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Germans from Russia - Sausage Recipes

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 28 January 2015 at 19:30
From the plains of Kansas, up through the Dakotas and into Canada, there is a unique community whose German ancestors emigrated to America from the Russian Empire. Most of these families were originally from the forested regions of Alsace, Württemberg and Bavaria and set up "colonies" in various Russian-held areas at the invitation of the ruling Romanov family. Bessarabia, Ukraine, Crimea and the Volga River Valley were some of the main points of settlement; These "Volga Germans" (Wolgadeutsche) and "Black Sea Germans" (Schwarzmeerdeutsche) were excellent farmers and brought with them traditions of agriculture, gardening, brewing and "making meat." The Great Plains region of North America is full of these descendants of "Germans from Russia"  - chances are if that you you have Germans in your ancestry and they settled in the states mentioned above (or the plains of Canada), they may very well have been Germans From Russia.

My own ancestors came from the Black Forest and Alsace and settled in and around the farming town of Sulz, which was along the Beresan River in Ukraine.  They eventually emigrated to western North Dakota (Dunn County). 

As a community that can claim three homelands (Southwestern Germany, Southern Russia and the American Midwest), the Germans from Russia have interesting food traditions.. One aspect of those traditions is, of course, sausage. I thought I would share some of these sausage recipes with you and see if anyone would like to try them. These recipes come from the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection at North Dakota State University, a website that is well worth a look for some interesting things. 

Looking at the amounts involved, these guys didn't mess around! I've not tried any of them yet, but they should be self-explanatory. Keep in mind that the recipes are written by chilrden or grandchildren of immigrants, and as such are not perfect, so they might need a little tweaking or modification here and there (eg: modern cure versus "saltpetre" or salt only), but they are an accurate representation of sausages that were made on German immigrant farmsteads all across the region, and the memories that come with those recipes are as useful as the recipes themselves. 

Quote German Sausage

From Lauren Brautner

All the years I was growing up on the farm, my father and my brothers were the sausage makers in the family. They would disappear into the basement and mix up big batches of sausage and periodically appear upstairs to test fry a patty. Then they would disappear again. Finally the sausage would be stuffed and my Mother and my sister and I would package it into freezer bags. The recipe was a SECRET! About 8 years ago we put out a family cookbook and my father gave us his recipe. My sister decided that he must be thinking he was dying to turn loose of his recipe. It shook her up when he casually handed it to her. He's still farming at age 84 and here it is:

William Brethauer's German Sausage Recipe

3/4 cup salt
1/2 cup black pepper
1/2 of a 1.25 oz. bottle of garlic powder
30 lbs. of ground pork
10 lbs of ground beef
1 cup brown sugar (optional) 

The sausage needs to be mixed thoroughly to distribute the seasonings evenly. Test fry a patty to check the seasoning. When you are satisfied with the seasoning, stuff the sausage. If you don't own a sausage stuffer you can freeze the sausage in patties or in small bulk packages. I hope you enjoy this as much as four generations of our family has over the years. The Great-Grandkids think Dad's sausage is OK.


Quote Summer Sausage

From Jolene K. Ehret

Summer Sausage (1)

Mix together:

66 lb. of finely ground beef.
34 lb. finely ground lean pork
3 lb plus 1/2 cup salt
1 lb brown sugar
4 oz black pepper

Cut 2 fine bulbs of garlic and cover with hot water in a cup. Let stand for several hours. Add the liquid to the sausage. Mix very well. Stuff the sausage very tightly into plastic sausage bags. Have a few small ones and some medium sized ones. Tie the ends with a good strong string or twine. Let it hang in a cool place (but don't freeze it) for a day or two, then smoke it. Skip a day or two and then smoke it again. This keeps very well in a cool place. We used to leave ours hang in the smoke house all summer, but it is better to have it in a cooler place. 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Summer Sausage (2)

25 lbs of good beef and pork
1 lb. sugar cure smoked salt
2 tsp salt peter
3 T pepper
3 T sugar

Mix thoroughly. Put in casings or sacks that have been dipped in smoke salt water.


Quote Liver Sausage

From Daun Beyer

For 50 lb batch, mix together:

10 lb boiled liver (20% pork liver/80% beef liver)
20 lb hog jowels 
20 lb good pork 
Seasoning (see below) 

Seasoning mix:

1 g pepper per lb of meat 
6.5 g salt per lb of meat  
4 cloves garlic well blended 

Put in casing and bring slowly to 160° F.  Or you can seal in pint jars. 

