What is Kielbasa?
Having originated in Poland, Kielbasa is a delicious food item that is now enjoyed around the world. Nearly everyone has tried this sausage in some form and at some point in time, be it in a dish for dinner or straight off the grill. It is a fun word to say and has a most interesting history. Learn more about Kielbasa, how it is made and where it originated from below.
History of Kielbasa
The term ‘kielbasa’ was not mentioned in the history books until XVIII century. The term was used from that point on to describe a thick sausage that is dark in color, meaning it was heavily smoked. The sausage is a few feet in length and the technique used today is known as rope sausage. Kielbasa was commonly seen on the dinner tables of noblemen and knights of higher stature. Merchants were known to carry the sausage during long travels, and knights would often be seen carrying sausages on their belts. So, as you eat it today, think of yourself as royalty or knighted!
If you were to go to Poland today, you cannot simply ask for kielbasa or polish sausage. There are more than 100 types of kielbasa available today so you have to know what you are looking for. During the first creation of it, royalty was known to hunt and enjoy having their prey for dinner. Once the sausage was created, other meat was added in with the pork and spices such as rabbit, deer and wild boar. With these meats and new spices introduced, the kielbasa took on a new flavor and new recipes were created in the process. Today, new recipes are still made, so there is always something new to try and enjoy!
How is Kielbasa made?
Basically, meat is ground with fat and then spices are added. The mixture is then stuffed into hog casings and then smoked. The result is a flavorful meat sausage that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Many people like to grill their kielbasa while others enjoy slicing the sausage and cooking with cabbage or sauerkraut. Today, there are machines that can be purchased so you can make your own kielbasa or you can simply visit your favorite grocery store to purchase. Many restaurants also feature the sausage on the menu so you can try different flavors and varieties.
If you enjoy eating kielbasa, then you are sure to enjoy these unique facts about the unique sausage. For many centuries, kielbasa consisted of pork, pepper, salt, marjoram, and garlic. In 1964, the government of Poland decided to introduce a new variety which contained 80% pork and 20% beef. The other ingredients remained the same.
The meat used in polish sausage is cured before it is mixed with the spices. In the United States, the number one curing process used for the sausage is sodium nitrite plus salt. In Europe, the Peklosol process is used which also contains sodium nitrite with salt. During the stuffing process, the sausage is placed in a large hog casing that is 36 to 38 mm in size. This will form the 12-inch links. The traditional smoking process for kielbasa is one to one and a half days with a cold smoke. This way the flavor is locked in and lasts longer.
If you love kielbasa, be sure to try new flavors to possibly find a new favorite. If you have never tried the polish sausage before, give it a try. We have it on our menu at Chad’s.