Making of hungarian style Csabai with Q-views

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by laszlo, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. And here it is finally – my own first sausage. I was thinking about it for a while (10+ years?), the turning point was the discovery of the AMNS smoker. This gadget allowed me to do cold smoking in the portable smoker. Otherwise I would need to build a dedicated smoker with separate fire box, a project that was coming slow due to lack of time.

    I’ve practised my cold smoking skills mostly on bacon, cheese and fish, got my gear sorted and I felt like I’m finally ready for the big step forward – my own sausage. [​IMG]

    Anyway, I have been around when sausages were done (I was usually assigned job of turning stuffer handle and refill the stuffer). I was around a smokehouse a lot (my favourite task), but I never did my own sausage from scratch.

    My choice was the Hungarian style csabai sausage that is my old favourite and when travelling in Europe I’m just stuffing myself silly with these. At home some shops sell sausage branded as csabai, but they are far cry from the ones made in Hungary. Nowhere near. So off I go and try to replicate the real stuff.

    List of ingredient is very simple – for 10kg of meat: 200g salt, 250g of paprika (sweet and hot), 25g ground caraway seeds, and 25 garlic powder. Probably I don’t have to say, that this predominantly paprika spiced mix will live or die by the quality of paprika used. I’ve stopped using locally bought paprika as inferior in taste and color – the best bet is to get real thing made in Hungary, preferably from Szeged area. I buy the authentic (I bloody hope so!) stuff on eBay, $8 for 250g, not cheap, but it is fantastic taste and color wise. Once you taste goulash made with this stuff as compared to supermarket [email protected], you’ll never regret money spent.

    As for mix – traditionally it is 200g/50g sweet/hot paprika as it is supposed to be a spicy sausage. I knew that this sausage will be eaten by kids and some of the hot paprika can be really potent – so one needs to be careful - I went with conservative 225g/25g ratio (recalculated for 7kg of meat, of course).

    The recipe calls for 70/30 mix of lean meat and back fat. My local butcher had problems supplying back fat and the bellies weren’t fat enough so I’ve settled for total of 7kg (~15lb) of pork shoulder that looked rather fatty, very close to 70/30. Here I had to deviate from the plan, which was to salt, spice, cure and rest lean meat and fat was to be frozen and ground separately before mixing/stuffing. I’ll touch on that more at the end of the post.

    So I’ve chilled the meat, not frozen, just make it firm for cutting and cut it to roughly 1.5”-2" chunks (they could be bigger, just make sure it will feed thru mouth of your grinder later on).

    Here is the pic of meat after cutting:


    Next, I mixed all ingredients. The metric spoons are there to spoon things out of bags, everything is weighted on the scales. Salt used is pink Himalayan stuff. Notice, I could not resist adding 2 or 3 grams of ground black pepper – not enough to make any taste difference, next time I’ll leave it out (as I should in the first place). Cure#1 was added in standard quantity - 25g per 10kg of meat.

    Carraway seed was ground with my old, hand cranked coffee grinder.


    Next is a step that is not all that common sausage making practice, but I was told THAT is the way to make Csabai. The meat cubes are covered and rubbed with prepared ALL of salt/cure/spice mix. Some sources say that meat should only be salted and cured and only then spices added into ground meat. I reckon that having spices present during 72 hour rest should improve taste and really release all the goodness from paprika and garlic…The next take on it is to let sit stuffed sausage for 3 days. Well, I did go traditional way and all I can say it worked out very fine.

    Meat mix it is loaded into suitable vessel, pressed firmly to let air out and covered with cling foil.


    All sealed:


    And in the fridge it goes for 72 hours to work its sausage magic. Fridge settings cranked to coldest settings just to be sure all is nice & cool:


    And here we take a deserved rest and continue in the next post. [​IMG]

  2. africanmeat

    africanmeat Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    It looks good so far i will Wait and [​IMG]  for  the Qview
  3. africanmeat

    africanmeat Master of the Pit OTBS Member

  4. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sounds interesting, I'll be looking forward to the end results.

    Oh and don't get the frig below 36°f, the cure likes 36°  -40°     The only reason I mention it is my frig will go down to 33 in the lower section.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2011
  5. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Looks good so far!
  6. Ok, lets move on 3 days later…

    First, grind the meat. I used electric grinder, nothing special, standard white goods looking thing, Kenwood, I think. It has size 8 plate and I used plate with 8mm holes. I put the business end of it(not the motor) in freezer an hour before. It took no more than 10 minutes to grind all the meat chunks. I expected to see some liquid at the bottom of the pot where meat was sitting, drawn out by salt. Similar to liquid I see when I cure bacon. Interestingly, no liquid, meat was rather dry on touch and a bit firmer. Anyway, it saved me from dilemma what to do with this liquid – use it or discard it. I didn’t take any pics of grinding stage.