More notes, from Milton Darr:

For liver sausage, the pork/beef mix is important to keep the sausage from being too greasy (pork liver) or too dry (beef liver).

Other spices can be added to the recipe such as mustard seeds, onion flakes, etc.  Get creative, but taste before you cook and be aware that the flavors will intensify during cooking (i.e., careful with the salt!).  If the flavors are too strong after cooking, they will often mellow out with time, but try to err on the side of less seasoning as opposed to too much.  

For all pork treats, it is essential that the meat be cleaned and rinsed impeccably; otherwise will get that “pig” flavor that turns people off.


Quote Head Cheese

From Daun Beyer

Start with 15 lb hog rind cooked separately (a gluey mess!).  Boil til soft like gluten.

Mix together:

20 lb good pork chunks, boiled til ready to eat, and then ground coarse 
15 lb jowels and trimming off bacon 
5 to 8 lb raw ground beef 
Seasoning (see below) 

Seasoning Calculations:

5 cloves (per pound?) garlic, well blended 
1 g pepper per lb meat (so, 50 g for the above quantity of meat) 
6.5 g salt per lb of meat (so 325 g – almost 1 lb)

NOTE: Rita Darr suggests far less salt here – 1 tsp per lb of beef instead.  Use judgment and personal taste. 

Use casings that you can cook meat in – 6” white casings.  Fill the casings and put in pot in lengths that fit the pot (submerge the filled casings).  Cook in hot water til the temperature reaches 160° F and “a bit longer” – 10 minutes or so.  WATER SHOULD NEVER BOIL.    

Take out of water and put between boards with weights on top to make flat.  Some fat comes out the ends. 

More notes on recipes above, from Milton Darr:

For head cheese, use as much of the head as you are comfortable with – ears, snout, etc., also gristly stomach meat).

Other spices can be added to the recipe such as mustard seeds, onion flakes, etc.  Get creative, but taste before you cook and be aware that the flavors will intensify during cooking (i.e., careful with the salt!).  If the flavors are too strong after cooking, they will often mellow out with time, but try to err on the side of less seasoning as opposed to too much. 
 
For all pork treats, it is essential that the meat be cleaned and rinsed impeccably; otherwise will get that “pig” flavor that turns people off.


Quote Leberwurst

From Gwen Schock Cowherd

There always was a canned pint jar of leberwurst (liver sausage) in my German Russian home refrigerator. The whole family loved it. We smeared it on toast with mayo for breakfast and whenever a snacking urge hit. I still crave its' peppery flavor. I never saw how leberwurst was made because the butchering process was done when I was in school, which was a good thing because I wouldn’t have eaten it if I had observed the squeal to jar process. If my parents gave you a jar of leberwurst, you were either a close relative or one of their best friends. They were geitzig (stingy) with the leberwurst.

In the cookbook, "Food ‘N Customs – Recipes of the Black Sea Germans", published by the Germans from Russia Heritage Society (GRHS), Bismarck, North Dakota, page 28; Mike Welder describes how to make leberwurst:

Clean the head of a pig by scalding it in hot water and baking soda. Scrape off the hair. Cut the ears off and eardrum sections out. Cut out the eyes. Cut the head through the jaws so the lower half of head is separated. Remove tongue and brain. Remove and throw away the teeth. Cook the meat from the pig’s head for about three hours. Add a small cooked liver and some skin and meat from the head. Add some salt and pepper and garlic juice (soak a head of chopped garlic in about ½ cup hot water and then strain it). If it’s pretty dry, add some fat. Some add cinnamon and flour. Mix well, and then using a sausage stuffer, fill sausage casings with the liverwurst and tie ends. Gently cook sausages in the same water the pig’s head was cooked in for a half hour. Hang the rings of sausage until they are cold. The meat can also be canned in pint jars instead of put into casings. Pressure cook for 75 minutes at 10 pounds pressure or whatever your canner indicates for pork meat. If you want to make your own casings, take the pig intestines, empty the contents and use a dull knife to scrape the contents out. Rinse well with water to clean. The small intestines were used for this.

