Thursday, October 26, 2017

Shuzhuk - Horse Sausage

A popular Kazakh dish is shuzhuk, which is horse sausage. The casing for the sausage is the small intestine, and the filling is horse rib meat, fat and seasoning. The proportion of rib meat to fat is a matter of personal taste - it can be virtually all meat or all fat. Once the filling is stuffed into the casing, the resulting sausage is tied at both ends and boiled. 

A recipe for shuzhuk is found here. The recipe calls for equal parts horse meat and fat (suet), salt, pepper and garlic. The meat is rubbed with salt and kept one or two days at a temperature of 37 to 39 degrees. The intestines are washed in and kept in salt water. The meat and fat are cut into small pieces and mixed. The garlic, pepper and salt are combined and then mixed into the mixture of meat and fat. The mixture is then stuffed into intestines, both ends are tied with a string, and they are hung in a cool place for three or four hours. It is then smoked 12 to 18 hours over dense smoke at a temperature of 122 to 140 degrees and then dried at 53 degrees for two to three days. It is then boiled over a slow fire for two to two and a half hours. It is then cut into slices one-quarter inch thick and it is ready to eat. 

I found some shuzhuk in a market in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. I had no way to store it or eat it and asked the proprietor of the sausage stall if I could buy it and have him cut it into slices for me. He did not understand English and I was trying to communicate using hand signals. I think he thought I only wanted to buy a few slices, instead of buy the whole sausage and have him slice it, so he refused. The sausage cost about $8.00. 
Shuzhuk, center, stored in a refrigerated unit in a market in Samarkand.
Judy holding a shuzhuk, fatty side up. Note how long and thick it is. 
We did taste shuzhuk at Restaurant Abay in Almaty, Kazakhstan. It was served with a semi-sweet mustard that was really good. The horse fat had a low melt point and melted in your mouth. The horse meat was soft, a little sweet, and had plenty of spice. I really enjoyed it. It had no unpleasant taste. 
Slices of shuzhuk at Abay Restaurant in Almaty.


  1. It was fun to see everyone else in our tour group eating--and enjoying--the horse meat in the restaurant. These were the same people who were gagging about your horsemeat purchase in China. Somehow eating it in a restaurant makes it . . . more civilized?

  2. Didn't all that fat make it taste weird?

    1. Fat on a piece of horse sausage, like on a beef steak, provides extra moisture and flavor. The fat did have a different, softer, texture and melted in the mouth. I felt like the fat made it more flavorful.

  3. i first had horse meat as a steak in toronto. it was so delicious! the meat was very soft, as if it had no 'grain' to it, and slightly sweet. my favorite meat now, but sadly impossible to procure in the states :(