There are dozens of different types of sausages popular all around the world, but one of the best for flavor and size is kielbasa. This sausage is great as both an ingredient and as a main dish. But to truly understand this sausage, you should learn the history of kielbasa and who invented it.
The First Pork Sausages
Kielbasa started out as nothing more than a word for pork sausage, which makes it hard to track when the first ones were made. People have been eating pork for millennia, and you can see evidence of this in cultures all around the world. However, some of the first recordings of pork sausage come from the 8th century BCE, where The Odyssey talks of eating ground pork in animal intestines.
The 1400s in Poland connected regular pork sausage to what we would now recognize as kielbasa. The court pushed for hunting in the autumn and winter to increase the supply of sausage in the colder months. This pushed up demand greatly and made pork sausage extremely popular among both the court and travelers.
Who Ate Kielbasa?
When it comes to what made kielbasa successful at first, you need to understand who ate it most often. According to the art and records of the time, kielbasa was a rich person’s food, with most consumers coming from the court and knights of Poland. This means that kielbasa was a meal meant only for royalty and the rich. This is why it was so popular at first and only grew in popularity as more people could afford the delicious food.
It isn’t until the 1800s that pork sausage became a lot more popular and widespread outside the borders of Poland. The increase in technology and trade with the rest of the world brought with it the spread of culture and food. It didn’t take long for the amazing kielbasa sausage to spread and become a popular dish around the world.
The Original Kielbasa
The original kielbasa in Poland was rather simple but a great option for those traveling or those with the money for it. The sausages worked amazingly in large links, perfect for storage and travel. The seasonings usually consisted of basic spices that were common in that period. You can see images and records of knights and travelers carrying these sausages on their belts, ready to eat them on the go.
Traditional Kielbasa Cooking Methods
Kielbasa has changed through the years, with many different recipes and cooking styles coming up. But the traditional kielbasa cooking style is still popular today and is easy to recreate. Traditionally, the cook stuffs ground meat with spices into a casing and smokes the whole sausage. This creates an extremely flavorful link that people can enjoy for their meal. Additionally, the meat often goes through a curing process, making it last longer than it would as regular cooked meat.
Curing the Meat
Even after all these years, the curing process is relatively the same, but there are some differences in how different countries cure the meat. Kielbasa in the United States may taste a bit different from European sausages because of the difference in curing the meat.
Original Smoking Methods
Once you cure the meat and put it into the hog casing, the next step is smoking the sausage. There are many smoking methods people use on their sausages. One of the earliest styles of smoking kielbasa is cold smoking. The earliest cooks used this technique to make their sausage. This typically included keeping it in the smoker for at least a day and a half to create a much thicker flavor that lasts longer than many other options.
Changes Over the Years
No food stays the exact same as it moves throughout the world and more people put creative spins on the original recipes. Nowadays, you can find kielbasa with a variety of different meats and spices mixed into it. Even the smoking style isn’t the same in all places. The Polish government also set a new standard in their country with a new 80 percent pork and 20 percent beef kielbasa option available for purchase.
Kielbasa is available all over the world with both smoked and fresh meat options. The traditional spices are still very popular: salt, pepper, and garlic—all things you could probably find in your pantry. You can likely find quite a variety of options at your local grocery store, or you can shop online for Polish sausage for sale.
Dishes With Kielbasa
Whether you’re looking to make kielbasa the main ingredient of your meal or just adding it in for flavor and protein, there are many different dishes and recipes you can try. The first thing to do is to figure out what seasonings you want to use so you can match the sausage to the flavor you want in your dish. A lot of people love grilling their sausage and eating it with starchy sides, like potatoes or fries. There are plenty of recipes with kielbasa as an ingredient rather than the main event. For example, you can add it to pasta sauce to add flavor and texture to the meal.
Where You Can Find Kielbasa
Kielbasa is no longer stuck inside Poland and has been a popular food all around the world for decades. As such, you can easily find places that sell many different varieties of kielbasa. If you are not interested in preparing it for yourself tonight but still want to enjoy the delicious flavor, you can find kielbasa in many different restaurants around the world and country. Many restaurants like using it as an ingredient in their menu options.
Kielbasa has a long history, and no one knows exactly who invented it. But hopefully, learning more about it helps you understand just a bit more about the culture and significance of eating kielbasa. By choosing kielbasa for your meals, you’re participating in a long history and joining royalty and knights in their meals.