My interest in the origins of the sausage was sparked by a reference by Laurence Green in his book, Harbours of Memory (1969) about South African port cities.
He writes that that “butchers prepared fine mutton hams and polonies and these kept fresh in any climate.”
Apart from the interesting reference to “mutton hams“, he, interestingly, describes what he meant with polonies.
It was “a foot long, one inch in diameter, made of pork and other meats and fat with various spices; they were bound in bundles of twenty-four and sewn up in airtight bladders.”
I was intrigued.
Green collected his stories from old men and woman, sometimes from pamphlets that he dug up at street markets and the accounts go back to at least the turn of the 20th century and even further back.
Polony According to Laurence Green
There are several interesting things we can deduce from Green’s account. The fact that it kept “fresh in any climate” points to only one of two preservation techniques. It was either cooked or dried/ fermented.
Polony According to C. L. Graves
Grave links the word polony to the Polish word Polony, therefore Polish sausage – “Polony sausage, which does not hail from Poland”.
He then takes the origin of the sausage, not to Poland, but to “Bologna in Italy.”
Polony in according to Mr. James Hitchcock
The Standard in 1829 reports on a court case against a certain Mr. James Hitchcock who was charged with selling meat unfit for human consumption.
One of the products sold was Polony and it was made with substandard meat by adding large quantities of salt and pepper “which must have cost much more than the meat itself.” …..Source
How to make Polony.
Check that the product is of an acceptable standard; in other words: no slimy layer present on the meat surface, no discoloration or any foul odour noted.
Frozen meat/MDM (mechanically deboned meat) may be used for processed cooked products.
When freezing meat, ensure that the meat is sealed with minimum air (preferably vacuum packed). Do not use meat that has been left open in the freezer.
Check your meat to ensure the meat-to-fat ratios are correct; If your raw material is too lean or too fatty; then adjust the meat to the correct fat ratio by adding fat or lean meat accordingly.
Excessively fatty meat may also be trimmed of excess fat before being used. Additional meat or fat must be of the same animal species as the raw material used. This will ensure consistency.
Fresh meat to be used within 3 – 5 days.
Pre-soaked UNPRINTED/PRINTED Polony Casings.
Apply as per Complete Pack instructions
Hydrate your spice pack 10 minutes prior to use.
When using frozen meat, cut the frozen meat into cubes (20 mm x 20 mm) by using a band saw prior to mincing.
Mince the meat through a 4.5 mm plate, ensuring that the mincer knives and plates are sharp and correctly aligned to ensure there is minimal heat generation during mincing.
Transfer meat / MDM and water / ice into the bowlcutter and sprinkle QRC sachet onto meat.
Run at high speed until a paste/emulsion starts to develop.
Slow bowlcutter down to slow speed, add in complete pack and mix until 4°C is reached. Add starch and mix in bowlcutter.
Add the fat emulsion and run bowlcutter until emulsion reaches 10°C. Scrape down any excess meat, powder and water and close lid.
Cut product again on high speed to ensure even distribution and proper blending. Switch bowlcutter to slow speed and cut for 3-4 revolutions to remove excess air from the emulsion.
NOTE: Your final chopping temperature must never exceed a temperature of 12°C. Switch off bowlcutter and remove product while bowl is still running.”
Ideally hang polonies within a steam cooker and cook to a core temperature (down the length and centre of the product) of 70-72°C.
Remove polonies from steam cooker and place into ice cold water to cool down to ambient temperature as quickly. Remove product from water and place in chiller overnight.
INDUSTRY TIP: (after cooling steps above) If your product has a shrivelled appearance and you desire a smoother surface, quickly dip your product into boiling water for a few seconds.
Slice if desired and vacuum pack into desired portion sizes. Store in fridge <+5˚C. Alternatively keep Frozen <-18˚C..Source