Kielbasa Krakowska (Cracow sausage) is one of the most traditional and authentic dishes coming from Krakow. I have eaten it many times and can say, it has a really specific texture and taste. Even though the preparation is really time-consuming, it is actually a pretty simple dish to make. Once you learn how to make it, you will not wanna buy sausage in the grocery store anymore.
Kielbasa Krakowska – the history.
The history of the sausage goes back into the medieval Cracow. More concretely it started in the 19th century. That time Cracow was part of a region called Galicja. The region was very famous for its great cuisine and the Kielbasa Krakowska is exactly a proof of that.
The first sausages were produced from high-quality pork meat (the sausage was made with 85% of pork ham), spices, and some potato starch. The original recipe came from Wincent Satalecki, a master butcher that lived in Cracow. He inherited the recipe from his ancestor that has lived in Košice, Slovakia. Just by the way, Košice is a city in which I was born and lived for almost 20 years.
Anyways, Kielbasa Krakowska got really popular among people not only in Galicja but also in Lithuania or Ukraine. It is still being produced and it belongs to a culinary heritage of Poland.
As of 2018 the “Krakowska Kielbasa sucha Staropolska” (the full name could be translated like this: Old Polish dry Cracow sausage) is on a list of 42 Polish dishes certified with the European Union labels of protected designation of origin.
Kielbasa Krakowska – the authentic Polish recipe.
The original sausage is produced from the best cuts of pork. Usually, it is made with pork ham and pork shoulder. All the meat is firstly cut into bigger chunks, then separated into 3 categories. The first category are the nicest pieces without fat, then the medium fat ones and very fat ones. The second and third categories are later on grind.
The ground meat is later on mixed with the big chunks, and the spices are added. In the next step, the meat is generously seasoned with salt and left in the fridge (or another cold place) for at least 1-2 days.
In the 3rd step, the pickled meat is filled into the edible sausage casing (sausage skin or simply casing) and dried at the room temperature for 12 hours.
The last step of the production is smoking. The authentic Krakowska Kielbasa is smoked twice on beech wood. Firstly it is smoked at 60°C for about 3,5 to 4 hours, then the temperature is increased into 80°C and the sausage is smoked for another 45 minutes. Once it is smoked, it is left for another 7 days to mature.
So as you see the production takes almost 2 weeks. But the final taste is unforgettable.
The sausage should have a gentle flavor of garlic, nutmeg, and black pepper. Once you slice it thinly, you should see the characteristic mosaic structure.