Käsekrainer - cheese filled hickory smoked hotdog recipe

Like melty cheese? Like smoked hot dogs? Like chilli? Step right this way…

The Käsekrainer is a cheese filled sausage from Vienna. A large sausage filled with small chunks of cheese (German: Käse) to which the Käsekrainer owes its name. It’s traditionally fried or grilled, which melts the cheese, then served hot.

I recently tried a Käsekrainer at Steins (https://www.richmond.stein-s.com/), a Bavarian bar on the riverside near Richmond bridge in West London. It blew my mind - a hint of chilli, melty cheese, and served with Sauerkraut and a bread roll.

I couldn’t find too many recipe references online, but thanks to some very friendly and helpful folks over at https://forum.sausagemaking.org/ i pulled together enough information to come up with a trial recipe. They even managed to dig out a video that explains the sausage! Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdtuIilwkV0.

It was a serious success.

When making these sausages, it’s vitally important to keep the meat mixture at or below 4c, otherwise you will break the emulsion. This is particularly important when making hot dog style sausages, as you grind multiple times, and then process in a food processor - all activities that will serve to raise the temperature due to friction. So a few tips to make sure everything goes to plan:

  • Semi freeze all the meat on a tray before starting (about an hour) - it should have a crunchy exterior but not be totally frozen

  • Freeze the fat before starting (about 3 hours)

  • Have a food probe thermometer to hand, to test the temperature at stages

  • Cool all your grinder parts in the freezer before starting (about 30 mins)

  • Return the ground meet between each stage, to the freezer

  • When processing the meat in the food processor, add water with ice cubes to keep the temperature low

  • Test a small patty of meat in the pan before stuffing, to check the right balance of spices / salt but also to make sure that when squeezed, the patty springs back and retains moisture rather than loosing it.

I opted to cook the sausages by hot smoking them to the correct internal temperature - a must if you have the means, but you can also poach them, or grill / fry them (i would be wary of doing this in case you split the casing - but by all means give it a go). I have seen recipes where people add hickory powder to get the smokey flavour but you cant beat the real thing in my opinion.

At first attempt, i hot smoked to around 62c - safe for the pork and beef but just a few degrees too low to get the Emmental completely melted. I’d recommend cooking to 66c, around the melting point for lower moisture cheeses.

References / thanks:

I used a number of resources to come up with this recipe, including the below:

A idea of ingredients: https://www.piccantino.co.uk/radatz/mini-kaesekrainer-cheese-filled-sausages and https://www.olympiaprovisions.com/collections/sausages/products/kasekrainer

Proportions: https://tapirtantrum.com/2009/06/07/making-kasekrainer-sausage-at-home/

History and serving: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carniolan_sausage

Helpful folks and a great resource in general: https://forum.sausagemaking.org/

A history: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdtuIilwkV0

Ingredients

  • 750g pork shoulder, fatty

  • 150g beef 

  • 50g bacon

  • 200g pork fat

  • 22g Salt

  • 5g Pepper

  • 2.5g Cayenne pepper

  • 2.5g Paprika (sweet smoked)

  • 35g Non fat milk powder

  • 200g Emmental Cheese, diced and frozen (about 4 mm cubes)

  • 2.8g Curing salt #1

  • 200ml iced water

Instructions

Please take a look at how-to-make-sausages, how-to-cook-sausages and the-science-of-great-sausages. These guides will apply to all the sausage recipes on this site and will provide you with a great primer!

  • Place the diced pork, beef and bacon in the freezer about an hour ahead of time

  • Place the pork fat in the freezer about 3 hours ahead of time

  • Soak about 2 meters of hog casings in warm water

  • Cool the metal parts of your grinder and stuffer before use, if possible

  • Remove the diced pork, beef and bacon from the freezer when its got a frozen crust to it

  • Grind the all of the meat into a bowl using the coarse plate. Keep the bowl chilled / in the freezer, whilst you prepare the spices

  • Grind the meat again using the finer plate.

  • Mix all the spice mix ingredients together in a bowl.

  • Add all of the ingredients, to the ground meat, and mix thoroughly, then chill in the freezer for 20 mins.

  • Process in a food processor until a fine consistency is achieved - about 1 minute. Add iced water in small amounts during this process, to keep the temperature down,

  • Stuff the mixture into the hog casings and create 6 inch hotdogs

  • Heat in a smoker over Hickory smoke, until the internal temperature reaches 66c then either eat immediately or transfer to an iced water bath to stop the cooking and prevent wrinkling. (Cooled sausages can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days)

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