The Smoky Story of Frank’s Smoked Sausages

The Smoky Story of Frank’s Smoked Sausages

Sheryn Cook

To say Frank’s Sausages had humble beginnings is a bit of an understatement. When we look at how far we have come in 8 years, it is quite remarkable. Especially considering we started with a hobby and a dream, then a laundry creation space and a vacuum packer that only let us seal one package of sausages at a time. But throughout the journey, our principles have always remained the same. Great sausages with no additives and amazing flavour.

Let us tell you our smoky smoked sausage story…

The Humble Beginning of Frank’s Smoked Sausages

Frank has always loved to experiment with flavours and recipes. That love was how Frank’s Sausages began. We were living in Ashurst and were really excited to be given two pigs, Hokey and Pokey from our old neighbour which we raised. But after weeks of pork chops, pork loin, pork this and pork that, we had grown a little bored. So Frank invested in a mincer to try his hand at making sausages.

The first choice was German Bratwurst as a nod to Frank’s German heritage. After finding a recipe on the internet, Frank tweaked it and tweaked it until it was perfect. The results were delicious!

Frank at home in his converted laundry - the humble beginnings of Frank's SausagesAfter relocating to Matamata for Sheryn’s job, Frank started to get serious about his sausage making. So serious that the washing machine got relegated to a cupboard and he converted the laundry into a commercial kitchen. It was an amazing space, but really only big enough for one person. Because Frank made everything by hand (including chopping the apples for the Pork, Apple and Cranberry blend) and our vacuum sealer only allowed us to package one packet at a time, sausage making quickly became a full time job for Frank.

The Smoky Essence Of Smoked Sausages

While the sausages were delicious, Frank felt there was something missing. He began toying with the idea of using traditional smoking methods to not only preserve his sausages, but also to add an amazing depth of flavour. This was another nod to his roots as these methods have been used for hundreds of years in Europe.

So he grabbed his tools and built himself a smoker in the back garden. He initially built it to play around with the techniques and experiment. Who would have thought that the little smoke shack he built would be a key part in the flavour profile of our sausages forevermore!

Frank's Sausages humble beginnings with smoker in backyardWord began to spread about Frank’s Sausages and the demand grew. That meant that we soon outgrew the laundry and new premises were needed.

So, in 2010 we moved to the Swiss Sausage Factory premises in Te Aroha and took over the business. Initially the experimentation was with cold smoking and air drying meats.

These techniques were obviously not used for the fresh sausages, but they would become the precursor to the artisan goods that we would soon begin to produce.

Onwards And Upwards

In the move, we inherited some of the products that they had been producing. These products were created with a hot smoking process that used manuka. We loved the flavour so much that we wanted to incorporate the process into our frankfurters and pork chipolatas. So Frank got to work tweaking and refining a flavour and quality that we were really happy with, and that our customers loved.

This new technology and experimentation also meant that we were able to produce artisan air dried goods like salamis and other delicious products. Our customers loved our artisan creations as much as our fresh sausages, which was an exciting development for us.

Onwards And Upwards… Again

Again we found ourselves outgrowing our premises as a result of the high demand for our products. With the need to produce an increased volume of stock, we knew we needed to expand. So we have now moved to an amazing purpose built facility in Paeroa.

Frank's Sausages lifting the new smokehouse by crane into our new Paeroa premiseAs part of our expansion, we have brought in an enormous German-built professional smokehouse. It was so monstrous in size that we had to lift it into the building with a crane! Not only is the smokehouse gigantic, but it is also high tech. It uses a push system where the raw product is inserted at one end, then pushed through to emerge at the other end smoked and/or precooked.

Frank has always loved the technicality of the smoking process. He loves to play around with the elements - the time in the smoker and the temperature used to get a perfect balance between smokey flavour and great taste.

What The Smoky Future Holds

We currently have the production of our air-dried goods on hold as we complete the certification process for each of the different products. Once this process is complete, we will be full smoke ahead on producing these artisan items again. We are really passionate about these products and Frank is champing at the bit to put the smokehouse through its paces with them!

Smoked sausages have really become an integral part of our flavour profile at Frank’s Sausages. It was actually one of the driving factors for moving to both new premises - being able to produce our own natural, authentic sausage products in the European style, without the need for artificial flavours, fillers or liquid smoke additives.

We currently smoke our frankfurters and our pork chipolatas. Then we have our chicken chipolatas and chicken and tarragon sausages which are precooked with steam in the smokehouse. This process is carried out for flavour and preservation so that we don’t need to use added preservatives.

Sausage making is our passion. We love the fact that we can create delicious sausages with traditional methods and that we are actually creating good food. If you would like to try them for yourself, you can head on over to our shop now!