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Thai smoked sausage

January 10, 2013

Thai smoked sausage recipe

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

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 egg
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:

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.


Homemade Pastrami

October 31, 2012

Home Cured Pastrami

My wife introduced me to Pastrami a while ago. It was something I never had back in the UK. My mum would make a spiced beef round every year, which I guess is somewhat similar (only not smoked). That was as close as I ever got to Pastrami. Back Then.
Then Michael Ruhlman’s charcuterie book got me to make it. His recipe calls for wet brining the meat, then smoking. Before eating you can steam it till ridiculously tender. I have made this a few times, and it is pretty good. Me being me however, decided to do things my own way, and really like the result.

You might say this isn’t traditional pastrami. I know a lot of people would. I use my own spice mix based on flavors I like in cured meat. I dry cure it, instead of wet curing. Not because I think it is any better, but just because I find it easier. Besides I like rubbing salt in to meat. Just dumping meat into a pot of spicy water doesn’t have the same tactile experience if you ask me, and I know you didn’t.

I don’t have much to say about it really. It is easy, cheap to make, and rather tasty. It is also a rather nice way to while away a lazy afternoon by the smoker. Even if you don’t have a smoker, you could just slow roast the bloody thing in the oven, not to any detriment really. It would taste different, of course, but that isn’t a bad thing. You could smoke it in a wok for a bit if you wanted, then finish it in a low oven too, if that takes your fancy.

The whole thing starts with a nice piece of brisket. You can use other cuts here if you want, a round would be fine, but I like brisket. It gets rubbed with salt, spices, cure #1 (more on that in a minute), and then dumped in the fridge for a week. Then you smoke it, very slowly. Before serving you steam it gently to help break down the connective tissue further. Frankly I hardly ever bother. I eat it straight out the smoker. The left over chunk keeps for ages in the fridge, where you can slice very thin slices (hello meat slicer my old friend), and warm them through by steaming. I am not picky. I will just slice a bit straight out the fridge and eat it that way too. Ghetto style.

So have a go. Pastrami is the gateway meat. Next up you will be curing salami, just you see.

Homemade Pastrami Recipe

NOTE: Instacure #1: Want Botulism? No? Me neither. So use it. Instacure #1 is a mix of salt and nitrite. It is used for curing bacon, pastrami and so forth. The reason we use it is because you can make an environment devoid of oxygen in a smoker if you smoke is really thick. This can lead to the germination of botulism spores, producing the well known toxin. Lets not do that. Please do not use Instacure #2, or anything with nitrATES. They are generally not considered safe for smoked meats that are cooked. The plus side is that it is totally harmless (and some recent studies have shown nitrites as being very good for you) in the quantities shown, and gives the meat a lovely flavor and color.

Beef Brisket
salt – 2% of meat weight
instacure #1 – 0.04oz per 1lb of meat
4 juniper berries per 1lb of meat
1/2 tsp fennel seed per 1lb of meat

rub before smoking:
corriander seed – 1/2 tablespoon per 1lb of meat
black pepper corns – 1 teaspoon per 1lb of meat

Grind the juniper and fennel seed to a fine powder in a spice grinder. Mix with the remaining cure ingredients. Rub in to the brisket, place in a sealable bag and pop it in the fridge. Leave it there for 5 to 7 days. Every day, rub it through the bag, turn it over.

Remove meat from the bag, and rinse off the cure. Coarsely grind the corriander seed and pepper together, and press it in to the meat.

Preheat smoker to 225F. I like to use apple wood for smoking, but hey, use what you want. Smoke at 225F for 4-5 hours, or until internal temperature of the meat reaches 200F.

Allow to cool, then wrap and put in the fridge for a day. The next day, steam the meat for an hour before serving to make it incredibly tender. (Honestly, I hardly ever do the steaming bit, I just slice it really thin and enjoy it more like a cured meat).

Charcuterie, featured

Home made, locally sourced dry cured Spanish Chorizo

June 23, 2010

When you say “Chorizo” to someone, you hear back a lot of different meanings. Here, in my second home of the USofA most people think of Mexican chorizo, when you throw out the C word. Mexican chorizo is a fresh sausage, heavily spiced that needs to be cooked. Mexican chorizo is usually made with chile peppers. and some simple herbs.

If you mention chorizo to anyone from Europe, they will most likely nod you towards Spain, and often the northern Basque region (and surrounds). Spanish chorizo is almost always dry cured, and more often fermented too (fermentation is the addition of good bacteria, to raise the acidity of the sausage, help prevent spoilage and also develop flavor). Spanish chorizo relies heavily on smoked paprika, not fresh hot chilies. This is really what gives a Spanish chorizo so much character. They can be either smoked, or just simply dry cured.

Click to read and see more about how to make Spanish chorizo at home

Charcuterie, featured

Home cured Coppa

May 21, 2010

how to cure coppa

When you talk to most people about cured meat, it is only a matter of time before “coppa” is talked about. Next to prosciutto, I think this certain cut is everyone’s favorite, and it is easy to see why. On a properly raised hog, you get what I consider a perfect fat-to-meat ratio for cured meat. What is more, the fat runs throughout the slice, rather than around the edge, with a few pieces of marbling. No, this fat is in the middle of the meat, providing great textural balance to the meat along with just enough of that fatty mouth feel with every bite.

