On a Little Known Sausage

Oh sure, people know about sausage. You probably have your very own favorite or favorite varieties you love to eat and cook with various dishes.

The word sausage that we use today evolved from the old French word saussiche (from the Latin salsus, meaning salted).

But not many know about Mennonite Farmer sausage, some people in the know yes, not many outside of the ‘know’. This sausage is not as mainstream as many of its tube meat cousins. It’s more like a cultural heritage thing, something that belongs to a particular group of people. Not at all like say … hot dogs, known and enjoyed far and wide, nor is it as well known like traditional sausages that  have history and are acclaimed like the German Bratwurst, the Spanish Chorizo or the Polish Kielbasa (which simplistically means Polish Sausage).

Perogies and Mennonite Farmer Sausage

Perogies with sour cream and Mennonite Farmer Sausage. Image curtesy of Michelle Furbacher - www.michellemeals.com

Farmer’s Sausage. I imagine you thinking “What? I know what farmer sausage is” and that probably is correct. However I suggest that you might not know about the Mennonite Farmer Sausage. That is unless you are from Mennonite stock or have friends or acquaintances who run, or know people in those circles. Its legendary appeal is said to have its origins in the province of Manitoba (Canada) where many Mennonites settled many moons ago.

It is a raw pork smoked sausage. It’s simple really, combine raw ground pork with salt and pepper, stuff it into casings and hang it in the smoke house. Recipes vary, smoking times vary, taste may vary but that’s it in a nutshell. Simple and oh so tasty. Of course various makers have their own little secrets and ways of making it and some taste better than others, much better than others. And I know of a butcher/sausage maker close to where I live who makes what a good friend of mine, upon tasting it for the first time fell to his knees and proclaimed it  to be ‘sacred sausage’. I couldn’t agree more and I believe the secret of it’s flavor hangs in the smokehouse.

I have bought and tasted various kinds of farmer sausage when I come across them and I am always disappointed in the flavor. IMHO a real Mennonite farmer’s sausage  has a very distinct slightly peppery, salty smoked taste.


Links of Mennonite Farmer Sausage on a rack- photo curtesy of www.keithbergen.com

It is usually sold in links and one of my favorite preparation is to cut it into roughly three inch lengths, slicing those lengths in half so they open like book and frying them in a pan until the open sides begin to brown a bit, flip them onto the casing side and heat through from that side a bit until you’re satisfied that they are done. Giving off a near feeding frenzy inducing aroma, it is at times difficult to wait until they are done but it is worth it. Serve them with mashed potatoes, your favorite gravy flavored with the sausage drippings, creamed corn and apple sauce and you have yourself a notable and hearty meal you won’t soon forget. The only difficulty would be finding the sausage it seems.

Sacred Sausage“, a hedonistically wicked but absolutely fitting compliment for something produced by a very low key, pacifist ethno-religious group.


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