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Klink's Sausage Diary, Day 24

col klink

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Sausage Diary, Day 24, 11/22/2002

I’ve now had three weeks to think back on my kielbasa project and I couldn’t have been happier with the outcome, my local friends were all really pleased with the outcome as well as my grandparents and the recipients on the East coast. If it wasn’t for the fact I’m moving this weekend (don’t worry Pac NW folks, just to another part of Seattle) I would have already have done another batch or two. But don’t worry, more sausage and my new smoker is eventually on the way.

So this diary entry basically summarizes the results of the first batch of kielbasa. First will be my thoughts then I'll follow them with a professional's opinion. I felt that the unsmoked kielbasa’s flavor wasn’t strong enough and this feeling applies to the smoked links as well since the smokiness was the most predominant flavor even with the second batch and soaking the first batch. Now for a comparison: a week later all of my cased sausage was gone (this is a good thing) so I purchased some commercial “smoked” kielbasa for some red beans and rice. If the package didn’t say smoked I never would have guessed, but this is a national brand that is produced and distributed on a national level and I’m sure they comply with whatever regulations stipulate the minimum amount of smoking to be declared “smoked.” Anyway, the biggest difference I could detect aside from the smokiness is the strength of pepper. My kielbasa was definitely under peppered; I credit jhlurie for noticing this on his own. And of course, I thought that my kielbasa could use at least 50% more garlic and will probably use 100% more garlic in the next batch. Hopefully I can overshoot! As for the rest of the sausage, I thought the texture of the ground meat was perfect though the first batch’s casing/skin was too tough. But the tough and wrinkled skin was due to smoking that batch too long, resulting in the pork fat rendering out and leaving too much casing. I was quite happy with the mouthfeel of my kielbasa and am quite proud of how smooth it was.

But forget the amateur’s opinion, my Grandfather received some of my kielbasa and my Grandmother prepared it, both of whom used to make kielbasa back in the day. Here’s his response:

Had some of your Kielbasa Monday eveing for dinner.  Rarely have it for lunch, kielbasa is a dinner favorite.

First of all, it is still a surprise to me to know about all your adventures in cooking, sausage making and even in home brews of beer.  The sausage was suprisingly good Matt.  But I can only help you a little bit.  One thing that was obvious was that the meat was ground up too fine.  Typically it seems, Kielbasa meat is very chunky or heavily ground.  And that kielbasa is more chewy.  I don't know if the mixture requires a greater portion of beef or whether a more chunky texture will afford the final product the heavier body and chewiness.  Maybe both, more beef and chunkier grind.

Not only that, my Mother and I have been talking about the kielbasa as well:

So how about sending me some kielbasa?  I stayed at my grandparents house for a while each summer.  Grandma would bring in the sausage fresh from the smoker for our lunch.  And of course that is the only kielbasa that our family ever ate.  And we ate it at nearly every holiday and birthday and for whatever reason there was to eat.

My mom should be able to help you with the seasonings and the texture.  Do you remember her index finger?  It's stubby.  She was helping her Dad make sausage and stuck her finger in the grinder.  She was quite young and, boy, did Grandpa get in trouble with his wife.

As she has always told me, the kielbasa was basically pork , beef and garlic, but here’s her most recent email regarding the kielbasa:

Loved the diaries - you are so entertaining.

As I recall Uncle Ed's comments re the recipe, he said it was pork, beef, garlic and pepper. (emphasis added)

Once you perfect your recipe, and you are hounded for bounteous amounts of sausage, my Dad and I will put our heads together and reproduce blueprints of Grandpa's smokehouse.  It was about the size of a one seat outhouse, and seemed about 6 or 7 ft tall.  Maybe 4 ft square at the base, rounded top.  Links of 12" sausage hung from poles about half way down the structure.

This is an awesome endeavor on your part.  Such a tribute to my mother's family, and your Polish heritage.  

Gotta get back to work.  Love you, Mom.

Great, NOW she tells me. :wacko: (sssh! she’s reading this, don’t tell her!!!)

So in summary, I had a tasty product but a product that wasn’t exactly kielbasa. I still have at least 2lbs of uncased kielbasa sitting in my freezer and (hopefully) the week after Thanksgiving I’ll start on my second batch of sausage and I’ll make an attempt on round 2 of the kielbasa chronicles as well as take a stab at a whole new sausage paradigm which is at this point Italian sausage.

Oh, I really don’t have any new pictures but I thought I’d at least show you where I’ve been writing all of these journals:


That and this picture taken less than 15 minutes from where my parents live in Upper Michigan, an area that is serious about it’s deer hunting:


FYI the new deer hunting season is about to start!

<< Previous Installment

edited for content, basically somebody didn't like the fact I was drinking Black Velvet so it's been replaced with Rum and Crangerine.

Edited by col klink (log)
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Go Klink!

A wonderful wrapup to a great project. But you never answered the biggest question of them all!!!!! When are you going to build your own smoking outhouse? It would be a glorious sight indeed.


Edit: Whoopsie doodle

Edited by Schielke (log)

Gimme what cha got for a pork chop!


I have two words for America... Meat Crust.


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Black Velvet on the rocks?

Klink, I forget whether you did a side by side taste of your Kielbasa with Hempler's Kielbasa? Other than your own, do you know who makes the best Kielbasa product in Seattle?

