I have been thinking for some time about making a sausage that I could smoke. I have always been very keen on any smoked food. I have been reading Al Brown’s book, Stoked – Cooking with Fire, and he says that if you use the term smoked on a restaurant menu to describe a dish, it will be the top selling item. I fit into the category of a restaurant patron who is keen on all the smoked items on the menu.
I acquired a fish smoker and it is time to experiment with smoking. I realise a fish smoker is not ideal for smoking snarlers, but it is an easy way to test out a few recipes. I used a recipe from the book, Home Sausage Making – smoked kielbasa, with some minor changes. I do like to tinker and alter recipes to fit my preferred flavours.
The ingredients comprised of a mixture of 6mm and 4mm ground pork shoulder. I added breadcrumbs, salt, paprika, brown sugar, white pepper, nutmeg, coriander, garlic, sage and chilled water. The mixture was initially quite dry, and I had to add double the amount of water I had anticipated.
I have made this recipe twice now. The first time I used the smoker on a small amount of sausages. These were ok, but did not have the strong flavour of smoke that I was looking for. I used manuka sawdust in the smoker and it takes about 20 minutes for the sawdust to burn and smoke the food. I doubled the smoking time for the second batch and these had a more pronounced smoke flavour. Once the family had eaten their fill, I took some to work and shared them with my work colleagues. They made appreciative noises but the best complement was the colleague who did not realise I had made them myself. She asked where I have bought them. Needless to say I was flattered.
For the latest batch of sausages I made, I smoked the snarlers for about an hour. Ideally the sausage should just be smoked and not cooked. Using the fish smoker meant the temperature was high, and I could not regulate the level of heat. The sausages were being cooked while smoking. I had a temperature gauge in the bottom of the smoker and at its peak it rose to ninety degrees. This meant that when the sausage was served it only needed to be heated through on the barbecue.
Our daughter turned twenty-one and as part of celebrating this milestone we held a whanau barbecue. I made the blue cheese, pear and walnut sausages, and the smoked kielbasa. The family had previously sampled the blue cheese pear and walnut sausages at Christmas. I made twenty-two larger snarlers but by the time I came to serve myself they were all gone – very poor food management on my part but a ringing endorsement from the family who were keen to have more of these popular sausages.
The smoked kielbasa had a strong aroma of smoke. The taste of the sausage was smoky, but not over powering. The aroma was strong on the nose, the smokiness was present on the palate but not as strong as the aroma may suggest. I enjoyed eating these and received favourable feedback from those present. There were a few left and one of the cousins expressed interest in taking few home, I was happy to oblige. The barbecue was a successful, fine food, coupled with a celebration of our daughter’s birthday.
In a day or so my mind will begin to wonder about the next variety I sausage I will create….