Homemade Longanisa v2.0

During the lifespan of this here Filipino Food Blog, I’ve made some
food that I never thought I’d have the skill, chops, or know-how, to
make. I’m not saying any of this food has been perfect, I’m an
inexperienced hack after all, but I’ve at least been able to avoid self-induced food
poisoning that could have been caused by my overwhelming lack of said
skill, chops, or know-how. But it turns out that with a little research, and a
lot of patience, seemingly difficult dishes can be prepared with
relative ease.

Take for instance, the Filipino pork sausage known as Longanisa (also spelled longanissa, longganisa, longannisa, and everything in between). Almost 2 years ago, I made my own homemade Longanisa from scratch. This initial foray into sausage making, while daunting, resulted in some dang tasty pork links. Overall, it was a satisfying enough experience that I had to pat myself on the back a la Barry Horowitz.

However, after a visit to the Philippines last year and sampling the awesomely fatty Ilocano sausages of Batac, and after Josh Bousel of Serious Eats adapted my longanisa recipe with fantastic results, I realized that there was still much room for improvement in my original recipe (let’s call that one Homemade Longanisa v1.0, or HL1).

So after some tinkering and fine-tuning here at the Burnt Lumpia Worldwide Headquarters, I’ve finally devised a better sausage–a tastier, fattier sausage more evocative of the Longanisa I enjoyed in the Northern Philippines last summer. Ah yes, by streamlining a few ingredients while simultaneously adding more pork fat(!), I was able to evolve my old recipe into a new and improved version: Homemade Longanisa v2.0!

And with this New and Improved (Now with 50% MORE Fat!) version of Longanisa, I am happy to add it to my personal list of Porky Pinoy Pavorites…

The Five Point Pork Exploding Heart Technique:

Longanisa! Part Deux.

For those of you keeping score at home, my Homemade Longanisa v1.0 was comprised of pork butt/shoulder (same thing), kosher salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes,
garlic, cider vinegar, and beer. While all of these ingredients combined to form deliciousness within a hog casing, I soon learned that a better product could be had by making the following changes:

  • Use Ilocano sea salt instead of kosher salt
  • Use Sukang Iloco instead of cider vinegar
  • Lose the beer altogether–it only waters down the flavor of the vinegar
  • Add more pork fat!!!
  • Mix everything by hand, do not mix ingredients with stand mixer.

At first glance, the above adjustments may seem minor–changing salt for salt and vinegar for vinegar in particular. But the use of ingredients from the region of inspiration (Ilocos, fool! What?!!) was key as the native sea salt provides a more delicate and minerally flavor compared to kosher salt, and the dark sugar cane vinegar of Ilocos lends a certain sourness that can’t be found in cider vinegar. Yes, I know, not everyone has access to Ilocano sea salt, but any good sea salt will do–and kosher still works fine as well. And if you still can’t find any Sukang Iloco at the Asian market, any other Filipino vinegars will also do.

Another point I want to make is that the only liquid needed in Longanisa is vinegar–don’t be adding any wine, or beer, or water as those things only dilute the flavor of the vinegar and ultimately, the flavor of the sausage.

Also, adding more pork fat to my sausage mix was essential to improving my recipe. In the original HL1, I did not add any extra pork fat because I thought that a good cut of pork butt was fatty enough to keep the overall sausage moist and succulent–but a good Longanisa is unapologetically fatty as gobs of pig grease should be prevalent throughout each link (mmmm). Extra pork fat should be relatively easy to come by as you can usually ask your butcher for pork backfat/fatback, or you can even order fatback online.

For me however, my extra lard came in the form of luscious fat from a pig’s jowl (double mmmm).

Pork Jowl

Pork Jowl: A lil’ bit of lean, and a whole lot of fat

Some of you may remember that when I made Sisig some months back, I trimmed a whole lot of fat from a pork jowl and threw that reserved fat into the freezer for a later use. Well, that later use was for Longanisa. Lucky for me, sausage makers happen to prize jowl fat over backfat because jowl fat is creamier (triple mmmm).

And finally, after grinding the meat, fat, and other ingredients through the large die of a meat grinder, mix all the ingredients by hand rather than using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer. I went the stand mixer route on HL1, but as I learned from a comment Josh left on my previous longanisa post, mixing the sausage by hand provides a better texture.

Longanisa3

Gobs of fat, it’s in there.

