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Polska Kielbasa Wedzona

Posted: Tue Jan 05, 2016 02:27
by Butterbean
I have what may sound like a silly question about this sausage. I've never made it and I just put a batch in the smoker to smoke for the next day or so. My intent is to adhere to the traditional process as closely as possible and so far so good. What I am wondering about is how was this eaten? Raw once it completed its drying or was this process only used for storage reasons and it was cooked later in a dish? Or was it consumed both ways? Just curious.

BTW - they are looking pretty at the moment so I have high hopes.

Posted: Tue Jan 05, 2016 09:48
by redzed
BB looking forward to seeing the results. I have never made this sausage. In Poland, Polska Kielbasa Wedzona is popular grilled or finished by poaching. It is not eaten raw. Sometimes it is dried.

Posted: Tue Jan 05, 2016 14:52
by Butterbean
Thanks Redzed. If the weather continues like it is I think I'll hang them all and see where they go.

I got up early this morning so I could check on the smokehouse before I had to start work. It was purring along fine and I still probably had enough wood in the box for another 8 hours but re-stoked it and let it build a little steam before I shut the door.


I checked the sausages and found they are just beginning to get that yellow-brown color but its only faint. It got cold last night and the humidity in the smokehouse had dropped to 70% so I hosed the floor down. I'll check them again late this afternoon and if they haven't taken on the color I'll re-stoke and let them smoke through the night till tomorrow.

I had one minor event. One of the links broke and three of the sausages hit the floor and one burst. I was using what was supposed to be 38 mm casings but I think they were bigger and there was a lot of weight in the links. After a few choice words were said I thought I might as well make the best of it so I sampled a little of the mince. The use of freshly ground spices was evident and the fermentation gave it a nice tart flavor. pH was at 4.95.

I then cooked a link to see how that tasted. It was beautiful and the use of high quality meat cuts and fresh spices is so evident that it gave me an epiphany as to the importance of keeping things simple and using quality ingredients. To compare this sausage to the kielbasa one can buy in a store is what I think would be sacrilege. I can't wait to see what they taste like once they have finished smoking and the flavors are concentrated from the drying - assuming the train don't wreck before it gets there.


Posted: Fri Jan 15, 2016 20:49
by Butterbean
I'd forgotten about these and checked them today. They have been hanging since Jan 3. They lost 34.4%, pH 4.95 and aW 0.92.

Sliced into one for a test and ended up having them for lunch with some crackers and cheese. I think I like them better raw than cooked. The flavor is wonderful and tastes nothing like the kielbasa you buy in the store. I'll definitely be making more of these.


Posted: Sat Jan 16, 2016 06:21
by redzed
Looks like you ended up with a totally different sausage than intended. Probably did not ferment, just dried, the way a lot of the French sausages are made.

Posted: Sat Jan 16, 2016 14:31
by Butterbean
I'm confused. If the pH dropped to 4.95 in the first 36 hours how can you say it didn't ferment? Drying was only 6.5% at this point and I didn't think drying has anything to do with pH drop.

Once this hurdle was met the sausages were moved to the smoking stage which consisted of intermittent cold smoke for 2 days and the humidity was around 60-80%.

After this they just hung to dry at 70% humidity till yesterday. I cryovacked them to stop the drying because I like this texture just where it is because I plan on eating most of these like salami rather than cooking.

Posted: Sat Jan 16, 2016 20:03
by redzed
It dropped to a pH of 4.95 without starters and sugar? And while this does not directly apply to your situation. drying and pH are related. Based on what the meat scientists write, meat that has been fermented will dry faster as it reduces water activity. And meat that is fermented with a faster acidifying culture will also dry faster than if a slower culture were used.

Did you use this recipe? ... +w%EAdzona

Posted: Sun Jan 17, 2016 01:01
by Butterbean
I used Marianski's recipe on page 86 of his Polish Sausage book. It calls for sugar and a 1-2 day "drying" time at 35-42F and 85-90% humidity. Then 2 days smoke then a secondary drying at 53F and 75-80% humidity.

What I understood this to mean was they would basically ferment the meat in this first drying cycle then move to the smoke then once the smoke was finished let it dry.