(Hi klink's mom and family if you are reading this! We love klink! He's the best. :cool: )

Ben, please edit your post, klink's mom & grandparents might be reading this! :shock:

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Ben, please edit your post, klink's mom & grandparents  might be reading this! :shock:

Bet they already knew about his [whoopsie doodle-ness]. :biggrin:

Edited by MsRamsey (log)

"Save Donald Duck and Fuck Wolfgang Puck."

-- State Senator John Burton, joking about

how the bill to ban production of foie gras in

California was summarized for signing by

Gov. Schwarzenegger.

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The old picture had did indeed have Black Velvet but I've replaced the picture to show Rum and Crangerine (it's so versatile!) and this pic shows the other half of the coaster. That's the problem when you post and drink, sometimes you don't pet the sweaty stuff, no wait, I didn't sweat the petty stuff and obviously overlooked certain items on my desk. This pic also shows how vigilant my cat Grace is at sniffing out trouble whilst stepping on my worthless World Series tickets.

Heron, the kielbasa was a version that Kroger sells through Fred Meyer. I have yet to find a decent kielbasa here in Seattle. Tell you what, the next time I'm at A&J's up on Queen Anne, I'll try their apple smoked kielbasa and report. But I imagine it won't be smokey enough since their meat and sausage usually aren't. It's not their fault, they use apple wood.

Whoopsie doodle: heh, heh. "As the tree said to the lumberjack, I'm stumped!"

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sweet, sweet news folks. As you know, I've been corresponding my grandfather about the kielbasa he used to make with his grandfather and I just received this:

I'm writing to get some recomendations from you.  I got some Polish Kielbasa from a genuine, absolutely Polish Deli.  I've had it many a time and it's as good as Grandpa's.  I had them vacuum pack it for me.  Please, how did you send yours to us and what is the best way for me to send this to you.  Do I freeze it or because it's smoked, will it weather the 2 or 3 day shipment?  

E-mail me first chance you get so I can mail this out to you.

Best wishes!

Woo hoo! Reports to follow!

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Is that deer going to wind up in some future sausage?  :shock:  :cool:  :raz:

Funny you should mention that, two weeks before I started my from now on, lifelong experiment, I made some venison sausage which triggered me making my own. I might be coming into some bear meat here shortly but I doubt it'll make it into sausage. :sad:

Jason, the week after next I'll be making more sausage, right before Christmas. How much of your initial supply have you eaten? I was going to do mostly Italian (something I know *nothing* about) and at least 2 lbs of kielbasa but I'm far more interested in the kielbasa especially since I'll have some of the real thing to gauge my own on. Split it down the middle? 10# kielbasa and 10# Italian?

And should I start a new thread on what makes a good traditional smoked Italian sausage to germinate my own?

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Here's another update:

We mailed out the cookies and the kielbasa to you yesterday (Thursday).  I hope you get it by Saturday.

I sent you the kielbasa to that you could sample it for the various flavors, spices, texture and the like.  It may or not be to your particular tastes.  But it gives you a better idea of how Eleanor's Dad had his kielbasa turn out.

Take good care of yourself and our best wishes, of course.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Another update. Last night I started on batch 2 of my kielbasa and finally opened up the kielbasa that my Grandfather sent me. HOLY COW! That is some amazing sausage! It was like nothing I've ever had before, at least not that I can remember. I may have had some of the good stuff back in the day before I knew what kielbasa was, but I sure don't remember it.

First of all, there's no paprika and the pepper flavor is rather strong. That coupled with a chewy texture and you're in heaven. It was definitely smoked but that isn't the first thing you notice, it's more of a background note that easier to smell than taste which might be hard to nail down. I've altered my recipe by doubling the amount of beef and dramatically raising the amount of pepper but keeping the amount of garlic about the same. All right, I'm running out of time, I need to case what I have and start the smoker! When I get back from the holidays, I should have DSL and I'll be able to post some pics in a new diary.

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Hey folks, here's a little teaser for y'all:


D'oh! There's no drink!

Just to let everyone know, there might not be enough for samples to be distributed. I only made nine pounds and some's going to the folks when I fly out tomorrow, some's going to the grandparents and I'm sending some to go home with Batgrrrl's for her folks. There's also the New Year's Eve party at Nightscotsman's place (who's coming over here to help in about a half hour) that I need to save some for. As I found out with the first batch, 14 pounds didn't go very far at all, I had maybe 4 links total for myself. However, some exceptions might be made. :cool:

But don't worry folks, come January, I'll really step up production and will be able to send out more of that sweet, sweet sausage y'all so desperately need.

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OK, I had to post my gloat - I just back from Klink's where I was able help a tiny bit with stuffing the second half of the current batch and lend moral support while he stoked the fire. We pulled some off the smoker about an hour ago and sliced one up for "testing" purposes. I'm completely drooling right now just thinking about how wonderful they taste! He used much more garlic and black pepper this time and it made a huge difference. And can I just say that pork fat is a wonderful thing? I even got one to bring home and was unable to keep from consuming half of it as soon as I got it to the kitchen - still warm from the smoker. Mmmmmmmmmm...

Klink is da Man!

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Wow I just read everything to catch up, and am beyond impressed, Colonel. So inspiring, not just the finished product, which is of course inspiration in itself, but your dedication and enthusiasm.

And Grace is such a pretty girl.


Writer, cook, & c. ● #TacoFriday observant ●  Twitter    Instagram


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