It took a couple years and some experimenting, but I think I’ve finally settled on a Longanisa recipe with which I’m very satisfied and happy. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t the end-all-be-all Longanisa recipe, but for me it’s mother-effing close.

Feel free to experiment with Filipino sausage yourself, using my current version as a starting point. Use different amounts of spices, use different Filipino vinegars, use Sukang Sili for a super-spicy sausage, throw some sugar in for a sweeter sausage. Whatever you do, don’t be intimidated, as sausage-making isn’t as difficult as it seems. And if you start to feel chest pains from all the fat you’ve been shoveling into your maw, just relax, have a beer, and eat another Longanisa–you only live once.

Homemade Longanisa v2.0

Makes 15-20 sausage links

(For a more in-depth read on sausage making, see my original post on Homemade Longanisa)

2.5 pounds boneless pork butt, cut into small cubes
½ pound pork jowl fat or backfat, cut into small cubes
2 Tablespoons good quality sea salt (about 0.90 oz.)
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
10 large cloves of garlic, finely diced
3/4 cup chilled Sukang Iloco, or other Filipino vinegar
Hog casings, soaked overnight in water and then rinsed well inside and out.

Combine the cubed pork, fat, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and garlic in a large bowl.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, grind the chilled pork mixture through the large die of a meat grinder. Add the chilled vinegar to the ground meat and mix with your hands until just combined.

Form a small patty from the sausage mixture and fry the patty in a bit
of oil until cooked throughout.  Taste the cooked patty for seasoning.
Add additional seasoning to sausage mixture if needed.  Cover and return the sausage mixture to the
refrigerator and chill for one hour.

Fit the hog casings over a sausage stuffing tube then tie the loose end of the hog casing with kitchen twine. Stuff the casing with all of the meat mixture. Tie off the open ends
of the casing with more kitchen twine.  Using the width of your palm,
measure off individual links by pinching the sausage, twisting links,
and then tying the links with kitchen twine.

Store fresh sausage in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months, until ready to cook.

The Five Point Pork Exploding Heart Technique:

  • Efren June 9, 2009, 10:41 pm

    Damn! I’m going to have to try that now…since I don’t need as much hardware, I could definitely try this out. I wonder if I could sneak a jar of my dad’s super spicy vinegar with sili…

    Reply
  • flkdjflkjlj June 9, 2009, 10:53 pm

    When I first read your v1.0 recipe a while ago, I was surprised how little fat it contained. To Filipinos, that is. For me, one of the joys of longanisa was being able to see the tiny cubes of fat before scarfing the sausage all down.

    Reply
  • Words and Nosh June 9, 2009, 11:15 pm

    oh damn! the dude’s been making home made sausage- we gotta add this to our list. good looking out!

    Reply
  • Manggy June 9, 2009, 11:29 pm

    Hey, it’s the final hit of the five-point exploding heart technique! (RIP David Carradine.) I think I’m *just* beginning to get the dozens of regional differences in Longanisa and what belongs where. My mom is a fan of the northern type (after all, she is half from there), but I’m not so much, until it’s right in front of me and I find myself eating too much. The fat gives it a lot of lovely flavor, but I still pry it out of the cooked product 😛

    Reply
  • Katrina June 10, 2009, 7:11 am

    On the spelling: I’m pretty sure it’s “longganisa.” Generally speaking, in Tagalog, if the sound of the “ng” is followed by the hard “g,” then it’s spelled with a double “g.” Other examples are “tanggalin” (remove) and “bongga” (fabulous). Yes, I’m anal about spelling. 😉

    Reply
  • Jikuu June 10, 2009, 9:43 am

    My heart is seizing up just looking at this. Good job!

    Reply
  • Vic June 10, 2009, 10:02 am

    Dude, did you just drop a Barry Horowitz reference? On a food blog no less! You deserve a pat on the back just for that! Just one of the reasons I love reading you.

    Reply
  • Franz Legaspi June 10, 2009, 1:16 pm

    Totally agree w/ what Vic just said. Didn’t think it would be possible to love this blog even more but after that Barry Horowitz reference, i truly do! You are the man!!!

