Yesterday, I did NOT go down to the Hands-On Museum and operate WA2HOM, as I usually do. Instead, I participated in a family tradition – making sausage before Christmas. Romanchik is a Slovak name, and the sausage we make, klobasa, is the Slovak version of the Polish sausage kielbasa. Yesterday, we only made 25 pounds, but in the past we have made up to 80 pounds in a single sausage-making session.
Here’s the recipe:
- 10 pounds pork butt
- 1 head garlic
- 1 tablespoon pepper
- 3 tablespoons salt
- 1 teaspoon marjoram
- 3 cups water or ice
- 1/4 pound sausage casings
The secret to making good klobasa is using just the right amount of garlic. When my family makes sausage, Brenda and I are in charge of adding the garlic. The first thing we do is peel one head of garlic for each ten pounds of meat. We then put the garlic in a blender, add some water, chop the garlic, and then let the mixture set for at least half an hour.
Next, we cut the pork butts, also known as Boston roasts. The butts average about 8 pounds and have a bone. To make sausage, you have to cut out the bone and then cut the meat into small cubes. While cutting, look for and remove any glands within the fat.
Cut away and discard unwanted fat and gristle, but don’t throw it all away. Fat absorbs the garlic and marjoram, and without it, the sausage will not be as flavorful as it could be.
Place the meat into a tub, add the spices, garlic, water or ice, and mix. We use ice instead of water. This adds the appropriate amount of moisture and keeps the meat fresh at the same time.
To get the proper amount of garlic, my sister and I add some garlic to the meat, lean over the tub and smell the mixture. Then, we look at each other, and say, “More garlic.” We repeat this until the smell is strong enough to suit us. One way we know that we’ve added enough garlic is if our mother can smell the garlic as she comes into the house.
After you’ve added enough garlic, let the meat mixture marinate for at least an hour. In the meantime, you can clean the casings. Natural casings come packed in salt, and before you can use them you have to rinse them, both inside and out with cold water.
The final step is to grind the meat and stuff the casings. The grinder we use has a sausage stuffer attachment so we grind and stuff in one step. To do this, you take a length of casing, tie a knot in one end, and slide the casing onto the sausage attachment. With this arrangement, the grinder grinds the meat right into the casing.
We package the sausage in plastic freezer bags and freeze most of it. In a good bag, the sausage will keep up to six months in the freezer.
I think this classifies as a home-brew project. What do you think?