For my own peace of mind, I checked the pH of the meat and added enough dextrose based on the 1gr- 0.3 rule you gave me to where I thought it would get the pH to beneath 5.2 then added a starter. FRM52. When the pH dropped to 4.95 I felt safe with these hurdles and moved them to the smokehouse to cold smoke two days. After that the weather was good so I just left it hanging in 60-70% humidity without smoke. His procedure called for a finished product at 82% only I forgot about them and let them shrink to 34% but I also added 8 oz of water with the starter so I might be closer to the books shrink than I show.

Right or wrong I'm well pleased with the results and will definitely make again.

Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 00:46
by redzed
You didn't mention in your initial posts that you added cultures and was fermenting it. The recipe in Marianski's book does not call for fermentation. But since you did, then of course drying it to a 35% weight drop was the appropriate thing to do. Looks like you ended up with a good dry sausage. :grin:

Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 01:17
by Butterbean
Maybe I'm reading it wrong but on page 81 Marianski lists some sausages which are dry/semi-dry that can be eaten raw and this is the first sausage on the list so what I gathered is you had a choice with this and with their process they were fermenting it during the two day "drying period" so I was trying to follow this as closely as possible but I didn't want to take my chances with natural fermentation when its so easy to use a little science to help nature along. Same reason I use curing salt. Just makes sense to me.

I poached some like you would a normal polish sausage and then grilled them then used them in a couple of dishes. They are very good this way too. I also split one and grilled it to make a polish sausage sub. No telling how many of these I've made when I was working in college at a Pub and it was my favorite sandwich but this tastes nothing like the Polish Sausage we used. It is real meaty, flavor intense and very filling. Its like a Polish sausage on steroids.

I don't know if I ended up with a sausage similar to what he describes by this tweak but I will say its one of the best sausages I've ever eaten and if I've invented something new, which I think not, I'd proudly take claim to it. :lol:


Posted: Sat Jan 30, 2016 23:10
by Butterbean
Just to update this thread. I left some hanging to dry further and tested them today. This is at 49% shrink. I really like the flavor and I'll definitely be making these again. Actually I am. I have 25 more pounds drying now.



Posted: Sun Jan 31, 2016 01:25
by redzed
Hey BB! that sausage looks terrific , sure would like a bite or two! You have taken it well beyond what the original Polska Kielbasa Wedzona actually is which the basic Polish sausage that is cold smoked and then eaten after poaching, grilling or frying. I think you created something you can your own or maybe you can call it "Saucisson Polonaise". :lol: Looks I'm going to put it on my "to do" list.

Posted: Sun Jan 31, 2016 03:12
by Butterbean
I don't know. You may be right. I've just always envisioned the country folks of Poland making this and hanging it in their kitchen's till use and it progressively drying till use. I've eaten it from from the point they say they could sell it (and before) to this point of drying and at each point it is delicious.

When added to a pot of Bigos it really adds to the dish giving it a very meaty bite which is a stark contrast when compared to the marshmellowy kielbasa you can purchase today. Eaten uncooked like salami it is just that. The simplicity of the spice profile is the beauty of it I think. Definitely one of the best dried sausages I've ever eaten.

If you do make some I'd highly suggest using fresh garlic rather than powder.

Posted: Sun Jan 31, 2016 19:10
by redzed
Butterbean wrote: I've just always envisioned the country folks of Poland making this and hanging it in their kitchen's till use and it progressively drying till use.
You are right about that. There are numerous variations of traditional dried sausages in Poland, some cold smoked and some simply stuffed and hung "in an airy location". Some of the older recipes call for saltpetre and others cured with salt only. There are several recipes for such sausages on the Polish WD site and perhaps I should translate them and post them here.
Butterbean wrote:If you do make some I'd highly suggest using fresh garlic rather than powder.
Since we are on the subject of garlic, how do you preserve yours? All of the garlic that I bought last fall is sprouting, and although I always remove that green centre, the quality is compromised. And for some reason freezing garlic is not recommended. :shock:

Posted: Sun Jan 31, 2016 19:46
by crustyo44
I use quality stewed garlic nowadays here, vitamised, frozen and vac packed in Snagman's Csabai. We are being swamped with Chinese garlic with no taste at all and coated in chemicals.
Where I live, growing garlic is just impossible so when friends from the south send me some home grown fresh garlic it gets used rather quick in sausages.