    Reply
  • Burnt Lumpia June 10, 2009, 4:27 pm

    Hi Efren. You still do need a meat grinder and sausage stuffer, just mix everything by hand. And I’m sure your dad’s sukang sili would be killer w/ longanisa.
    Thanks flkdjflkjlj. I’m the first to admit that v1 was not fatty enough, although it was still very flavorful.
    Hi Words&Nosh, definitely add longanisa to the list!
    Hey manggy. I by no means know anything about any of the other regional sausages, I just know the Ilocano style and I’m happy with it!
    Alas, katrina. Spelling is another one of the reasons I’m an “inexperienced hack”! Thanks for the clarification, as I need to learn these types of details.
    Thanks jikuu!
    Vic and Franz, I’m completely surprised that there is more than one person that got that reference–now I feel all tingly inside. Thanks for reading.

    Reply
  • ladygoat June 10, 2009, 7:53 pm

    YUM! I’m totally inspired to try it myself now.
    I’ve never added fat back into a pork dish, but for longuanisa … it sounds completely right.

    Reply
  • Leela@SheSimmers June 10, 2009, 8:51 pm

    First time on your blog and already very impressed. *Love* how great these sausages look. Some serious exploration of archived posts is in order, I think.

    Reply
  • ahnjel June 10, 2009, 10:55 pm

    omg! i am hating you right now for making me want to make my own longanisa now…
    <--- is lazy and come on! what does not taste better when added more fat? btw, my hubby sadly does not make cocktails as often as he used to when i was his guinea pig since he now serves as a naval officer.

    Reply
  • oggi June 11, 2009, 9:48 am

    What? Less than 50% fat?:D
    Where do you get pork jowls? I’d like to make it into guanciale (and longanisa) if I can find it here in VA.
    Okay, I have to go eat now…this post is making me drool.:)

    Reply
  • [eatingclub] vancouver || js June 11, 2009, 3:12 pm

    I’ve only made the skinless version of longganisa, and sadly, I haven’t even tried different regional longganisa back then. That’s something that needs to be remedied.
    Dang right: vinegar is where it’s at! Salivating already. . .

    Reply
  • Jude June 11, 2009, 4:26 pm

    Yay for Ilokanos! We may be stingy but we sure can make a mean longganisa :)

    Reply
  • Pat June 12, 2009, 8:24 am

    i tell ya, fat=flavah!

    Reply
  • _ts of [eatingclub] vancouver June 12, 2009, 3:39 pm

    We’ve only ever made/eaten skinless longganisa at home — which seems to be quite different from yours! Ours has brown sugar in the mix.

    Reply
  • dhanggit June 13, 2009, 5:01 am

    OMG Marvin, this is so mouthwatering!!! I love longanisa and too bad I have never tried making one myself. Thanks for the recipe, I’ll definitely try this :-)

    Reply
  • Beth June 14, 2009, 10:57 am

    Yum! My golly that would be awesome on the barbie!

    Reply
  • Dione June 16, 2009, 10:12 am

    Yeah! Part II! Awesome!
    And, thanks for making this GLUTEN-FREE as well, for those of use with gluten intolerance! :)

    Reply
  • fusion June 16, 2009, 12:51 pm

    hi, I don’t mean to sound offensive and hope you’ll publish my comment.
    I do not think that Phillipino/Pinoy food is the greatest in the world as you so claim. I find it cultural-centric to assume so.
    I think that we can all benefit from trying out all different sorts of cuisine but ultimately what dictates our tastebuds has a lot to do with our upbringing. Although exposure to other foods (hence cultures is more desirable).
    I just want you to admit there are lots of similarities to other South-East Asian cuisines and even some European influences. I think your claims of pinoy food being the be all and end all best food in the world is a far cry from the truth. All food should be celebrated but I do not agree that one culture and cuisine is necessarily superior to or better than another. It is different as humans are all different from one another.

    Reply
  • Soma Watson June 16, 2009, 1:43 pm

    Oooohhh…being a sausage fan, I am more than willing to try this out. But maybe it would be better if we cut down on the pork fat used. Could it possibly affect the taste?