I have never found “canned” leberwurst in any grocery store. I realize that if I am again to taste the delicacy, I will have to make it. But, I don’t have the guts. I’ve been considering getting my German Russian friends together to partake in the laborious grind thinking that camaraderie would help alleviate the tediousness. We would definitely skip the pig head cleaning and jump right to the grinding of the meat supplied by my favorite butcher, but does he have head skin? I’m also scared of pressure cookers. I have heard the story many times of my grandmother’s blowing up and how she washed green beans off the kitchen ceiling and walls for days. What if us softies, who are used to buying our meat both white-wrapped and in see-through packaging, do not have the intestinal fortitude to face the pressure cooker of sausage processing? What would I then do with all those body parts? So, I have no picture capturing leberwurst in a jar to share with you. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 February 2015 at 19:13
Since 40 pounds is a ridiculous amount of sausage for me to make, I decided to see if I could scale The first "German Sausage" recipe down to a 5-pound batch. As far as I can tell, this is an accurate conversion of the original recipe:

Quote German Sausage (details above) - 5-pound batch (by volume):

Salt - 4.5 teaspoons (1 tablespoon + 1.5 teaspoons)
Black Pepper - 3 teaspoons (1 tablespoon)
Garlic Powder - 3/4 teaspoon
Ground Pork - 3.75 pounds
Ground Beef - 1.25 pounds
Brown Sugar (optional) - 6 teaspoons (2 tablespoons)


If you are going to smoke it, then use the appropriate amount of cure as per your package of cure, and adjust for salt, if necessary.

If anyone sees a problem with my measurements, please let me know, and I will make corrections.

I should be picking up a pork belly from our local butcher this coming Friday for some more Black Forest Maple Bacon - I'll see about getting some good, home-grown beef and pork in order to give the "German Sausage" a try.

Since I'm certain that this sausage HAD to be smoked just as often as it was prepared fresh, I'll add a curing agent and put it over some beech ~


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 February 2015 at 21:36
I stopped in at my local butcher's shop today to see if my pork belly would be in later this week for another batch of Black Forest Maple Bacon. While I was there I decided to pick up enough local pork and beef to make this German Sausage (top recipe in the original post). 

Since the recipe is for 40 pounds of sausage, I'll use a scaled-down formula for 5 pounds (above).

Since I will be smoking the sausage, I'll replace the salt with the appropriate amount of TQ per weight of meat. I'll also be trying it with the optional brown sugar, as I would like to see the effect that it has. I am guessing that it will bring some great balance.

Note that the recipe uses only a very small amount of garlic, in relation to the amount of meat. This marks it as a true old-style German recipe, I believe, as garlic seems to be rarely used in a lot of older German cooking. This is only an observation of mine, and I could be wrong. Having said that, this is sausage recipe comes from Germans who spent a few generations in Russia's empire before emigrating to America, and consequently the habit of using some garlic could very well have been adopted there. In any case, while at the butcher shop, I also picked up a couple of heads of garlic that they get that is really, really good; it doesn't look different than any garlic I could get at the supermarket, but it has an incredible aroma and flavour. I'll use this garlic for the German sausage.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Papa Tom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 July 2015 at 18:56
Although I don't have grandma's recipe I'm gonna say that this one appears close. 
Grandma liked a little garlic in hers but grandpa didn't so she always had to make two batches..

As for the curing I would recommend that recipes needing cure be converted to the USDA recommended Prague powder #1 for most uses. It is also called Pink salt, Modern Cure, Insta Cure etc. but they are all the same and comply with the USDA requirements. This cure is used at the rate of 1 oz per 25 lb of meat that amounts to one level teaspoon per 5 lb of meat. 
Cure #1 is used for quick curing and Cure #2 is used for long cures like fermented sausages and such.

Some tips on curing:
Some recipes will say to let the meat sit in the refrigerator overnight before stuffing, don't do that the meat block will become a brick and require regrinding then it won't bind well.
If you want to brine cure like making a corned beef out of a brisket Use 1/4 cup of pink salt to a gallon of water. Place the meat in a zip lock plastic bag  in the fridge and turn daily a brisket will probably take a week and cure #2 probably will work better for this. DO NOT reuse the brine it is done.
If you want to speed up curing in sausage one can add a cure accelerator sodium erythorbate is used but it takes very little about a 1/4 teaspoon in 5 lb of meat. Add it to the mix last after the cure and spices the mix in quickly and thoroughly and stuff. You probably haven't heard of sodium erythorbate but it is available however ascorbic acid (vitamin C) works as well in the same amount crush fine before adding. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drinks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 July 2015 at 15:00
It is hard to beat the basic german/czech sausage made in central Texas, I use 10+- lb of meat, simplist way I know to get a good blend is to just buy boston butts on sale, debone and grind.
I take a cup of tenderquick, add 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup black pepper, 2 TBSP of garlic powder and 1 TBSP of ground cayenne.
I mix 8 TBSP of it with 10 lb of meat, grind once. case and cure at least 3 days then my choice of smoke at 170-180' for 4-5 hours.
I like my sausage to have a texture , so I use the 8mm plate on my grinder.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lachaffin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 September 2015 at 12:04
I'm a newbie to sausage making and did my first stuffing last week.  It wasn't the best but okay.  My wife is from North Dakota where her parents made their own sausage - but no one really has a recipe, just add this and add that but omg it's by far the best.  