    Next stage was probably most difficult for me – mixing. Original recipe called only for light mixing, but I was worried that if I don’t break the proteins enough, I’ll end up with meat and fat crumbling apart when smoked and dried. So it was trial-error situation for me, with 15lb of sausage in stakes. This is where the lack of practice and experience kicked in. I did mix it for a while, kneading it like dough. I didn’t want to overdo it as this kind of sausage is sort of chunky, not smooth on the cut. With the hindsight, I think I did get meat mix consistency almost right, although next time I just mix it a tiny bit less. I was so focused on the job on hand, I forgot to take pics. Sorry.[​IMG]

    Out comes my brand new, never before used stuffer. I bought it from eBay, when I could not get anybody to sell and ship LEM 5lb from US to Australia. Turned up to be a good thing, this one looks like Weston replica, solid as a panzer tank, stainless steel everything, heavy (~28lb), dual speed metal gears. It should last forever.

    When I worked it, it wobbled around a little, 2 quick release clamps fixed it. I had my natural hog casings (28mm dia) ready, so I was keen for fun of stuffing sausages.

    Here is the beast and my first ever stuffed (up) casing.



    My first casing length – I overstuffed it, it broke when I twisted it into links. Nothing to worry about, I expected I’m going to stuff something up (pun intended).  Recycled the meat back into stuffer and in no time I got it going nice and smooth. In about an hour or so I had 40 links of 9” long sausages stuffed. No helpers anywhere to be seen, however, they all came out of the woods at product tasting and distribution time.

    Next I let freshly stuffed sausages to rest and dry the skin. Put them close to the open window and made some draft. Time to open bottle(s) of beer, relax and congratulate myself for job well done so far. In two hours the skins were dry on touch. Here they are hangin’:



    Time to load AMNS with mesquite, lit the fire up at one side only and in they go for overnight cold smoke session. Temperatures were hovering at 50 and dropping, no flying critters around, I felt pretty secure. No rodent will ever pass around (and survive) my two dogs.


    Before I started this whole job, I was trying to figure out how many sausages I can fit into my smoker and how much meat to buy. Did various calculations, guesstimates etc. and came up with 7 kilos. 1 kilo off, I could fit 8kg comfortably. 10 kg, no way. Which is good, because this is amount I can handle myself to process and store properly, 5kg would be too small batch to fool around, keep everything clean, cold  – just too much hassle. And to touch on that – I know I’m fooling around with raw meat, so meticulous hygiene and try to keep meet at low temps was high on my agenda, which slowed me down considerably.

    OK, Saturday early morning, AMNS still going, but not much left. So, sausages out to swap top and bottom rows around. They start to gain a little bit of color as well.


     AMNS filled with hickory and lit on both sides. Repeat the process all over on Saturday and on Sunday. The smoker temp never crossed  70, so it was two and half day of good old cold smoking. The idea was to let the smoke penetrate well inside and dry sausage slowly. Ideally I would like to keep cold smoke it for 8-10 days as I remember how it was done, but I still have full time job. Luckily, Monday was a public holiday day, hot smoking part could be done then.

    During the first hot smoking part the idea was to keep smoker at 130 for two hours and get thicker smoke going. From my bacon smoking experience this is where the major color change occurs. Loaded pan with hickory chips and chunks and turn the heater on.


    Damn thing is not working! Not happy, did some quick check, looks like temp fuse is gone. All shops closed, time for plan B – use gas burner. Yeah, but it is one thing to control electric element temps and another altogether to control temp of gas burner. Also leaving two rows is out of question now, the bottom sausages will be too close to the heat source, so two separate batches are to be done.

    Gas burner emergency setup:


    And trusty temperature "PID" controller that works on change of the door gap. Maverick 723 proved to be invaluable tool, I was able to keep smoker temp between 120 and 140, but it was a constant fiddling and the fun factor evaporated after about an hour of manual regulation. It surely got me thinking about MES 40. MES30 is way too small.


    The last stage, bring smoker temp to 185 and get meat IT to 154. Easier said then done with my primitive setup, but after an hour IT finally got there. That last hour was pain, I could see sausage sweating – that my friends was ALWAYS considered big NO-NO and failure to smoke sausage properly. I got the feeling that I arrived at IT of 154 too quickly, in the future I’d like to avoid this sausage sweating (loss of fat) if possible, but I’d like to get to 154 for safety reasons as well. Not sure if that can be achieved. Please advise the noob.

    Anyway, the first is batch done, probes are out. Color looks good:


    And quickly in the cold shower for a minute:



    Hang them to air dry and attend the second batch. Repeat the hot smoke temp regulation business, swear like a sailor some more and dream about MES40 some more, into shower and finally hang them to dry. All 40 of my first babies are resting now.



