Nghe An highland sausage during Tet season

NGHE An – Hundreds of households in the mountainous districts of Quy Chau and Que Phong are busy producing specialty sausages in the kitchen to sell in time for the Lunar New Year.

In the morning of mid-January, Ms. Truong Thi Bao, 38 years old, and four workers gathered to cut pork at her home in Chau Hanh commune, Quy Chau district. Near Tet, Ms. Bao’s facility receives thousands of sausage orders inside and outside the province. Every week she buys 800 kg of meat, double the normal amount.

Pork is chopped into small pieces and marinated with spices before being put into a collagen shell or small intestine to create sausage.  Photo: Duc Hung
Pork is chopped into small pieces and marinated with spices before being put into a collagen shell or small intestine to create sausage. Photo: Duc Hung

To make sausage, Ms. Bao chose pork thigh and shoulder meat with a balance of lean and fat. If the fat is thick, you must filter it to achieve a ratio of 20% fat, 80% lean. Next, she will cut the meat into strips and mix it with MSG, salt, soup, pepper and the establishment’s typical spices, marinate for one hour.

“Choosing meat and seasoning is the most important. If you choose a piece that is too fatty or too lean, when you eat it, it will feel boring or dry. If the spices are mixed unevenly, too salty or too bland, the product will lose its flavor.” fragrant,” Ms. Bao said.

After being marinated, the meat will be stuffed into cleaned pork intestines or collagen shells. In the past, Ms. Bao used to do it by hand, using her hands to stuff meat, making 20-30 kg of fresh sausage every day. For the past 7 years, the family has bought a meat stuffing machine to increase productivity. When putting meat into the hopper, the motor will push the meat to flow slowly into the pig’s intestines or collagen casing, which can produce hundreds of kilograms of sausage every day.

When meat is stuffed into a collagen shell, it will create fresh sausages over 2 meters long. Ms. Bao and a woman sat in front of the machine to take the laces and divide them into 20cm pieces for later cutting and packaging for convenience. Ms. Bao’s husband took each string of sausage and hung it on a bamboo tree and then took it outside to dry in the sun for a few hours before leaving the kitchen.

Ms. Bao (right corner) and a worker are adjusting the machine to make fresh sausage.  Photo: Duc Hung
Ms. Bao (right corner) and a worker are adjusting the machine to make fresh sausage. Photo: Duc Hung

The final step is drying the sausage on the stove. Ms. Bao often buys odd pieces of longan and firewood to burn to ensure safety and create a unique fragrance. Each batch of goods is dried for 4 days, then cut, packaged, vacuumed, and placed in the refrigerator for storage. Finished sausages are 20 cm long, 2.5 cm in diameter, packaged in packages of 8-16 pieces, weighing 0.5-1 kg.

“The stage of keeping the kitchen also determines success or failure. A drying rack can hold 300-400 kg of pieces, I have to constantly watch the stove to adjust the fire, so that the product has a dry skin but not a hard intestine to meet the standards,” Ms. Bao said. Currently, sausage sells for 300,000-350,000 VND per kg.

Normally, a week, Ms. Bao makes a batch of about 300-400 kg of sausage. Near Tet, every week the facility produces two batches, about 800 kg. Previously, she hired one worker, now there are 5 more people, paid 200,000-300,000 VND a day. After deducting expenses, the family’s Tet profit is 150-200 million VND.

Sausage dried on the stove at Ms. Hien's facility.  Photo: Duc Hung
Sausage dried on the stove at Ms. Hien’s facility. Photo: Duc Hung

In Kim Son town, Que Phong border district, Ms. Nguyen Hien, 40 years old, and several dozen owners of large and small establishments in the area also mobilized dozens of seasonal workers to work overtime to create batches of Chinese sausage for Tet. Giap Thin.

According to Ms. Hien, sausage is a traditional dish of highland people. On Tet, every family prepares 3-5 kg ​​to welcome guests, so the products they make are always “sold out”. She estimates that the next two weeks will be the hardest because her partner constantly urges her, and will definitely work overnight, about 500-600 kg per week.

“To prepare sausage, you just need to fry it, or put it in an oil-free fryer at 160-180 degrees Celsius, after 5 minutes you can use it,” Ms. Hien said. A quality product is when cut into a piece of fatty meat that turns clear, chewy and has a nutty taste. When eating, eat with some raw vegetables to avoid boredom.

Mr. Cao Minh Tu, Deputy Director of the Department of Industry and Trade of Nghe An province, said that sausages are produced by mountainous people seasonally, with hundreds of families making them during the peak Tet holiday, while on weekdays there are only a few dozen households.

“The Department has directed districts to help facility owners promote product consumption to many provinces and cities in the country, linking with supermarket chains and distributors. However, currently input is still a bit difficult because there are not many products.” , Mr. Tu said.

($1~24,000 VND)
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