Curing Meat

Make the BEST Kielbossi ever


Old fashioned kielbossi made with fresh pork shoulder butt. A family favorite here.

Kolbossi, Kilbossi, or however you spell it -- this is just good stuff.  You may think it to be a little more work and time than you want to spend but afterwards you will have to admit that it was time well spent.  And we’ll have fun as we go.  So let the good times begin.

We started with two whole pork shoulder butts that we proceeded to remove the bone from so that we could separate the lean from the fat.

Now, what I mean by separating the lean is to remove the large lean muscle pieces that are visually 95% lean or leaner.

We ended up with a little bit more lean than fatter meat.  I weighed both and noted that we had 8 lb. of lean meat and 6 lb. of the fatter meat. As long as we had equal amounts or more lean meat I am happy. 

We keep the lean meat in one container and the fatter meat in another container. Next we cut the meat into pieces that would fit into our Kitchen Aid grinder and we added our salt and cure (prague powder/pink salt).  Our salt and cure is for 14 pounds of meat, and we have two containers, one with eight pounds and the other with six pounds. We did our best to get the right amount of salt and cure on each.  After all, it will be all mixed together later.  So, now we cover each container and put in the refrigerator overnight.   As we may know the cure will turn the meat a brown color as it reacts with the meat.  Note pictures below.

Let’s not get into the chemistry of how and why this happens today. We’ll do that at a later date.

For now, just trust me when I say this is a normal look.

I like to have the meat with salt and cure set overnight.  This helps with the salt reacting with the meat protein so that they can hold onto more water during the cooking process, thus making for a more juicy kielbossi.  This step in not necessary but just my preference.

So the next day we remove the meat from the refrigerator and we grind the lean meat through our course grinder plate of our Kitchen Aid mixer.  And then we grind our fatter meat through our finer holed grinder plate. Remember to keep the meat moving through the grinder so that grinder knife and plate don’t warm up too much.  This will cause damage to the meat proteins.

And now in a large container we mix all the meat with the remainder of the spices and ice water.  Remember, your tap water temperature is probably 50 - 65° F and we want to make sure we keep the meat cold.  So I filled a container with a little more water than we will need and add 10 - 12 ice cubes.  Let this set to chill while we grind the meat.

We make sure that we spend a little extra time mixing using only our hands.  This stuff is really cold!  But that is what we want and need, so let's grin and bear it as we continue to mix.

As you can see from the picture above, it may not look real appetizing but it does smell good.  So let’s stuff it.

I went to a local meat packer and purchased our hank of hog casings.  You can purchase these online. I used 32 - 35 mm pre-flushed hog casings.  We’ll learn more about various casings at a later date.  So let’s get to stuffing. We drained the salt water that they came packed in and placed them all in a container with warm water.  You will need to rinse these slippery little devils off 2 - 3 times so as to remove any excess salt water.  So, once I did this I untied the knot in the one end and gently pulled these out of the warm water and placed on the table.  This will make help make them come apart easier as we use them.  Note in this picture we are opening the one end of the casing so we can put it on the stuffing tube of our Kitchen Aid attachment.  

And now turn on the Kitchen Aid and get some of the kielbossi to the end of the tube.  This will eliminate any air so that when we tie a knot in the end of the casing.  Now lets turn the Kitchen Aid on and stuff away.  We need to hold the casing snugly on the end as we feed the meat into the stuffer.

    One person can accomplish this but having an assistant to feed the meat is very helpful. Continue to stuff until out of casing.  Add another casing and start up again.  We need to go slow at first as learning the art of stuffing will require time and practice.  We want to make sure we stuff the casing tight enough but not so tight that the casing breaks.  At the same time we don’t want any air in the casing.  If we get an air pocket we can eliminate it with a pin or the pointed end of a sharp knife.  If we miss an air pocket, no big deal as it won’t hurt it but it just makes for an unattractive product. And now we really have a challenge of hanging this long roll of kielbossi.  We need to continue to gently grab the inside roll with one hand and hang it on on your other arm.

This really takes some patience and a lot of practice but you can do it.  Just keep trying.  And now to the smokehouse.

My method of smoking is slightly different then a lot of others but it works.  As you can see in the picture above I roll my smokehouse over our patio firepit.  It requires constant monitoring as I don’t want the smokehouse temperature to get over 190.  Depending on the outside temperature and the wind it may take me 3 ½ - 4 hours.  I really like using hickory wood but will also mix in a little bit of apple.  

