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Celebrating Sucuk – Turkish Sausage With Garlic & Spices

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Sucuk (Turkish sausage) is to Turkish cuisine what chorizo is to Spanish cuisine; what salami is to Italian cuisine. A spicy, cured sausage of ground meat that is packed with flavour.

Granted, these sausages are never going to fall under the ‘health food’ category, but we all need a naughty-but-nice foodie treat every now and then.

And sucuk really is a foodie treat.

Sucuk Turkish Sausage
Turkish sausage for sale at Fethiye Fish Market

Whenever we’re doing the food shopping around Fethiye Fish Market or at our local butchers, it’s always a comforting sight to see the butchers’ homemade sucuk hanging from hooks outside the shops.

And it’s always difficult to resist buying one, too!

Different Turkish recipes – and other recipes from around the world – pushing to the forefront of our minds as we make the purchase.

What Makes A Good Sucuk Turkish Sausage?

Because sucuk is so popular in Turkey, it’s available in many food shops and all supermarkets.

And, as far as we’re concerned, when it comes to this product, you get what you pay for.

In Turkey, meat isn’t cheap. If your sausage is cheap, there’s probably lots of other ingredients in there to pad it out.

You’ll get a soft, squashy texture and not much pungency to the flavour.

A good quality Turkish sausage should have strong flavour – and a decent percentage of meat and fat content.

So, if you’re buying it from the supermarket, look for the bigger, more famous brands that are either pre-packed on the shelves or behind the deli counter.

Sucuk Döner, Afyon
Afyon is famous for sucuk

The province of Afyonkarahisar is famous for producing sucuk. So, if you see that for sale, it should be decent quality. Look for the ‘Cumhuriyet’ label.

You can even buy döner kebab in Afyon that is made from sucuk!

Locally Produced

For us, we love to shop local. So we buy homemade Turkish sausage from our local butcher shops.

He makes a regular spicy sausage full of red pepper and black pepper and also a hot ‘n’ spicy version which has added chilli.

Of, course, the chilli version (acılı) is our sausage of choice.

Sucuk Turkish Sausage
A feast of Turkish sucuk for sale at a local food festival

The longer the sausage hangs, the more the drying process firms up the sausage.

One time, we bought some from our butcher and he’d only just put it on display.

He told us to hang it for a few more days before we ate it to get the best flavour and texture.

Within a few days, we had a super tasty, firm spicy sausage.

So, for us, we like homemade, lots of flavour and a firm texture. Not so hard that it feels like you’re slicing through a brick. Just a little bit of give.

Meat Content

A good sucuk needs a good ratio of meat, fat and spices.

In Turkey, sucuk is most often a beef sausage.

Sucuk is also eaten around the Middle East, Balkan areas of Eastern Europe and in Central Asian countries. In these Central Asian countries, horse meat will sometimes be used.

Camel Sausage
Deve sucuk – spicy camel sausage – for sale at the camel wrestling event

And, at least in Turkey, we also have deve sucuk.

This is made from camel meat and – as you might expect – we had this when Fethiye hosted a traditional camel wrestling event.

Sucuk Turkish Sausage FAQs

How do you pronounce sucuk?

In Turkish, the letter ‘c’ is pronounced as ‘j’. The ‘u’ sound is quite soft so when you ask for this Turkish sausage, you need to ask for ‘soojook.’

Is Turkish sausage spicy?

Sucuk is a strong tasting Turkish sausage with spices such as paprika and cumin in the mix. Not forgetting the garlic of course.

If you want a chilli-spiced version you need to look for the word ‘acılı’ on the packet or the label.

Is sucuk healthy?

The two main ingredients of this Turkish sausage are ground beef and animal fat.

Whilst the fat may not be the healthiest option, it does make this sausage a really tasty treat.

No extra oil is required for frying – the sausage’s spicy, red-coloured oil will release from the meat almost immediately so you can flavour your other ingredients with it.

How do you cook sucuk Turkish sausage?

Take a look at our full list of recipes below for lots of tasty ways to cook and enjoy your sausage.

In some dishes, it’s the star of the show, whilst in others, it’s a subtle background companion.

Whether you’re frying, simmering, grilling or baking, there are many dishes that benefit from the addition of sucuk.

Sucuk Recipes – What To Do With Your Spicy Bounty

So, if you’re now tempted to buy some Turkish sausage (you can find some on Amazon) and enjoy the juicy texture and spicy flavours, how best can you make use of it?

There are lots of great traditional dishes that include Turkish sausage in the recipe and we wouldn’t like to say which is our favourite sucuk recipe.

We make these different recipes at home a lot – and we also use sucuk as a substitute when recipes call for chorizo or similar sausages.

Let’s start with the famous street food sandwiches and toasties first of all. And then we’ll post our list of recipes that you can try out at home.

In Bread, Of Course

There are lots of traditional fillings for tost – the ubiquitous Turkish toastie.

Combined with cheese and tomato, sucuk is one of those fillings. If you’re in Fethiye, Iksirci Tezcan are famous for their Turkish sausage and cheese toasties.

Sucuklu tost is an absolute classic.

Sucuk Half Bread
On a sandwich

Ekmek arası sucuk – a good old sausage sandwich – takes some beating when that’s what you’re in the mood for.

Turks love to thrown some vertically sliced sucuk on the barbecue and then place it between crusty bread.

Dollop some homemade ketchup over it. Divine!

Eating Çeşme Kumrusu
The Çeşme Kumrusu

Oh, and let’s not forget the famous Çeşme Kumrusu.

Sucuk is just one of a few ingredients that combines to make up the fillings of this must-try crusty cob.

Sucuk Turkish Sausage Recipes To Try At Home

From the breakfast table, right through to lunch and dinner – there’s always room for sucuk!

Our Favourite Sucuk Recipes

This list of Turkish sucuk recipes will give you lots of ideas for how to cook sucuk.

Sucuk is a really versatile Turkish sausage that adds lots of garlicky, spicy flavour to various dishes.

If you venture into the world of sucuk, we hope you find some inspiration with the recipe ideas in this article.

And don’t forget, we also have an ever growing collection of Turkish recipes that you can try at home, too.

Afiyet Olsun!

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