Sheftalia (Cypriot Lamb and Pork Sausage)

Sheftalia is a simple Cypriot lamb-and-pork sausage that's wrapped in caul fat and cooked over a live fire. [Photographs: Joshua Bousel]

Instead of being bound in traditional sausage casing, Cypriot sheftalia (lamb-and-pork sausage) is wrapped in sheets of caul fat, which renders over a live fire. As the fat drips, little towers of flame lick the meat, creating a super crusty exterior that's still moist and juicy inside.

Why this recipe works:

  • Adding fat into the meat mixture ensures a juicy, flavorful sausage.
  • The minimal seasonings of red onion and parsley give the sausage an uncomplicated, meat-first flavor.
  • The caul fat wrapping renders on the grill, creating flare-ups that give the exterior a deep, crusty sear.

Note: If you grind the meat at home, you will need 1 pound of lamb, 1 pound of pork, and then 1/2 pound of pork fatback (totaling 2 1/2 pounds); if you decide to buy ground meat, you can get 1 1/4 pounds of ground lamb and 1 1/4 pounds of ground pork, but make sure they're both at least 30% fat. Caul fat, a thin membrane that's laced with fat, can be purchased from a good butcher.

Sheftalia (Cypriot Lamb and Pork Sausage)

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About This Recipe

Yield:serves 6-8
Active time:1 1/2 hours
Total time:1 1/2 hours
Special equipment:Meat Grinder (optional), Grill

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless lamb shoulder or leg of lamb, cut into 1-inch cubes (or 1 1/4 pounds ground lamb, at least 30% fat; see note above)
  • 1 pound boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes (or 1 1/4 pounds ground pork, at least 30% fat; see note above)
  • 1/2 pound pork fatback, cut into 1-inch cubes (if grinding at home; see note above)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/3 cup packed finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound caul fat (see note above)
  • Greek pocketless pita, warmed, for serving
  • 1 lemon, cut in half, for serving
  • Type of fire: Direct
  • Grill heat: medium-high

Procedures

  1. 1

    If grinding at home: Place lamb, pork, and fatback in a large bowl. Add salt and toss to coat evenly. Place in refrigerator until chilled, at least 30 minutes. Place meat grinder parts, including medium and small dies, in freezer to chill.

  2. 2

    Grind meat and fat through meat grinder fitted with a medium die. Switch to small die and grind meat mixture once more.

  3. 3

    Place ground meat in large mixing bowl. Add onion, parsley, and black pepper to meat mixture. Using a large spoon or hands, mix sausage until all ingredients are thoroughly distributed.

  4. 4

    Form a small sausage patty; place rest of sausage mixture in refrigerator. Cook patty in a small frying pan over medium-high heat until cooked through. Taste and adjust seasonings of sausage if necessary.

  5. 5

    Lay 1 piece of caul fat on a work surface. Break off about 2 ounces of sausage and form into a cylinder. Place sausage 1-inch from top edge of caul fat. Fold top edge over sausage, followed by both sides. Roll sausage in caul fat until fully encased, then cut off remaining caul fat. Repeat with remaining caul fat and sausage mixture.

  6. 6

    Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Grill sausages over medium-high direct heat until they register 160°F on an instant-read thermometer when inserted into center. Let rest for 5 minutes. Serve immediately with warm pita and lemon halves.

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