Hi everyone, Nelson here today. During the last few days my parents were here, my mom shared with me another recipe that I’d been wanting to try for a long time, linguiça. Linguiça [sounds like lee-n(nasal n)-gweesa] is a type of sausage. It has some similarities to Azores chouriço, but it’s typically thinner and less red. This is a staple of azores cuisine. It can be found in most restaurants, in people’s homes, and under the food tents at every festival. Now that we have our amazing Bradley smoker, (seriously loving this smoker!) it was time for me to try this recipe!
This Azores sausage is made differently from island to island in the Azores and even from town to town on each of the islands. I’ve tried many versions, and most are delicious, but the recipe I used is typical of our town, Ribeiras, on the Island of Pico.
You can make this at home?
The answer is yes… but! I’ll be up-front with our readers; this took a bit of effort, especially because it was my first time making sausage. It took a bit of practice and a lot of patience. Preparing the meat was time consuming, but not difficult at all. Basically I chopped a pork shoulder into very small pieces and then marinated the meat. It’s the small pieces that’ll get you… pork shoulder is a big chunk of meat! Use a good knife and give yourself time for this part.
I realize the citrus mixture for our marinate probably looks a little funny with a clementine. I’m trying to replicate a fruit that’s commonly used in Pico to make these sausages, called limão tangerino. It’s tart like a lemon, but has a touch of tangerine flavour.
The casings (we used the real stuff) were a little bit of a challenge to find. Most butchers carry the slightly wider casings (size 35-38) for Italian sausage. That’s a bit too thick for these sausages. In most cases, if you ask your butcher, they can special order the thinner casings (size 32-35).
Filling the meat into the casings was my biggest challenge. Our KitchenAid mixer is fantastic! It’s perfect for grinding meat, and the sausage stuffing accessory is ideal for making sausages with ground meat. My issue was that I wasn’t using ground meat–linguiça is made with small but chunky bits of meat . Stuffing the little pieces of meat became a challenge because they kept getting stuck. This was doable, but it took many stops to clear out the tube and inside of the grinder. Eventually I filled the casings and tied the sausages.
Like the real gadget-guy that I am, as soon as Bradley sent us the smoker, I immediately started looking at which types of accessories were available for this smoker, and other types of wood Bisquettes that I wanted to try out. I was pleasantly surprised to find out they had hooks for the smoker. I’m guessing you can smoke sausages by laying them on their sides on the racks, but this was so much nicer–and more authentic for this recipe! I followed the usual drill to get the smoker ready and then placed the Linguiça inside the smoker when it reached 200 ºF. For this recipe, I used whiskey oak bisquettes and they were perfect.
One last step
Before being plated, linguiça typically gets a quick fry in oil, or lard and in same cases, it’s even cooked in red wine. I fried it in a bit of lard (my doctor would have said no, but my stomach said yes!). The linguiça was perfect and it went down so well with a little piece of corn bread made by my mom (she made us some corn bread and sweet bread and filled our chest freezer before she returned to the Azores :-). We’re sharing this linguiça with friends tomorrow–they’re families are from the same town on the island where my parents live–and I’m confident they’re going to love this traditional sausage. They know I’ve been dying to make this in my new Bradley smoker, so seeing them enjoy this will make me feel so proud. Have smoker–will smoke! Sausage that is!
Things I learned
If I’m going to do this often, I might invest in a sausage stuffing machine. Casings go a long way so you don’t have to buy too much. Make sure you’re doing the stuffing near a sink… it can get messy.
I encourage anyone that likes to experiment and learn in the kitchen to try this recipe, but be prepared to put in quite a bit of effort to prep the meat and stuff the casings. The smoking is the easy part. The results are so worth the prep work though! I still can’t believe I made linguiça at home! My mom will be so proud.
Try something new today, even if it’s a little outside your comfort zone, and always eat well, friends!
- 8 Lbs or 3.6 kg pork shoulder, skin cleaned off and no bone
- ¾ cups (about 3 lemons) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ cups (about 3 limes) freshly squeezed lime juice
- ¼ cup (about 1 tangerine or clementine) freshly squeezed clementine juice
- 1½ cups white wine
- 1 head of garlic (12 to 14 cloves), minced
- 2 Tbsp course salt
- 4 Tbsp sweet pimento paste
- 2 tsp crushed hot red pepper flakes (add more if you like more kick. these are fairly mild)
- 1 casing, width 32 to 35. One casing was plenty for this amount of meat
- The Marinate: Mix together the lemon, lime and tangerine juices, along with the wine, garlic, salt, pimento paste and pepper flakes. Set aside.
- Chop the pork into small pieces, just a little larger than a peanut. Leave on bit of fat for flavour and juiciness.
- In a very large bowl, mix the pork with the marinate, cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours. We marinated for 24 hours.
- Your casings will likely come in salt. Let them sit in cold clean water for about 30 minutes, and then run them through cold running water again to wash off the salt.
- Place the casing on the sausage stuffer tube and tie the end, either with kitchen string or the actual casing end.
- Using a sanitized pin, punch a couple of holes in the end of the casing near the knott. This is to avoid creating air bubbles once you start filling the sausages.
- Drain the marinate from the meat.
- Turn on the machine and start feeding the meat into the feeder.
- Once the meat starts coming into the casing, place one hand on the tube while holding the casing at the tip of the tube. Use your hand to guide the meat. Don't let it fill too much before letting the casing move forward. If you fill it too much, you run the risk of breaking the casing. Use your other hand to hold the sausage as it comes out. Massage it gently to keep the thickness consistant.
- Ideally, you'll have an assistant/helper feeding the meat, so you can concentrate on the sausage as it comes out.
- As the sausage came out, we positioned it into a wheel shape on the cutting board and kept feeding it around the wheel until we were done with the meat. Some folks choose to cut and tie each piece as it comes out. Do whatever you find easiest. We liked our method because it allowed us to cut consistent sizes at the end and not worry about stopping during the filling process.
- We cut our sausages into pieces about 1 foot long and tied both ends with kitchen string.
- We then tied the string from both end to each other to form a closed loop.
- Place the sausages in the fridge for about an hour.
- As per your smoker's instructions, startup your smoker, add your flavouring wood/chips and heat it to 200 ºF. In our case, we loaded up whiskey oak bisquettes into our bradley smoker.
- Once the smoker is ready, place the linguiça in the smoker. We used hooks to hang them from the string loop, but you can also place these on the grate.
- We took our linguiça out after about three hours when the meat reached an internal temperature of 155 ºF. Times will vary depending on your smoker and the consistency of the heat. I recommend using a thermometer to know when your meat is ready.
- Congratulations! You just made linguiça at home!
- Before serving these, give them a quick fry in vegetable oil or lard. Another traditional way of preparing them is to cover them in red wine in a pot and let it boil until the wine completely reduces.
- The Kitchenaid stuffer tube will do the trick, but a dedicated sausage stuffing machine will probably quicker results.
- Years ago, these would be kept in lard until needed. Times have changed and we keep our in the freezer.
- If you plan on keeping the sausages for some time without freezing them, you must use cure #1. If not you take a chance of spoilage. Best to be safe. Thanks for the info Don Howes!