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Making Kielbasa Krakowska Trwala at Home

Written By Culinary Pen on Sunday, March 9, 2014 | 4:50:00 PM

This is another recipe from the Marianski brothers/Gebarowski book on Polish sausages.  In that long Polish name of Kielbasa Krakowska Trwala, you can see the name of Krakow, the town where this sausage, if not originating, is at least best known as the city's most famous style of kielbasa.  Interestingly enough, in researching this sausage, I learned Krakow used to be the capital of Poland (which then also included Lithuania), until after the Polish-Swedish wars (of which there were many), when Swedish ruler Sigismund III moved the capital to Warsaw in 1596.
 But I digress.  What makes this sausage unique is the large chunks of meat mixed throughout the smooth mince of the kielbasa.  These chunks of meat are made of tender cuts from the loin, as large chunks of shoulder or leg would be very tough and unpleasant to eat.  I scaled my recipe down from the 5kg recipe in the book and ended up using 40% lean pork loin, 40% fatty pork butt, and 20% back fat.
The pork but and back fat were ground twice, through successively finer plates, to get a smooth, near-emulsion of meat.  To keep the loin distinct, it was just ground once.  I used my largest grinding plate, which has holes of 3/4" diameter.  This created very nice sized chunks of meat, compared to the rest of sausage, which was passed through a 1/4" plate at the smallest point.
Kielbasa forcemeat: finely ground trim and chunks of loin
For seasoning, I stuck with the traditional fresh garlic, marjoram, and black pepper.  Then the sausages were stuffed in 36/38mm hog casings and hot smoked for 5 hours with maple wood.  The last time I made kielbasa, I poached the sausages, and then cold smoked them.  They tasted great, but didn't have that dark mahogany color you'd expect.  So this time I decided to skip the poaching and go right to the smoke.  Going straight into the smoker worked really well, despite my fears that the slightly less-reliable temperature of the smoker might cause the fat to separate out from the meat.
I loved the flavoring of this kielbasa, but texturally it seemed a little dry to me.  Not unpleasantly dry, but not as rich and juicy as you expect kielbasa to be.  I think next time I will try to increase the fat by changing the ratio to 60% fatty pork butt, 20% lean, and 20% backfat.  One benefit is that the dryness made this kielbasa delicious to eat cold, as it didn't have a cold, fatty mouthfeel.  All in all, a delicious experiment!


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