Popular Turkish Sausages: Sucuk and Cured Meats
If you enjoy cured meats, you must experience Turkey’s sausages and pastramis. Turkish cured meats are typically made from beef, but goat and camel meat can also be used. T
hey are seasoned with various spices and salt, then dry-cure to perfection. This results in rich, flavorful meat that is perfect for slicing and enjoying on a sandwich or in stews. Moreover, these are indispensable elements of Turkish breakfasts. They take their place on breakfast tables either by themselves or fried with eggs in a pan.
If you’re looking for some delicious preserved meat products, be sure to check out the Turkish selection. You won’t be disappointed! The sausages and pastramis in Turkey are some of the best in the world, and they’re definitely worth trying if you’re in the country.
Sucuk corresponds to almost all types of sausages in Turkey.
You can find spicy, savory sausages and everything in between. They’re usually made with high-quality ingredients, and they taste absolutely delicious.
The name that corresponds to almost all types of sausage in Turkey is sucuk. There are multiple types of sucuk, and although there are slight differences in different parts of Turkey, they are prepared with similar preservation methods.
Another cured meat product that is consumed in large amounts in all regions of Turkey is pastırma. We can even call pastırma the superior version of sucuk as meat considered unsuitable for making pastırma are used for sucuk. These two cover almost all preserved meats in Turkey.
Many food names in Turkish are derived from the verb that expresses the method. Sucuk and pastırma are the best examples of these.
Succhuk is the old name for sucuk. A noun derived from the verb suğur is an old Turkish word meaning to take the juice out and dry. In other words, the food we literally call sucuk meets its name; it is a dehydrated, dried meat product.
Pastırma refers to another preserving method. A food name derived from the verb bastırmak, to press. It refers to meat dried by pressing.
In Turkey, some foods are named with the city where they are produced, where the technique emerged. Afyon sucuk and Kayseri pastırma, for example. Cities are proud of their products and want everyone to know.
The fact is that the ingredients used and the preservation methods of the past have changed in different ways in different regions over the years. This has meant new and original products, increasing the richness of Turkish national cuisine.
Sucuk is made by filling a mixture of minced meat and spices into cleaned, dried, and soaked beef intestine. The stuffed ground beef then fermentation in the air-dry process. They may contain different rates of water, such as 30-35% in fully dry, 40-50% in semi-dry, and more than 50% in slightly dry. Most sucuks are completely dry.
After the mixture is filled into the intestine, it is shaped before proceeding to the drying stage. Although the different types of names for sucuk come from their shape, it does not affect its taste.
The most popular form of sucuk, Kangal, is made by filling the intestine with the sucuk mixture and tying the two ends together.
Baton sucuk, which is shaped in a long stick-like form, offers slicing comfort with no other significant difference in taste.
Parmak, finger sucuk, another form of drying, has received this name because it is approximately as long as a finger. This is the most common form of sucuk used for grilling.
Afyon Sucuk is a type made with beef and buffalo meat blended with ingredients such as cayenne, paprika, black pepper, sugar, ginger, allspice, garlic, and cumin. The city of Afyon is famous for being a great place to stop by for a break while traveling. A tiring trip is more enjoyable with a sucuk sandwich.
In Kayseri sucuk, the beef is washed before being minced. Kayseri sucuk gets its characteristic taste and color from the natural spring waters in which the meat is washed.
Battered sucuk has a gummy consistency obtained by pounding the beef and chopping it by hand with knives and cleavers. The beef is pounded together with cayenne, paprika, black pepper, allspice, garlic, cumin, and ground fenugreek seeds. This sucuk ferments in about 10-15 days.
Tokat Cloth Sucuk is wrapped in porous cotton cloth rather than being stuffed in intestines. This makes it a distinct type of sucuk.
Incirliova camel sucuk, which is made from camel meat, is produced in one small region where camel wrestling is a popular cultural activity. It is not found anywhere else in Turkey and therefore is not widely consumed.
But in recent years, the popularity of camel sucuk has increased as it has become easier to obtain through online shopping. Camel Sucuk, produced only in a small region, can now be delivered to every part of Turkey.
Pastırma has been carried to the present day and Anatolia since the Turks were nomads in Central Asia.
Turkic tribes salted and air-dried their precious meats to preserve them. Due to their nomadic culture, the dried meat was stored in leather bags and consumed when necessary. They would wrap their game with wild herbs and salt in a leather bag and carry it under the saddles, applying pressure as they rode.
As this nomadic life gave way to settled agriculture, preservation methods changed. While pastırma is made in the same way today, our love for pastırma remains.
To make pastırma, beef treated with dry salt is first pressed then air-dried and coated with çemen, a mixture of ground fenugreek, cayenne, garlic, salt, and water. It is then hung to dry. Afyon pastırma is made in this way.
Kayseri, Sivas, and Kastamonu pastırma are similar. After a dry salt cure, the meat is washed and completely desalinated. It is then air-dried before being pressed to completely rid it of water. Here, cumin is added to the çemen mixture.
Ankara Pastırma (Goat Meat Pastrami)
In this type of pastırma is made with goat’s meat, which has evenly distributed fat in the muscle fibers. After a dry salt cure, air-dried goat’s meat is soaked in water, then beaten rather than pressed. After being covered with çemen, it is dried and sliced thinly, as with any pastırma.
Waxed Fish Roe
In addition to preserved meats, fish products are a valuable part of Turkish cuisine.
One of the oldest preserved products of the Mediterranean coast, also known as Bottarga, is one of the treasures of Turkish cuisine. The preserving method is very similar to that used for pastırma, but it is covered with wax rather than fenugreek.
Waxed fish roe is a delicacy made from the salted and cured roe of grey mullet. It is often eaten as is, sliced or shaved over dishes. The flavor of mumlu balık yumurtası, waxed fish roe, has a unique flavor that is both salty and umami-rich. It is a delicious and versatile ingredient that can be used in various dishes.
It is not commonly consumed as it is a luxury product and not easily found. Those who are particularly fond of it tend to pre-buy it before the season starts.
Related: 16 Most Popular Turkish Cheeses
Related: 20 Tasty Turkish Desserts