I have eyed this recipe up for a couple of years now. A few years ago my good friend Marc gave me a bunch of suggestions for cookbooks. I had reached a rut in what I was cooking, and wanted an out. Marc is a total hoarder (honestly, his habit redefines the term hoarding) of cookbooks so he seemed like the logical person to turn to. Among many books he recommended that day was “Thai Food” by David Thompson. I ordered it on the spot. Authentic Thai is a long way from the heavy sweet noodle rich dishes we see in most American-Thai joints – there is a lovely balance between sour and sweet, and complex saltiness.
When the book arrived, the first page I opened the book on, quite accidentally, was the Smoked Sausage, Sai Grop recipe. Thai sausage is typically much softer than most European counterparts, mainly because of the addition of many more things other than pork and spices. This recipe has a fair amount of coconut cream, fish sauce and fresh curry paste. The texture ends up more reminiscent of a firmer blood sausage. This sausage is first marinaded, then stuffed, then smoked, then grilled to finish. It certainly isn’t a recipe to turn to when you want to knock out a batch of sausage in 30 minutes, but if you have a lazy evening with not much going on, then it will fill your time quite nicely.
I modified David Thompson’s recipe a bit. I knocked the amount of liquid down a bit, and cut the fresh chili down some. The later was a shame. It barely has any spice to it. The recipe you see below has my reduced liquid content, but the chili’s at recipes full amount. If you were to double the liquid, then you could easily stuff this in to casing “blood sausage style” – either with a piping bag with a big nozzle, or by cutting the base off a large plastic soda bottle, and using that as a stuffer. To smoke, David suggested smoking in a wok using coconut, sugar and tea leaves as fuel. Frankly I have never had much luck using sugar as a smoking fuel, so I smoked the puppies over applewood in my smoker.
Thai Smoked Sausage Recipe
(adapted from Thai Food, by David Thompson)
NOTE: the original recipe didn’t call for Cure1. Personally whenever I smoke meat I add cure1, to prevent the chance of botulism.
250g (8oz) minced fatty pork (pork shoulder is good here)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon palm sugar
1/4 cup coconut cream
2 tablespoons shredded kaffir lime leaves
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
3 feet sausage casing (I used regular hogs casings)
0.5g cure1 (available here: http://www.sausagemaker.com/11050instacureand153no18oz.aspx)
4 dried long red chillies, deseeded, soaked and drained
large pinch of salt
2 tablespoons chopped lemongrass
1 tablespoon chopped galangal
1 tablespoon chopped coriander root
1 teaspoon finely grated kaffir lime zest
3 tablespoons minced garlic
4 tablespoons chopped red shallot
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
1/2 cup ground roasted peanuts
Soak the sausage casings in cold water for at least two hours, preferably 6. Change the water a few times during soaking. If the casings aren’t soaked for long enough they run the risk of splitting during stuffing.
Make the paste by pounding it all up in a pestle and mortar. If you get bored use a food processor, but apparently the results aren’t as good. Mix the paste with the minced pork, and other ingredients. Let sit for a couple of hours in the fridge. This is a good idea before smoking sausage anyhow – smoke sticks much better to a dry piece of meat than a wet piece.
Clean the casings by running cold water through them. Pack the meat mixture into your sausage stuffer, and fit with a medium to large stuffer tube that fits well with the hogs casings. Put the casings on the stuffer tube and start cranking out the meat. As the meat nears the end of the casing, tie the casing off. Keep stuffing until all the meat is in the casing. Tie off the casing and twist into links – length is up to you, 5″ or so is fine. If you now chill the sausage uncovered for an hour or so you will find the casings dry out a bit making it easier to cut into groups of links without the twists coming undone.
Prepare your smoker to smoke at 170F. Smoke your sausages until you get an internal meat temperature of 150F. Prepare an ice bath, and put your sausages in there immediately after smoking. Once completely chilled, refrigerate.
When it comes time to serve the sausage – cook them over charcoal, or in a cast iron pan, getting a nice sear on the outside. Remember, the smoking “cooked” them so all we are doing here is adding color, crisping up the casing, and heating them through. 10 minutes should be your max cooking time.