So, what I'm doing is searching for a German Sausage recipe that would be similar to what I have eaten made by her Russian/German immigrants. This recipe looks fantastic but contains no beef which I was told to use a 3 to 1 mixture.  (3 parts being pork, 1 part beef)

When you mention mixing 8 TBSP of it - is that the total mixture of all the ingredients for 10 lbs?  Please excuse my ignorance of being a new guy.

Thanks in advance for your comments.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drinks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 September 2015 at 12:34
I make a batch several times a year.
Yes, 8tbsp per 10 lb meat is what I use.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drinks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 September 2015 at 13:59
As you get into sausage making, you shall learn there is no one recipe, want leaner sausage, use more beef, want really lean, use chicken or turkey.
I like boston butt for at least 2 reasons, first, HEB usually has it on sale for $1 a lb at least every 3-4 weeks second, it has about the amount of lean and fat I like, roughly, 80/20.
Now and then they even have vacuum bags of "Pork for Carnitas" which is boneless boston butt for $1-1.50 a lb.
I have made all beef, all turkey, (not my choice meat), all chicken ,same as turkey, even a fish/pork blend, not very good.
If you are really interested, go on Amazon.com and order a copy of the book, "Great Sausage Recipes", by Anton Kusac.
After a few times of reading it, you should have very few questions about sausage making.
If you expect to get serious, get a good grinder and a vertical stuffer, stuffing from a grinder is not very good.
The sausage comes out very similar to store bought hot dogs.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 September 2015 at 06:43
Welcome, lachaffin!

It's great to see you here, and I look forward to more discussions on this. I am on my way to work now, but will try and find a few answers for your questions. The recipe that I "converted" above has not been tried yet by me, but a fellow that I know in Kansas (I think) did give it a try and pronounced it to be excellent.

The advice provided by Don (drinks) is good wisdom - sausage can be made from pretty much anything, and the fat content is a matter of preference and practicality, from what I can see. If you want to use beef, then it can definitely be done. 

A sausage stuffer is definitely preferred, but not 100% necessary to get started. When I started, I made good sausage stuffing from the grinder, but it does require some care. There are many stuffing alternatives, but if you do this much, you will most likely want to get a stuffer. Mine is a 5-pound vertical stuffer from LEM, and I am very, very happy with it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lachaffin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 January 2016 at 07:53
Wow, so impressed with all the great comments and suggestions.  I have now made two batches and each gets a little better.  Bought a combination grinder/stuffer which is okay, but I can see where a vertical is on the list soon.  

Thanks everyone and I'll be back.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2016 at 18:45
Sounds good, lachaffin - I'm glad you're enjoying it! 

Please do come back and share your experiences with us! Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 September 2016 at 17:42
Here's another good one:


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 November 2017 at 15:07
For those who use it, here is the "Basic German Sausage" recipe, converted to using with Morton's TenderQuick at the rate of 1.5 teaspoons per pound:

Quote German Sausage (details above) - 5-pound batch (by volume), with TenderQuick as a curing agent:

Morton's TenderQuick - 7.5 teaspoons
Salt - 2 teaspoons
Black Pepper - 3 teaspoons (1 tablespoon)
Garlic Powder - 3/4 teaspoon
Ground Pork - 3.75 pounds
Ground Beef - 1.25 pounds
Brown Sugar (optional) - 6 teaspoons (2 tablespoons)


Mixing the curing agent and spices into a slurry is always a good idea, so that the cure and spices are distributed evenly and that the sausage is easier to handle after curing. Water is commonly used; but in this case, beer might be the way to go.
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