Most people know coppa as a cured meat, but technically it is a certain cut of pork from the top of the shoulder. The loin of the pig ends, and the coppa begins, and wraps over the shoulder. Coppa is really a bundle of a few muscles, which are heavily used, so have a lot of flavor. Between these muscles is lovely pockets and striations of fat that gives the coppa its unique flavor and texture.

Click for more home cured coppa pictures and coppa recipe


the pork pate, the french butcher & the pig

May 8, 2010

pork pate recipe

A couple of weeks ago now I was lucky enough to score a ticket to a class. This was honestly the class I had been waiting for. Waiting for a very long time.

Ron Zimmerman (Herbguy on twitter, owner of Herbfarm Restaurant) posted something about a “French Pig” class. Well, that was one link I had to click. Thankfully it wasn’t spam, a virus, or a link to pills that promise something totally not required . It was the sign up sheet for a day’s class in French seam butchery of a pig, lunch at the Herbfarm, then a charcuterie class afterward.

Click to see the French pate recipe


Making Salami at home

March 8, 2010

When I first started down the road of making charcuterie at home, the art of making salami seemed a long way off. It seemed like one of those things best left to the pros, and certainly something that would turn out pretty rubbish if tried at home.

Actually, before I even thought about doing any meat curing however, the idea of curing meat at home seemed like a bad idea, and a potentially dangerous one at that. Somehow you are lead to believe that even though these fine culinary arts started at home, and are practiced at home all over the world today, it is a dangerous thing that is best left up to the big manufacturers that (apparently) have health standards.

Click to read more, and to see this home salami recipe


Home cured Salami – Finished!

December 18, 2009

You may recall a few posts back now I wrote a little something about the salami that Becky Selengut (some might know her as Chef Reinvented) and I started together. I say started because salami making is a long process. Most of this work is up front. A couple of hours to dice, chop, grind, clean, stuff and finally ferment and hang. Another few hours to make ridiculously childish sausage jokes. From there on in for the next month or so it is about careful monitoring, and daily squeezes of your salami (giggle).

Click to read more about making salami at home


Home cured Bresaola is complete!

October 7, 2009

Home cured Bresaola

It has been a long time hanging. Literally. But today was the day that I pulled the bresaola from the curing chamber, and sliced into it.

I did a post a couple of weeks ago that showed some shots of it hanging in the chamber, and a little bit of information on the process – You can see that here.

Bresaola is an Italian air dried beef eye of round (or often top or bottom round too). The meat is trimmed of excess fat and sinew, then rubbed liberally with salt and mix of spices. It is then left to sit in the fridge for a couple of weeks “curing”. The salt draws out a lot of the moisture from the meat, which helps to preserve it. The herbs and spices are there of course for flavor. Every couple of days the meat gets turned to make sure it is curing evenly. Half way through you rub it with more salt and spices.

Click to read more about this home cured charcuterie


Home Cured Bresaola

September 16, 2009

Yes folks, its moldy meat drama time again.

Some long time readers (hi Danika, hi Mum) might remember the saga of me curing a bresaola at home last year. In fact, it was about 10 months ago if memory serves me. Thankfully actually, memory doesn’t have do anything – I have posts on that last emotional episode –

The initial setup

Traumatic update

Trash Can

Back then, the humidity dropped too low, caused case hardening (outside dries out too fast, inside stays wet, develops rot), and ended up in the trash can. Was a bit of an emotional ride for some reason.

After doing that failed bresaola I tried my hand at duck proscuitto. That turned out wonderfully. I might be doing some more of that pretty soon, it was that tasty (and darn right easy).

Click to read more about my home cured bresaola

British Recipes, Meat Recipes

Beef Wellington

April 21, 2009

beef wellington recipe

Two words:


OK, I promise to never say that again. EVER.

But come on, it is. The origins of this little dish are contended among food historians, but one thing everyone can agree on, it wasn’t exactly dreamed up by a poncy new chef wanting to do something different.

Some say that it was Duke Wellington’s favorite dish, and hence is called Beef Wellington. Others say it is of Irish decent, from a dish called steig Wellington of Ireland. Heck, the French even have a version somewhat similar called “fillet de boeuf en croute”. Personally, I don’t care to ever argue food history, especially when it comes to “what is an authentic blah blah blah”. Bollocks to all that, this is what it is – a fillet of beef, wrapped up with mustard and mushrooms, foie gras pate (if you like that kind of thing) and finally wrapped in puff pastry. Call it Shirley if you makes you happy.

Now, as any reader of this blog knows, I tend to go out of my way to avoid anything to do with pastry. I run even faster, and even further when it involves pastry and a not exactly cheap cut of meat, the beef tenderloin. So screw up the pastry, and you have wasted a very good, expensive cut of meat.

No pressure.

Click to continue to see this Beef Wellington Recipe