After the internal temperature reaches 150° F  -- and I will check it several places to make sure -- I will remove from the smokehouse with a glove, and place in a large container (tub) of cold water.  A little tip is to constantly add cold water to your container. I put the hose in the water and turn it on slowly.  You want the internal temperature of the sausage to get to at least 110° F before removing from water as this will assure that the product will not shrivel.

Now remove from the water and place on your kitchen counter or someplace where the product can “rest” for about a half hour or so. This will help the color to "set" and help the meat hang onto the juice.   Now wrap in loose paper and place in refrigerator until it chills completely, at least an hour.

Only thing left to do is enjoy your hard work.

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Bacon, Egg and Pancake all in one bite -- or two

Sunday Morning Breakfast

I woke up early one Sunday morning and sat on the couch to watch some TV and just to think.

After fixing this breakfast my wife told me I should sleep more and spend less time thinking.  But, she did like it.

I sprayed a muffin pan with cooking spray and then placed a slice of homemade bacon in a circle on the side of each section of the pan. You can put small cuts in the bacon slice to help it form the circle of the pan.  Put this in a 350 degrees preheated oven for about 30 minutes.

While this was cooking I got the pancake batter and eggs ready. I removed the muffin pan from the oven and took the bacon out of each section and placed on a paper towel while I drained the grease from the pan.  Then I circled each bacon slice inside each section of the pan like before.  Put about two spoonfuls of pancake batter in each section of the pan and place back in the oven for about 6 minutes.  Check yours as each oven is different and the pancakes don't have to be done.

Now, remove the pan from oven and pour the scrambled eggs into each pan to the top.  Two scrambled was enough for the three on one side of the pan.. The other side I broke one egg per section.  Then I place the pan back into the oven and turned the temperature up to 375.  In about 8 minutes the scrambled ones were done while the whole eggs took another couple of minutes.  .

When I do these again, I will add some pancake syrup to the pancake batter.

But, they were very good and really can be eaten on a plate or just grab it and go.  Let cool and microwave for tomorrow’s breakfast as you head out the door for work.

Bacon, egg, and pancake all in one bite -- or two..  It just doesn't get any better than that.  

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Smoking Turkey Breasts

Our local grocer had a great buy on some frozen turkey breasts so I thought I would purchase a few and do some smoking.    And I must say they turned out delicious and I learned a little trick that I will be passing on to you.

Stopping at a local grocery store on Monday I purchased three frozen whole turkey breasts (bone-in). I brought them home and placed them in our refrigerator that we have in our garage.

On Wednesday I mixed up the brine.  The brine I used consisted of water, salt, cure, and brown sugar as the main ingredients.  See the picture for all the dry ingredients.

I used a cooler to mix the brine and the turkey breasts.  I did make sure it was clean.

Now that all the ingredients are mixed in the water and and most have dissolved completely, we need to add the turkey breasts to the mixture.  Remember to wash your hands and anything else the raw turkey may touch.

When adding the turkey breasts to the brine mixture I noticed that they were not completely thawed --- but that's OK. Remember the brine is high in salt and we all use salt to melt ice.  In addition to the salt the temperature on the tap water we used was probably around 65 or 70° F  . So that alone will help finish the thaw.

On Thursday we mixed about 12 oz. of honey from a jar with about 24 oz. of brine.  You don't need to be exact just about a two to one ratio will work.  Whatever is left over will be poured back into the brine. So we pumped each side of the breasts with a mixture of honey and brine. See pictures below.

Put them back into the brine solution until Saturday morning.  At this time I removed the breasts from the brine and let soak in plain water for about 15 minutes. This just helps remove some of the excess salt from the outside. Then it's smoke time.


I used hickory and apple wood for smoking. You can use whatever you prefer.  I got the pit good and hot and then let the fire die down to almost out but there were still plenty of hot embers.

Roll the smoker over the pit and about 4 1/2 hours later  --  165° F  internal temperature.  Your time may vary but just make sure the internal temperature is 165° F.

Remember, keep the temperatures of the smokehouse below 210° F. This makes for a little longer cooking time but remember -- you are smoking the meat.

And now for the tip I promised you - I removed the skin from one of the turkey breast before smoking. This allowed the smoke to penetrate the meat and no noticeable drying out.  Note the one on the right in the picture has the skin removed.

After removing from the smokehouse we placed one the kitchen for about a half an hour.  We then placed in the refrigerator for the night.

I must say, they turned out pretty good.  We removed the bones and passed out to some neighbors who agreed with me -- they were delicious.

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