If anything, Croats are big fans of cured meats and love to share spreads of good cured meat called platas with friends and family. At any type of celebration that gathers more than four people I guarantee you’ll find a wooden flat board with a whole range of salamis, sausages, prosciutto, ham etc.
These products are most often made from pork or a pork-beef combination, but pork usually prevails. Actually, six of them have received EU protection in the register of protected designations of origin and protected geographical indications. We consume them in large quantities and are very proud of our tradition.
Home alone and lazy? A couple of hard boiled eggs and a pair of sausages are on the menu.
Don’t know what to eat for lunch at work? Bread with some kind of salami with cheese spread or butter.
Most popular types of sausages:
Kranjska: 75-80 percent pork and no more than 20 percent fat, best served fried
Debrecinka: A mixture of pork and beef, slightly smoked, best when cooked
Češnjovka: Made from pork and spices with a strong hint of garlic, best when fried
Pečenice: Made from pork in a very thin sausage casing, slightly smoked, best when grilled
Most popular types of salamis:
Zimska: The most popular salami made form pork, in a casing covered with white mold which gives it its characteristic flavour
Čajna: Made form pork, traditionally smoked on beech tree, lighter taste but similar to Zimska
Milanska: Made from best cuts of pork inspired by Italian techniques which means it isn’t as finely ground and has a softer bite to it
Srijemska: Made from pork, carries a bit more taste due to red a paprika spice which gives it the deep red colour
Kulen: Made from pork, this pearl of Slavonia is one of the best things you can taste in Croatia, slightly spicy due to hot red paprika
Although you can buy all these kinds in a local shop the best ones are the homemade ones. This January, after a two year break, my family finally decided to make a new batch of homemade sausages and salamis. Winter is the best time of year since it’s cold so the meat won’t go bad while drying.
Now, I’m in no position to discover the real recipe my father has kept hidden for years (this year he did hint at the used ratios) but I’ll give you some useful tips on how to make delicious sausages and salamis. The must haves are a couple of volunteers and two days, it’s best to do it over the weekend.
When making salamis, the ratio of pork to beef is around 80:20.
The meat and fat ratio is 80:20. We add salt and pepper and then some garlic water.
When making sausages, the pork-beef ratio is the same but the meat-fat ratio is 85:15. The spices are the same.
The meat needs to be minced and the fat needs to be cut into tiny little cubes because the worst thing is when you bite into a sausage and get a chunk of fat in your mouth. You mix it all well, the meat, the fat, the spices and leave it to sit, it’s best to do that over night.
The next day, you fill the sausage casings by using a sausage maker machine. You have to have a light yet firm touch, be careful casings as they can tear apart easily. After that, you hang them and dry them in a fumatory for couple of weeks to a couple of months.
And there you have it, the method of making sausages and salamis in couple of simplified steps. As long as you drink a gemišt every thirty minutes or so, then you’re good to go.