Pickled sausages? Do tell.
September 30, 2006 12:54 PM   Subscribe

You know those pickled sausages you can buy at convenience stores? The ones wrapped in plastic with a little bit of brine? I love those things. Especially if they're spicy hot. My dad used to buy them at the grocery store back when they had to be fished from a jar with a pair of tongs. How do I make pickled sausages of my own? Has anyone done this before? I'm willing to go to a lot of effort in order to have a jar of tasty pickled sausages that I can access at a whim: boiling, cooking, canning, whatever. Though it's going to limit responses, I'm mostly interested in recipes that you've tried yourself and know to be good. (I'm also open to recipes for other pickled meat, as well.) Nutrition not a factor.
posted by jdroth to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Here is a link to two Pickled Sausages recipes. They look perfectly disgusting. Enjoy.
posted by LadyBonita at 12:58 PM on September 30, 2006

Not to derail, but you can order pretty good ones, like your Dad used to buy, from Amazon.
posted by paulsc at 1:01 PM on September 30, 2006 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Paulsc, that's not a derail — that's manna from heaven. Or sausages from heaven, anyhow.
posted by jdroth at 1:10 PM on September 30, 2006

Ask Metafilter: Sausages from Heaven
posted by brain cloud at 1:19 PM on September 30, 2006

posted by rxrfrx at 1:37 PM on September 30, 2006

Good Eats did an episode on how to make your own pickles of various kinds.

You can get an entire transcript of the episode here. Alas, they do not pickle sausages on the show, but you can learn the fundamentals in the typically great Alton Brown fashion.
posted by frogan at 1:41 PM on September 30, 2006

Response by poster: By the by - I asked this question because my wife has been on a canning frenzy in the past month, and is pickling anything she can find. She finds the concept of pickled meats disgusting, but I'd like to open her eyes to a brave new world. After all, isn't corned beef — the king of meats — a pickled product?
posted by jdroth at 1:56 PM on September 30, 2006

Well, corned beef is pickled and then de-pickled either before cooking (by soaking) or by cooking in water. Also, that's the salt and sugar type of pickling, whereas pickled eggs and sausages always seem to be loaded up with vinegar.
posted by rxrfrx at 2:57 PM on September 30, 2006

Corned beef isn't pickled, it's corned.

I think to qualify as a pickle there needs to be acid — either acetic (if it's a vinegar pickle) or lactic (if it's a brine pickle with good ol' lactobacillus acidophilus growing in the brine). Corned beef doesn't have vinegar, and it had better not be growing any microbes.
posted by nebulawindphone at 3:28 PM on September 30, 2006

The word corned referes to any small objects packed together in a sheet, such as the salt on corned beef, the hair nodules in a cornrow, and the kernels on corn.
posted by StickyCarpet at 3:42 PM on September 30, 2006

Response by poster: Well, corned beef tastes pickled, and I love the stuff. Forget I mentioned it. Doesn't anyone pickle their own meat? 40,000+ users — someone must do this...
posted by jdroth at 3:47 PM on September 30, 2006

I've never had pickled sausages, but I do love a good pickled egg now and again. If your wife is on a pickling frenzy, that might be fun to add to the mix.
posted by Joh at 4:05 PM on September 30, 2006

Got a Sam's Club membership? They sell them on the aisle with the giant cans of peanuts, right next to the pickled eggs and pickled pigs feet. I best Costco has them too.
posted by chiababe at 4:31 PM on September 30, 2006

Pickling and canning processes are tricky for home processors, jdroth. Only high acid methods are typically suitable for home canners, to assure safety, and still, every year, some people die from home preserved foods, where recipes were slightly altered, reducing the effectiveness of the preservation method.

Not to say you can't pickle safely at home, but you have to be very careful, and still, because of the high acidity of most home reciepes, you'll be hard pressed to match commercial canner's products, because the commercial canners employ far more sophisticated heat and process control than is practical at home. So, they can employ lower acidity, lower salinity processes for their products, with resultant differences in texture and taste.

But if you go ahead with your home concoctions, do try 'em on the family dog before indulging yourself, and don't give any of these products to young children...
posted by paulsc at 4:36 PM on September 30, 2006

Are you looking for pickled sausages like the ones sitting in a big jar, or for something like a Firecracker or Tijuana Mama?
posted by atomly at 10:42 PM on September 30, 2006

I haven't made pickled sausages, but I've pickled plenty of other things and this should be easy. First off, you'll want to start with refrigerator pickles, to really preserve these things you would need to pressure can them. That'll be way too much work when you're experimenting and want to make multiple batches to tweak the recipe.

The brine is going to be very simple, most of the flavor comes from the sausage. This recipe has a pretty classic ratio of vigenar to water to salt, it should work just fine. I would just add red pepper flakes and maybe garlic to this. Finding the best sausage will be a little more difficult. Most of the recipes I saw call for precooked smoked Polish sausage. Your typical mass market stuff will be ok to start, but you'll want to try to find the good stuff. Look out for a Polish or Eastern European deli, they'll hook you up.
posted by TungstenChef at 12:14 AM on October 1, 2006

I have used this guy's recipes to make sausages in the past. He does a good job of explaining sausage making for those who want to make them at home.
posted by catseatcheese at 2:49 AM on October 1, 2006

Oh sorry, didn't get the link in there...
posted by catseatcheese at 2:51 AM on October 1, 2006

My sense is that almost all traditional pickles are preserved not by sterilization, but by salts, spices, acids and the like, and also, crucially, by the presence of probiotic organisms which inhibit the growth of pathogenic organisms, and account for lots of the taste, to boot.

Some of these probiotics came from carefully maintained cultures, such as vinegar and sourdough, but others were simply volunteers from the traditional farming environments, where the effluvia, both internal and external, of all kinds of wild and domesticated ungulates and other animals, including human beings, as well as insects and plants, were floating around in great numbers all the time.

The living envelope of a modern kitchen in the city is certainly different, and probably very inferior, not just for the purpose of making pickles.
posted by jamjam at 9:33 AM on October 1, 2006

(I stand corrected! Catseatcheese's link mentions microbe starter kits for salami making! Ya learn something new...)
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:43 AM on October 1, 2006

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