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Колбаса Сырокопченая Майкопская Высшего СортаMaykopskaya Dry-Cured, Cold-Smoked Sausage, High Grade

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Колбаса Сырокопченая Майкопская Высшего СортаMaykopskaya Dry-Cured, Cold-Smoked Sausage, High Grade

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“Soviet” sausage is a tricky subject. As I re-create some of them, there is a number of points worth noting. First, despite the strict directions, the procedures – especially when USSR entered a period of chronic and decades-long illness — were often unofficially modified on the local level. Everyone stole anything they could steal since all the goods of the state, technically speaking, were the common property of the proletariat. Secondary, the sausage that was sold in a “special” store for “apparatchiki” was quite different from one sold in the store across the street. Thirdly, one can trace the “decline and fall” of USSR by checking the list of ingredients in periodically updated manuals for sausage-making. The standards were constantly lowered, a number of fats amplified, a number of “substitutions” introduced and increased. Hence, my adopted re-creations do not represent the actual product most could buy, but rather an ideal version. As a rule, sausage recipes in USSR meant to produce a product one eats after a shot of vodka. They are mundane and without any hint of a spark. Yet, these sausages could be quite decent for their type.

Here I present “Maykopskaya Dry-Cured, Cold-Smoked Sausage, High Grade,” (ГОСТ 16131 by 1993). Maykop is a city in Adygea not that far from the Black Sea shore. The Russian Empire conquered the region in the late 18th-early 19th century, with a majority of Circassians leaving the area to the Ottoman Empire. How it was done…any student of history knows or should know…If you have no idea, inquire the omniscient Google: this is a story worth learning. If you’ve seen a king of Jordan on TV/photo, you’ve probably noticed his honor guard in the traditional Circassian uniform. Once I had few of my son’s teachers at my house for some tea. One of them was a Circassian from Turkey. After checking whether the cake and other sweets that my wife baked had no pork products (most Circassians that I’ve met in the “old country” cared about that as much as North Americans Roman-Catholics care about their use of contraception) he told me how their language and culture survived two centuries of exile. The first language and strong sense of identity are still Circassian…
Back to the sausage…

Maykopskaya belongs to the group of elite “soviet” sausages. Moreover, it is a hand-cut one. Outside of the few major cities, not many ordinary people in USSR could afford (or had access) to it, especially in 1970ies and 80ies. Plus, together with few related products, the recipe prescribed the use of brandy (those soviets and now Russians stubbornly continue calling cognac), which deemed to be a considerable “waste” if not a bourgeois excess by an average “citizen” of that Evil Empire. In short, it is a good sausage….
So, the recipe calls for 25% lean pork with 75% semi-fat pork. The former goes through 2-3mm plate, the latter is cut into pieces not bigger than 6mm. The total weight of my meats was 9528gr.
All process takes one month and three weeks. Both lean and semi-fat (Boston butt without the neck) were cut into 3-5 cm pieces, mixed with 2.5% sea salt (recipe calls for 3.5%) and 0.25% cure #2, kept in the fridge for 5 days (should be 5 to 7). Then lean pork went through 3mm plate on a grinder, semi-fat as described above, hand-cut. It took some time working with the knife and some of the pieces came up to be larger than 6mm in diameter. Then I’ve added 0.2% sugar, 0.05% allspice, 0.05% cardamom, 0.2% BP (white pepper is also allowed), 0.25% brandy. The forcemeat goes into the fridge for another 24hrs. Then stuffed into beef middles; there is prescribed ways how each of these sausages supposed to be tied (locations and number of the lopes, etc…) so they can be identified easier, but I just did not bother…
Then the sausages supposed to hang at 2-4C for 5-7 days. I kept them only for the length of fermentation with F-LC. So, it was around 3 days at 60F. Then the sausages were cold-smoked for 4 days on pecan with some periods of rest. Technology calls for 2-3 days of interrupted smoke at 20+-2C. Then, the sausages went to the curing chamber. The prescribed weight loss should be 44% of the mass of the meat (without cures and other additions). I got 47%. Yet, the texture corresponds to the one, typical of around 38%.
It has been over 18 months since the last batch of Maykopskaya was made. It was resting in the fridge under vacuum all this time. About two weeks ago I’ve finally got the last remaining sausage from the vacuum. It has not much improved, but remains to be just a decent sausage…

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