    Reply
  • Burnt Lumpia June 16, 2009, 3:30 pm

    Hey there ladygoat. Fatback is actually added to a lot of other sausages, not just Filipino sausage, so it’s completely fine to add some extra fatback;)
    Thanks very much Leela! I hope you enjoy the archives.
    Hi ahnjel. Don’t hate me too much;) And I’m sure your husband is still a keeper even though he isn’t making cocktails as often!
    Hi oggi. I got my pork jowls online from http://cawcawcreek.com/. All natural pork! Also, I made my own guanciale this past January when the weather was cooler, I’ll post about that next I think… it’s so worth it to cure your own meat!
    Hi js. You could make my version skinless too, just leave the hog casings out;)
    True dat, Jude!
    Thanks Pat!
    Hi ts. I’ve had some sweeter longanisa as well, but I prefer the more savory versions.
    Do try it, dhanggit. Making sausage is relatively easy.
    I love grilled longanisa, Beth!
    No prob, Dione. Though I have completely zero knowledge of gluten-free cooking, I’m glad that this qualifies… if you say so.
    ***
    Hello Fusion. I completely appreciate your feedback. However, I don’t think I’ve ever claimed once during the existence of this blog that Pinoy food is the greatest in the world. I may have said things like “such and such a thing is the most bestest thing I’ve ever tasted times infinity” or “Item X is the awesomest ish evaaaaahhhhh!” but I make such claims with my tongue burrowing a hole through my cheek and poking a hole in my face. And yes, it would be cultural-centric to favor one cuisine over the other… but this is a FILIPINO FOOD BLOG. Of course it’s cultural centric!
    I have no problems admitting that there are similarities to other SE Asian cuisines. I think I’ve even pointed out these similarities in some of my blog posts, and I know for a fact that I’ve pointed out the Spanish influences many many many many times before.
    Lastly, I have never claimed that Pinoy food is “the be all and end all best food in the world” as you say I have. Never. Not once. I weigh 300 pounds because I eat all kinds of food from all kinds of cultures. My wife isn’t even Filipino, for chrissakes! Yes, all food should be celebrated. I AGREE WITH YOU! But this particular blog is about ME wanting to find out more about MY culture and MY cuisine, so that means I write about Filipino food to the best of my ability. I do appreciate your feedback, fusion, and I agree with many of your points. But please, read my blog posts before you accuse me claiming things I’ve never claimed before.
    ***
    Oh, hello Soma. Thanks for stopping by. Cutting down on the fat would be OK, but not recommended. The flavor would still be there, but the sausage would be less juicy.

    Reply
  • The Phil Guild Guide June 17, 2009, 1:44 pm

    Ever since I started hitting 30, I’ve always had spasms of being finicky about the food I eat. I love your site. It looks as delicious as your concoctions.

    Reply
  • mike June 18, 2009, 9:01 pm

    Nice, this post inspired me and i did batch the other day using my own recipe.
    I made a patty instead and slipped it in between toast and a slice of tomato. Ayos man!

    Reply
  • Kristina June 22, 2009, 1:49 pm

    hey! i love your site! your ube cupcakes were awesome! i just wanted to say, that instead of soaking the casings in water you should use the vinegar. it adds a little more ‘tang’ to the longanisa. thanks for your great recipes!

    Reply
  • Lori Lynn @ Taste With The Eyes June 22, 2009, 9:18 pm

    Ha! Marvin, I have savored your past PPP’s and this one is no different! I have got to find pigs jowl, I know it is close by but my favorite butcher and Italian market do not have it…I am on a hunting expedition here in SoCal!
    LL

    Reply
  • [eatingclub] vancouver || js June 22, 2009, 10:32 pm

    I picked up some Sukang Iloco. . .now, it’s time for a hogwild longganisa ride. . .

    Reply
  • Fine Life Folk June 23, 2009, 7:31 am

    Terrific blog. I blogrolled you in my new site: finelifeonabudget.weebly.com.

    Reply
  • rita June 24, 2009, 5:32 am

    that longanisa looks good! but, back in the States, on a few occasions when i would eat that – i have a bad habit of picking out the fats. oi… i’ll have to wait until november to visit the philippines and try some of the goodies you’ve been posting.

    Reply
  • bRyAn June 26, 2009, 11:21 am

    THe secret to Ilocano Longanisa is the vinegar and the overflowing garlic and instead of ground pork you actually have to grind it yourself; chunky-like ground porklike. and what most fail to do is..With the original Ilocano Longanisa, after filling it in the casing you have to AIR DRY IT OUT IN THE SUN.that’s the secret most people will never tell you.

