*||Brain Sausage||Kiszka mózgowa|
|3*||Lemon Sausage||P||Kiełbasa cytrynowa||2*||Pork Jowl Sausage||Kiszka podgardlana|
|4*||Krakowska Sausage||P||Kiełbasa krakowska||3||Countryside Sausage||Kiszka wiejska|
|5*||Garlic Sausage||P||Kiełbasa czosnkowa||
|6*||Silesian Sausage||P||Kiełbasa śląska||1*||Breadcrumbs Blood Sausage||Kiszka bułczana krwista|
|7*||Ordinary Sausage||P||Kiełbasa zwyczajna||2*||Lodzka Blood Sausage||Kiszka łódzka|
|8*||Caraway Sausage||P||Kiełbasa kminkowa||3*||Blood Sausage||Kiszka krwista|
|9||King Sausage||P||Kiełbasa królewiecka||4*||Blood Sausage Ordinary||Kiszka krwista zwyczajna|
|10||Bieszczady Sausage||P||Kiełbasa bieszczadzka||5*||Blood Sausage Supreme||Kiszka kaszana wyborowa jęczmienna lub gryczana|
|11*||Gnieznienska Sausage||P||Kiełbasa gnieżnieńska||6*||Blood Sausage Popular||Kiszka kaszana popularna jęczmienna lub gryczana|
|12*||Bydgoska Sausage||P||Kiełbasa bydgoska||7*||Rice Blood Sausage||Kiszka krwista z ryżem|
|13*||Tomaszowska Sausage||P||Kiełbasa tomaszowska||8*||Silesian Krupnioki||Krupnioki śląskie|
|14||Mazowiecka Sausage||P||Kiełbasa mazowiecka||
This is the official list of Polish Sausages as listed in Polish Government Recipe Guides. These sausages were made by the state meat plants and distributed throughout the country for sale. Most of those sausages are still made today.
Sausages marked with an asterisk ( * ) are listed in the book Polish Sausages
|15||Sluzewiecka Sausage||P||Kiełbasa służewiecka|
(Kiełbasy nietrwałe drobno rozdrobnione)
|2*||Steamed Sausage||P||Kiełbasa parówkowa|
|3*||Steamed Sausage links||P||Parówki|
|4*||Serdelowa Veal Sausage||P||Kiełbasa serdelowa cielęca|
|5*||Serdelowa Sausage||P||Kiełbasa serdelowa|
|6*||Mortadela (Polish Style)||P||Mortadela|
|7*||Veal Mortadel (Polish Style)||P||Mortadela cielęca|
|8||Italian Mortadela (Polish Style)||P||Mortadela włoska|
|9||Beef Mortadela||P||Mortadela wołowa|
|10*||Polish Sausage Links||P||Kiełbaski porcjowe|
|11*||Bacon sausage||P||Kiełbasa boczkowa|
|12||Popular Sausage Links||P||Kiełbaski porcjowe popularne|
|13||Cieszyn Steamed Sausage Links||P||Parówki cieszyńskie|
|14||Popular Sausage Links with Semolina||P||Kiełbaski porcjowe popularne z kaszą manną|
The Official Classification
Polish sausage classification sounds very technical and is somewhat confusing. It divides sausages by the size of the minced meat. You may say that the the size of the grinder plate establishes sausage type:
- finely minced - meat particles below 5 mm (3/16")
- finely minced uncooked
- finely minced "wysokowydajne" - gain of the finished sausage is more than 135 % in relation to the original meat weight
- medium minced - meat particles between 5-20 mm (3/16 - 3/4")
- medium minced uncooked
- medium minced "wysokowydajne" - gain of the finished sausage is more than 120 % in relation to the original meat weight
- medium minced semi-dry
- coarse minced - meat particles over 20 mm (over 3/4")
- coarse minced uncooked
- coarse minced
- coarse minced high yield - gain of the finished sausage is more than 115 % in relation to the original meat weight.
- coarse minced dry
Note: to produce a high yield sausage ("wysokowydajna") which weighs much more the original weight of meat used requires the addition of water and chemicals that will hold this water inside. Note that there is no upper limit.
Almost all sausages that will belong to one of the above groups will be called by its general name Kielbasa and will be followed by its proper name, for example: Kielbasa Szynkowa, Kielbasa Wiejska, Kielbasa Serdelowa, Kielbasa Krakowska, Kielbasa Mysliwska etc.
Then there is a more practical classification:
- long life (trwałe), less than 35% water - dry and semi-dry sausages - cold smoked, not cooked but ready to eat, Metka (Metka), Polish Smoked Sausage (Cold Smoked) (Polska Kiełbasa Wędzona, zimnym dymem)
- semi - life (półtrwałe), less than 60% water - dry and semi-dry sausages-smoked and cooked (baked or poached), Kabanosy (Kabanosy), Mysliwska Sausage (Myśliwska)
- short life (nietrwałe), 60-75% water) - regular smoked sausages, smoked and poached in water, Ham Sausage (Kiełbasa Szynkowa), Garlic Sausage (Kiełbasa Czosnkowa)
- emulsified sausages (and smoked) -like our hot dogs or bologna, Serdelowa Sausage, Bacon Sausage
- fresh sausages-not smoked, need to be cooked before consumption, White Sausage
plus a special group of sausages:
- head cheeses
- liver sausages
- liver pate sausages
- blood sausages
Pate, liver and blood sausages are commonly known as kiszka sausages.
Fresh, emulsified and special group sausages belong to short-life sausages.
Sausages in the special group are made from less noble parts of the animal like: organ meat (liver, heart, lung, brain, spleen, tripe, casings, jowls, dewlap, skins, snouts and blood). When you see the word kiszka in the name it signifies the fact that organ meats and/or blood were used as materials. Our beloved hot dogs, bologna or its american version known as boloney are made from such meats.
The special group of sausages are fully cooked (boiled) sausages which are normally not smoked. However, at your discretion liver sausages can be smoked for this characteristic smoky flavor. Some headcheeses were also smoked to extend their keeping qualities.
Then each sausage, including special group sausages, is further broken down by the permissible amount (in percent) of protein, fat, salt and water it can contain. We are not going to study Polish sausages in such a detail as this is not a meat technology book and it may create unnecessary confusion.
We would like to mention the fact that it is possible to make different types of a particular sausage not changing its original recipe but employing different manufacturing techniques. And the same sausage will have a different texture, will have a different degree of saltiness and will have different degree of preservation qualities. White Sausage and Polish Smoked Sausage (cold or hot smoked) are made up of the same ingredients but are different products. Smoked variety is cured and has nitrite added, all the rest remains the same. In everyday life people will simply drop the noun Kielbasa altogether and will ask in a store for: Szynkowa, Wiejska, Serdelowa, Krakowska, Mysliwska etc. This is all that is needed as everybody is pretty much familiar with those names hearing them around from childhood. Tthe word kielbasa (a sausage) has a little meaning if you do not follow it with the proper name of the sausage.