What is sucuk?
Sucuk is a hard, dry Turkish sausage made from beef or lamb. Depending on the sausage maker, the sausage tastes mild, garlic or spicy. You only find out when you’ve cut the sausage open…
A real sucuk sausage must dry and ferment for weeks. This fermentation process makes or breaks the quality of the sausage. Many butchers tried to dry their sausages faster, so without fermentation – with heat, for example – so the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture decided that the label “sucuk-like product” should be attached to the packaging of unfermented sausages.
Did you know...
Surrounding countries in the Balkans, the Middle East and Central Asia all have their own variant of sucuk. The sausages are usually made with beef; in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, the sausage is also made from horse meat.
How to make sucuk
Beef or lamb meat with a high fat content is chopped and mixed with spices. Pul biber (Turkish chilli flakes) and garlic prevail, but cumin, paprika and sumac are also frequently seen ingredients. Salt keeps the meat from spoiling. The meat is first carefully mixed and kneaded, then put into a sausage skin, and then dried and fermented for a few weeks. The result is a sturdy sausage that is usually baked or grilled to soften it. Just like chorizo, you can also fry sucuk in the pan without needing to add extra fat.
How to eat sucuk
You don’t eat Sucuk like we might eat a slice of liver sausage, but as part of a meal. The sausage has a place in numerous Turkish dishes, including:
- kahvalti (Turkish breakfast): fried slices of sucuk are a common part of a Turkish breakfast.
- sucuklu yumurta or sucuk with eggs: an egg is fried on top of crispy fried slices of sucuk. The yolk remains whole and runny so that you can dip your bread in it.
- bean stew: sucuk and (white) beans stewed in tomato sauce
- sucuklu mixing: scrambled eggs with sucuk
You can also find sucuk on pizza, pide and in Turkish toasted sandwiches.
Do you find sucuk a bit too spicy? Then drink a glass of ayran. Just as Indian lassi cools the mouth with a sharp curry, Ayran helps soothe the heat of the chilli peppers in the sausage. How is that possible? The milk fat present in the ayran takes away the spiciness.