suhomesnati proizvodi

16-XI-2017 15:27:27

Literally, "dry meat products".

Except we're like America now. Nobody's taking it literally anymore. Meat is still there, though not as much as before - in cheaper products there's bound to be more of the greasy parts, tendons, skin and internal organs (pieces of lungs, kidneys, tongue, whatever was combed off the skull, jaw and spine). When cut, they don't have the proper reddish or pink color of meat, they mostly look pale... not the proper suhomesnati product. It's probably full of various filler stuff.

The least literally taken part is the "dry" part. Today's technology made it possible to emulsify the mix with some new stuff that holds about 30% more water than the classic gelatine or tendon broth (look for E-450 additives). You'll recognize it by the sticky skin. Sausage is still not sold in a bag of marinade, but even so, it still holds a lot of water. Just try to freeze and unfreeze it - it will break the emulsifier and you'll see it ooze. And, just like in the US, after three days in the fridge it is so slimy you have to wash it before eating. When I was a kid, it wasn't so. As a butcher told me, "it's all fast food now - eat it fast before it goes bad".

You can still find things which are properly dry - any hard sausage is still the right thing, and there's a variety to choose from. They may all look like pepperoni on steroids, but they are radically different: try sremska, bečejska, kulen (with dozens of local variations), čajna. There's still a chance it's not done right - I have found a few specimens that even the cats didn't like.

Bacon: there are dozens of kinds of it, and most of them are good. It may have the "dry smoke" added - the smoke flavor is very popular. If it looks juicy, maybe you should avoid it; it may be injected with brine. They love to sell water at the price of meat, and you don't have to love to buy it. Note: the bacon is almost never fried. We eat it raw. Try it, you may like it.

UPDATE feb. 2013: I give up. The last three specimens of bacon got the white layer exuded on top within three days in the fridge. Tried to fry it, and even the cats wouldn't eat it. Forget bacon, unless you know the maker and can trust him.

Baloney (called parizer, that is, 'the Paris sausage') used to be far better than what's sold as Bologna in the US; they didn't feel the urge to add any garlic to cover the soy, or leftovers from cheese processing and whatnot. Nowadays, maybe you should try chicken baloney, if it's firm enough. If it feels soft, it's probably watered down.

Suvi vrat (dry neck): used to be among the best things we had. It was smoked, somewhat dried, and cut into 1mm slices, perfect for sandwiches. Nowadays, the dry neck isn't dry (I've had a discussion with a butcher about manufacturers injecting water into everything, and during that talk he sold me "dry" neck). There's also smoked neck, which is a trick of a name - and it's worse when you try it. I mean it's still rather good, but not close to what the recipe says.

Update 2017: Now Mrkšić finally has suvi vrat which looks right... still a bit wet, but not too different from what it used to be. And it tastes right.

Švargla: this hasn't changed, and I'm amazed and delighted. It's a boiled mix of pig's ears, tongue, cheeks, some skin and some bacon (in a proportion set by the recipe), stuffed into pig's own stomach. Sounds awful, probably, but it's delicious, and cheap.

Bela kobasica: liver sausage. Properly done in pig's own gut (hence the name, it's a thicker gut so it's not transparent), should be about 4-5cm in diameter. Mostly liver, tendons, some bacon, lots of pepper and garlic. It's a boiled sausage - made of boiled ingredients, then boiled with the gut once more.

Pašteta deserves a separate article.

Update 2013: we've found one good butcher shop. By the owner's definition, a sausage can have no other ingredients but meat, garlic, salt, paprika, pepper and gut. Anything else is faking it. We still drop by Matijević, to buy cheese, and to Promes, to buy macaroni.

Update 2017: That butcher closed last year, couldn't bear the competition of the other four sellers of water up the street. OTOH, some came up with salfalada (knackwürst, aka knockwurst) which tastes exactly as viršle (franks) did 50 years ago, as pink as they should be, with just the right consistency. Also, there are now few kinds of sausage of various formats which are done more or less right, so there is some hope.