Mititei- Romanian Grilled Sausages are made with ground beef, garlic and other spices. They are served with mustard, bread, and cold beer.
When in the mood for partying and the weather is fine, Romanians go out for picnics. One of their favorite food out there is “Mititei“.
Mititei are small skinless sausages made with ground beef, lamb or pork meat, garlic and other spices. The sausages are grilled on charcoal hot grill and served with mustard, fresh bread, French fries and cold beer. It is a meat dish encountered only in Romanian cuisine.
This picture was taken at a summer festival in Bucharest, Romania.
The Mititei are a delicious summer delight. As Americans get together for hamburgers and hot dogs, Romanians get together for Mititei and grilled meats. We gather together with family and friends, and enjoy the meats with salads, good wine and cold beers. And we make lots of “Mititei” because they are so good that you cannot eat just a few. They have to be crunchy on the outside, but juicy, soft and slightly pink on the inside.
Few years ago, when we visited Maramures, a beautiful region in the north of Romania, we had this:
The grill was made in a round shape and looked like a hat. Bacon was cooked first on the edges of the grill and potatoes fried in the rendered fat released in the middle. The “mititei” were added to the grill and cooked. I cannot even describe you the taste of the fried potatoes and the grilled meats cooked like this. Juicy and delicious! Add a summer tomato salad to all this and you will have the best meal you ever had!
How to make the Mititei- Romanian Grilled Sausages Recipe:
Meat: The best taste for these little sausages is acquired when the meat is prepared with a night before, so the ingredients have time to get friendly together. The meat mixture has a lot of spices and a little bit of baking soda. The baking soda makes them fluffier and easier to digest.
Traditionally, the meat is a mixture of beef, lamb. Pork is accepted instead of lamb for the ones who don’t like the taste. It has to contain some fat, so for that matter, beef suet is added to the ground meat. If you cannot find that, then buy a pork cut that has more fat in it. The final product will be juicy and delicious. No fat, and the sausages will be dry and boring.
Condiments: The recipe was brought hundreds of years ago from the Turks. Most countries in the Balkans have a recipe of Mititei. However, each country adapted the recipe according to the spices available and the taste they enjoyed.
The rule, in general, when you make sausages, is to use fresh grounded condiments, as they have a more intense flavor than the ones sitting on the back of your pantry cabinet. Thyme, black pepper, allspice, anise, coriander spices are the traditional ones used for the Romanian Mititei.
The garlic is crushed and spread through the mixture. I gave you the amount of garlic for the meat, but you can adjust it, according to your own taste. Some people like it more garlicky, some people don’t.
You will also need a concentrated beef broth or plain water. Make sure is very cold. The idea is to add enough liquid to the meat to obtain a soft mixture. The mixture has to be mixed really well. For that matter, if you have a stand mixer, you can use it. Otherwise, use your clean hands to mix and even knead the mixture really well.
When you are done mixing, cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator over night. The ingredients will have time to get friendly with each other and transform the sausages into a symphony in your mouth.
What size to make the Mititei and how to cook them:
The next day, using your wet hands, form cylinders of about 2-3 inches long and 1 inch thick. Approximately. Try to make them the same size. They will cook even.
Traditionally, the sausages are grilled on a wood and charcoal grill. The grill should not be very hot(the sausages will burn on the surface and stay raw in the middle). If the heat is too low, the sausages will dry out. Do not flip them unless they come off easy from the grill. If you mess with them, they will break. The time is approximate 8 minutes, but each grill is different.
Serve them with mustard, fresh buns or French Fries. A beer is always a perfect addition to them.
Enjoy and happy grilling!
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- 2.2lb ground beef(1kg)
- 1lb ground pork or lamb
- ½ lb beef suet
- 1 garlic head minced
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground anise
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
- 1½ cups beef broth or plain water
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Dissolve baking soda in the beef broth or the plain water. Set aside.
- Use a garlic press to crush the garlic cloves.
- In a large bowl place the meat with all of the ingredients, including the garlic and mix throughly. (If you have a stand mixer, this would work too. )
- Add the broth in stages, mixing well after each addition.(The meat mixture needs to get to a smooth consistency, like a paste, but not too loose.) You might not need to use all the broth/water.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight for the meat to absorb the flavors.
- The next day, line a tray with foil and set aside.
- Take the meat out of the refrigerator and with wet hands, form the “Mititei” in a cylinder shape 2-3 inches long and 1 inch thick.
- Place them on the tray. Continue until you finish all the meat.
- Grill them on high heat, preferably on coal, not gas. Flip them to cook on both sides and cook them to your desired doneness.(around 8 minutes)
- They are very good when done with just a little pink inside and very juicy.
- Serve with mustard, fresh bread or French fries next to a cold beer.
- Notes: The “Mititei” meat is supposed to contain a pretty good amount of fat. The original recipes use beef suet, fat pork meat(usually shoulder) or lamb. You can use only beef, but you will need to add oil to the mixture, to replace the fat. If you do not use fat, the Mititei will be dry.
- The baking soda is mandatory, so do not omit.