Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sausage or Kielbasa

Have you ever had somebody ask you a words definition, and you kinda had a vibe what the word meant, and you probably even knew how to use this word in a sentence.....
But when the spotlight shined in your face, and Webster asked you once again to give this words definition, your mind just turned to slush.

That's exactly how I feel when I try to get all connoisseur like with sausages.

As a Polish - American, I grew up eating Polish sausage all the time.

Because I was a Pollack, it didn't matter what kind of sausage you put on our plate.....

If you tossed me a Ukrainian Sausage.....I'd eat it, lick my chops and simply thank you for the Polish.

But truth be told, that Ukrainian delicacy would actually be a Kielbasa.

So whats the difference between the two?

Kielbasa is a Polish product that has been produced for centuries.

It is also often misunderstood.

Kielbasa is the Polish name for “a sausage”.

A general term if you will........

When you go to Poland and walk in a store, you can't simply say......

"Give me a Kielbasa."

That would be like walking into an AM/PM and asking for a pop.

Dude behind the counter might give you anything from a Diet Coke to a Mountain Dew.

Kielbasa is a generic term.

The most popular Polish sausage is Polish Smoked Sausage, also known as Polska Kielbasa Wędzona,

This is what the first immigrants might have brought with them to America. The little problem we face here is that you can find Polish Sausage in almost every supermarket in the USA and no two are made the same way. The Polish Smoked Sausage has been well defined for centuries and almost everybody in Poland knows what goes inside.

We do not intend to become judges in this matter. Instead, we are going to rely on Polish Government Standards for Polish Smoked Sausage as those rules have remained unchanged for the last 60 years. This way if any reader does not agree with our recipes he is welcome to contact the Polish Meat Industry in Warsaw, which still publishes the latest standards for meat products and sausages through the Polish Bureau of Standards (Polski Komitet Normalizacyjny).

Before we anger many people who have been making Polish Smoked Sausage in their own way for many years, let’s clarify something further. If you add an ingredient that you or your children like into your sausage it is fine and you have the full right to say that you have made a better sausage than the famous Polish Smoked Sausage. You may say that your grandfather who came from Poland made the best Polish sausage in the world and we honor that. Maybe he used chicken stock instead of water or maybe he added something else.

What we are trying to say is that he was making his own version of the known classic or some other Polish sausage and it could have tasted better for you and your family. We do not dispute that fact. You can of course add anything you like to your sausage, but it will no longer be the original Polish Smoked Sausage (Polska Kielbasa Wędzona) or another sausage. Once you start changing ingredients you create your own recipe and you may as well come up with your own name. Let’s unravel some of the mystery:
  1. For centuries Polish Smoked Sausage was made entirely of pork. Then in 1964 the Polish Government introduced a second version of the sausage that was made of 80% pork and 20% beef. All other ingredients: salt, pepper, sugar, garlic, and marjoram remain the same in both recipes. The marjoram is optional but the garlic is a must.
  2. The meat is cured before it is mixed with spices.
  3. The sausage is stuffed into a large hog casing: 36 - 38 mm.
  4. The traditional way was to cold smoke it for 1 to 1.5 days (it had to last for long time).
  5. In most cases it is hot smoked today.
For curiosity sake let’s see how large American manufacturers make Polish Smoked Sausage. Four sausages called Polish Kielbasa were bought at the American supermarket and each of them were produced by a large and well known meat plant. Let’s see how they compare with the original Polish recipe.
Name Meat used Ingredients
Authentic Polish Smoked Sausage, Natural hardwood Smoked Pork salt, pepper, sugar, garlic, marjoram, sodium nitrite
Polish Sausage, Natural Hardwood Smoked Pork, beef, turkey salt, water, corn syrup, 2% or less dextrose, flavorings, ground yellow mustard, autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed whey protein, monosodium glutamate, potassium and sodium lactate, sodium diacetate, sodium nitrite, starch, (modified food, potato starch), Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid, Contains: milk
Polish Sausage, Natural Smoke Flavoring Added pork, turkey, beef (2% or less) salt, turkey broth, water, corn syrup, starch (potato, modified starch), dextrose, hydrolyzed milk protein, smoke flavoring, Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), autolyzed yeast, gelatin, sodium phosphate, sodium diacetate, sodium nitrite, potassium lactate, potassium chloride, granulated garlic, oleoresin of paprika, flavorings, ingredients not found in or in excess of amount permitted in regular smoked sausage, Contains: milk
Polish Sausage, Naturally Hickory Smoked Pork, beef salt, water, dextrose, natural spices, garlic powder, paprika, monosodium glutamate, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite
Polska Kielbasa Fully Cooked Beef salt, water, corn syrup, 2% or less of: natural spices, natural flavors, dextrose, monosodium glutamate, isolated soy protein, Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), sodium phosphates, sodium nitrite, Contains: soy

Looking at the above sausage recipes we tried to come up with a name of an equivalent Polish sausage that might fit the description but we couldn’t. It becomes quite clear that different manufacturers put different ingredients inside of the casing and the name Polish Kielbasa is used just for credibility and to gain the trust of the consumer. It seems that for some manufacturers any sausage that is smoked and stuffed into a 36 mm casing will qualify to be called the Polish Smoked Sausage or Polish Kielbasa.

Listed below is the recipe for a Ukrainian sausage..................

Ukrainian Sausage

Ukrainian sausage is a heavily smoked sausage that is cooked in water.
Meats Metric US
beef 700 g 1.54 lb.
pork jowls, hard fat trimmings, bacon 300 g 0.66 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.
paprika 2.0 g 1 tsp.
allspice 2.0 g 1 tsp.
marjoram 2.0 g 1½ tsp.
garlic 3.5 g 1 clove
cold water 150 ml ⅝ cup

The last thing I want to do is declare myself as an authoritarian on this topic.

I'm actually far from it.

I've taken much of this info from the internet just to give you guys a few examples......

Years ago when I was in  Gelendzhik and the Sochi district down by the Black Sea in southwestern Russia,

Ukrainian sausage was their sausage of choice.

The biggest difference is that this Russian version had a heavier pepper content and more of a burn on the back of the palate from the paprika.

But the burn was slow, it just kinda creeps into your mouth.

With all that said, I'm gonna make a confession, and I am sure JP2 and the Saint's of Warsaw will throw lightening bolts at me.....

But when I go into my favorite sausage shop, sometimes I do get the Polish, and sometimes I get the Ukrainian........

But everytime-everytime-everytime I walk up to that sausage case......

The first thing I say is......

"Give the Pollack a pound of Andouille."

Andouille is French in origin, and you know how I hate to give the Frogs any credit, but I swear to Polish Jesus.......

They created the greatest item I have ever tasted.

The Anddouille is so versatile.

You can toss it on a brat bun -

Throw it in chili -

Toss it in soup..............................

It's pretty much like a super model in a little black dress.......

It goes well with anything.

The Andouille is

and Seasonings.

All right.....I've said enough for a night.

I realize that sausage has little to do with baking, but it is God's favorite food.

I'm Danny Klecko, and I'll be here all week.

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