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What is Kielbasa – The History, Facts & Tips

This delicious food comes from Poland. If you’re curious about the history of kielbasa, what it consists of and how it is made, then I have prepared a very brief guide for you where I am going to provide the answers to these and other questions.

Polish Kielbasa has left quite a mark on the world, earning a whole lot of popularity and many positive reviews. It is no wonder, as it’s a delicious type of food that tastes great in many different forms, the best one being straight from a grill.

What is Kielbasa?

Kielbasas are meat products in natural or artificial skins made of ground-up pork meat or with addition of pickled beef meat, non-pickled meat or poultry as well as a blend of condiments.

More on The History of Kielbasa

In the Polish language, the word kielbasa has been known since the 15th century. In the old Polish, there were also much different terms, such as

kielbodziej – a device used to fill kielbasas with stuffing, it was made of a glass cylinder or a cow horn;

kielbasnik – a street vendor of cold cuts

Kielbasa is a word used by all Slavic languages, and the origin of it is ambiguous. In the past, many other similar terms were used when referring to kielbasa. In the United States, on the other hand, the word entered the English language directly under the term of Polish kielbasa and it simply means “sausage”.

Kielbasa was a crucial ingredients to the so-called rascal stew. During the Saxon times, a very good nobility’s cook had to be able to know 12 ways to prepare kielbasa, and a royal one as many as 24. There was a famous chef in the court of Augustus III named Wereszczak, who had his method of serving kielbasa named after him. All of that shows for how many years kielbasa has been something unique that used to be served on the tables of nobility and knights.

How is Kielbasa made ?

The real composition of a kielbasa is simply ground-up or cut meat mixed mainly with condiments, flavorings and breadcrumbs. Other ingredients are often added as well, depending on the type of kielbasa. It is manufactured using pork, calf and beef meat.

When combined, then blended, all those ingredients create a meat mass that fills the skin. The skin might be natural or made of collagen, cellulose or artificial materials as long as they are edible of course.

Besides the skin, the meat mass that makes a kielbasa can easily be found in form of jars, cans or stripes. It has its upsides and downsides, it tastes like a typical kielbasa but is available in a completely different form (ready to eat).

Main Types of Kielbasa:

Cooked kielbasas – They are made of fresh ground-up meat, which then gets cooked during the next stage. They have to be consumed right after cooking but they can also be stored in the fridge.

Cooked & smoked kielbasas – The first stage of manufacturing is cooking such kielbasa, then having it smoked or cooked in smoke. They can be eaten cold and hot but they have to be stored in cool enough conditions.

Fresh smoked kielbasas – They go through the smoking and drying processes, then they can be eaten cold ( mostly cold ).

Dried kielbasas – They go through the fermenting process, then the drying process, some of them are smoked right before the drying process. Their advantage is their long durability and the ability to eat them cold.

What is the best way to prepare kielbasa?

grilled kielbasa

Of course everything depends on the type of kielbasa but I think that the best way is to simply grill it directly over the source of heat/fire. That way you can quickly and easily prepare an incredibly tasty kielbasa with a crispy skin and juicy meat on the inside. Add to that some interesting sauce and bread and enjoy the delicious taste.

Preparing kielbasa is something very simple, but serving it is a whole different thing. Luckily you can find thousands of interesting and simple recipes from many countries online. When going through different recipes, you can really get very surprised with how many different ways there are to serve kielbasa in many countries.

Make sure if the kielbasa is fresh or precooked. If it has been precooked, the only thing for you to do is to reheat it.

A much better choice for grilling is a completely fresh kielbasa. Before placing the kielbasa on the grates, have it properly prepared by making tiny cuts with a knife all over the kielbasa’s surface at small intervals.

Then grill the kielbasa over medium fire/source of heat until it gets darker in color.

Don’t grill the kielbasa in a too hot temperature or you’re going to burn the skin while the inside will remain raw. In order to achieve a proper crunchy skin and juicy meat on the inside, you have to grill the kielbasa at the right fixed temperature over a longer time.