    Reply
  • erine layog July 3, 2009, 1:45 am

    the casings work best when its dried… try it..
    also adding loads of bawang tagalog will make it terrific… heheheheh… just suggesting…

    Reply
  • Burnt Lumpia July 6, 2009, 2:10 pm

    I was the same once I hit 30, Phil Guild. But I still find ways to stuff my face with pork fat.
    I like your longanisa sandwich idea, Mike!
    I’m glad you like the cupcakes, kristina! And great tip about soaking the casings in vinegar.
    Thanks LL. I ordered my jowls online, but I’d be interested to see if you can find any in SoCal.
    Godspeed on your ride, js!
    Thanks fine life folk.
    The fat is the best part rita!
    Hi Bryan. My dad actually used to air dry his longanisa, but I skip that step simply because I’m lazy.
    Thanks for the suggestion, erine! Not sure I could find tagalog garlic where I am though.

    Reply
  • greasemonkey July 19, 2009, 7:48 am

    hehehe, what’s ‘fusion’ smoking? then again, anyone who would call him/herself ‘fusion’ is probably just about as pretentious and disappointingly made up as the tasteless term itself… ;P
    if you’d like to try another type of longganisa, the one they make in lucban, quezon has copious amounts of garlic and oregano (real oregano, not the stuff in ziplocs eheheh). don’t have a recipe for you though, sorry. there’s also longganisa hamonado, a sweeter version meant to be the poor sod’s ham (that’s any generic poor sod, not just ‘fusion’). again, no idea how to make it but i do make a tasty hamonado..

    Reply
  • missgiftsphilippines July 29, 2009, 2:37 pm

    i like the one from vigan. :)

    Reply
  • Diane August 11, 2009, 7:14 pm

    I recently made northern Thai sausage from scratch – and MAN was it fun. I’m going to add your recipe to my “must do” file…

    Reply
  • Anonymous September 12, 2009, 5:50 pm

    And if you start to feel chest pains from all the fat you’ve been shoveling into your maw, just relax, have a beer, and eat another Longanisa–you only live once.
    LMAO!!!

    Reply
  • Anonymous September 12, 2009, 5:57 pm

    actually here in Ilocos you just see the longganisa hanging on stalls. they sell for P120 for about 10 pieces. easy as pie. and the next best secret that makes longga so tasty is the side dish of crushed (not sliced) local tomatoes (those small fat orangey red kind you can find only here in Ilocos) with salt, a splash of water and a little oil. LOL
    funny but that’s how we always ate it here. 😉

    Reply
  • vancityfood February 24, 2010, 1:00 am

    omg, just had these in ilocos recently, and it is by far the best filipino food i’ve had…im going to pack some ilocano vinegar back to vancouver and have me a sausage-fest! lol

    Reply
  • Kathryn March 16, 2010, 7:43 pm

    Hi, i am currently selling authentic ilocos longanisa from Cagayan province. For more information, feel free to visit my site: http://kitchenbq.com/category/ilocos-longganisa-for-sale/

    Reply
  • mariss June 13, 2010, 12:20 am

    I just found out you updated your longganisa adventures! This is BRILLIANT! Thank you!

    Reply
  • Ultimate Gynemax June 18, 2010, 8:30 am

    Love the sausage… – I’ve bookmarked your site. -Jacob

    Reply
  • graeme September 1, 2010, 12:19 pm

    wow, great site. i love phils foods.graeme from uk/mindoro/pampanga

    Reply
  • Edgar Galendez October 15, 2010, 5:22 am

    where i can buy saltpeter? what is the substitution for saltpeter? what is praque powder?

    Reply
  • Anong August 1, 2011, 4:31 pm

    Trying your recipe without the chili bit. We’ll see how it goes. I’m actually trying to recreate my hometown empanada which requires the longganisa.

    Reply
  • Abby December 30, 2011, 11:12 am

    How much sugar should I add for that balance of sweet and spicy? This is my first time making this. I have fond memories of sharing this task with my mom when I was a child. I cannot wait to pump our my sausage! :)

    Reply
  • Elizabeth @Mango_Queen October 29, 2012, 7:34 am

    I came back to re-read your recipe because I have several pounds of pork belly waiting in my freezer. I just got so hungry reading the whole post. I wish I had Sukang Ilocos right now and some Ilocano salt. Must make a note to get hold of some next time. Thanks for sharing this amazing longaniza recipe, Marvin!

    Reply
  • george boyd December 13, 2015, 3:09 pm

    great read will have to try and make this one , i’m making different sausages useing deer meat. big fan of Filipino foods will add lots of pork fat.

    Reply

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