    And the money shots:




    Taste wise it is really good, next time I add a little more of garlic and little more of hot paprika. Texture wise it is OK, but I want the fat bits bigger and whiter. That’s when separating lean meat and fat would make sense, also I’ll grind fat on 10-12mm plate. Thirdly, I’ll use 30-32mm casings, as after 2 weeks of drying they shrank by ~30% and starts looking too skinny. That’s all, everybody who tasted them commented on good taste. More than half is gone in just two weeks… Time to order some casings and paprika and have some more fun. God, I love smoked sausages.

  7. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Great job, they look like there is a perfect distribution between Fat and Lean. The color is Beautiful!!!...JJ
  8. africanmeat

    africanmeat Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Man this is a great job step by step taste by taste I'm sorry you don't have photos of the texture of the meat .but it looks wow the photo of close up killed me .

    köszönöm     [​IMG]
  9. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Awesome looking sausage!

    Thanks for the step by step too!

    The money shot says it all!

  10. jak757

    jak757 Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    They look wonderful to me!  I'd love to gie this a try some time.  Thanks for posting!
  11. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    Great looking sausage, good step by step of what you did, outstanding illustrations & BearViews.

    This is really a great thread !!!


  12. This garlic is not pickled garlic - it is fermented! Awesome taste. I discovered it here -

    I make few gallons of sauerkrat and dills every year, also doing some small batches of korean kim-chee, fermented daikon radishes, pearl onions, even lemons. Fermenting is another one of my hobbies. Not into making my own beer (yet), but I have a distilling equipment. [​IMG](to make my essential oils of course).
  13. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Nice job they look incredible. Thanks for the link to Lacto-Fermented garlic. [​IMG]
  14. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    xlnt job....couldn't stop reading your post....was like an adventure story. Glad your first batch turned out so well for you. Congrats on making the banner ...
  15. When I saw the sausage on the banner I had to investigate. That sausage looks incredible. great job on your presentation.
  16. couger78

    couger78 Smoking Fanatic

    Great job on the process description, the photos and the final product!

    Obviously it was a lot of work but the results seem to be well worth it. very nice![​IMG]
  17. Yay! [​IMG]

    First I didn't know what banner we are talking about, as I access SMF right into  Sausage subforum from my bookmark. Then I discovered it at the HOME page. Thanks to forum mods, and thanks to everybody who dropped in and left few kind words. It makes the effort of compiling the post worth it.

    I'm glad that at last I could contribute something in my favorite subforum, I also hang around Bacon people. As a matter of fact, I'm running out of bacon, so I'll be making new batch very soon. And I must admit making bacon is not as exciting as making sausage, certainly easier and more forgiving from mistakes.

    Again, thank you all. I'm proud to be a member of this very mature and helpful community.

    Cheers and happy smoking.
  18. I have been making sausage during the winter in Wisconsin for about 10 years.  I like to make polish sausage alot.  When I am having trouble getting the IT up to the right spot at the end I will get a big pot of water close to boiling.  I will put as many sausage as the pot will fit (make sure you allow for displacement) with a temp probe stuck into one or two of the sausages. Keep the heat on and keep an eye on the temp.  When the IT is reach I pull the sausage and dump into ice water to stop the heating.

    This may not be the best way but it has been working well for me.  Many of the professional places finish off their sausage using steam cabinets.  My process is not exactly the same, but I have large pots, heat sources and ice.  It's alot cheaper than a steam cabinet.

    By the way, the sausage looks great.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2011
  19. johnyd

    johnyd Smoke Blower

    Laszlo I too finish with hot water when I am in doubt about the final temp / getting too hot in the smoker. You can bring the temp up real slow and keep it at about 70 C spike one link after about 20 mins and it should have gone to 65C ( I know I can talk centrigrade to you as your in the better hemisphere[​IMG])

    Still do the plunge to cold water, and congratulations on a brilliant first attempt!

    When you make your bacon remove some of the fat after you have smoked it,  after freezing it, dice it real small ( 3mm or 1/8") and add that to the sausage, without grinding, it will give a deeper smokey flavour and that fat texture your after.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2011
  20. ^^


    Thanks guys for hot water suggestion. I wasn't aware of such a technique, it seems to be closely kept trade secret. I know that franks/wieners are finished that way, but never thought about it in relation to dry smoked sausage. If it works, I'll give it try next time, why not. It just makes me uneasy to see (and hear) fat dripping from the sausage when I was told this isn't good thing.

    Adding smoked bacon bits - also very cool idea, definitely on my "next to try" list. And yeah, C -> F temps conversion - simple truth is most of the guys here talk in Farrenheits, so I'm making effort to stick to unwritten rules - always have to use conversion tables though, all I really remember is that 100 is body temperature. Anything else, I have to look it up. 

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