of Sausages | Fresh Sausages
| Cooked and/ or Smoked
Sausages | Meat Specialties
| Dry and Semi-Dry Sausages
| Dry sausages include: Safety precautions
Summer sausage, kielbasa,
bologna, bratwurst: The list goes on and on. There are so
many varieties of sausage. How long can you store
them -- and where? Are they fully cooked or not? The
following background information will answer these
questions and others.
Sausages are either ready
to eat or not. They can be made from red meat, poultry or
a combination. Uncooked sausages include fresh (bulk,
patties or links) and smoked sausages. Uncooked smoked
sausages containing pork
must be treated for trichinae.
Ready-to-eat sausages are
dry, semi-dry and/or cooked. Dry sausages may be smoked,
unsmoked or cooked. Semi-dry sausages are usually heated
in the smokehouse to fully cook the product and partially
Let the label be your
guide to sausage selection and handling. It will tell you
if the product must be kept refrigerated, the nutrient
content and the ingredients. All ingredients in the
product must be listed by weight in descending order in
the ingredient statement.
In the United States,
safe handling instructions are mandatory for all raw or
partially cooked meat and poultry products.
Fresh sausages are a
coarse or finely comminuted meat food product prepared
from one or more kinds of meat, or meat and meat
byproducts. They may contain water not exceeding 3% of the
total ingredients in the product. They are usually
seasoned, frequently cured, and may contain binders and
extenders. They must be kept refrigerated and thoroughly
cooked before eating.
- Fresh Pork Sausages -
May not contain pork byproducts and no more than 50%
fat by weight.
- Fresh Beef
Sausages - May not include beef byproducts and no more
than 30% fat by weight.
- Breakfast Sausages -
May contain meat and meat byproducts and no more than
50% fat by weight.
- Whole Hog Sausage -
Meat from swine in such proportions as are normal to a
single animal and no more than 50% fat by weight.
- Italian Sausage
Products - Cured or uncured sausages containing at
least 85% meat, or a combination of meat and fat, with
the total fat content constituting not more than 35%
of the finished product. It contains salt,
fennel and/or anise and no more than 3% water.
Optional ingredients permitted in Italian Sausages are
spices (including paprika)
and flavorings, red or green peppers, onions,
and parsley, sugar,
dextrose and corn syrup.
These products are made
of one or more different kinds of chopped or ground meats
which have been seasoned, cooked and/or smoked. Water can
be no more than 10% by weight. Meat byproducts may be
used. Included in this category are:
- hot dogs
- blood sausage
- jellied beef loaf
Cooked Salami (not dry)
is made from fresh meats which are cured, stuffed into
casings and cooked in a smokehouse at high temperature. It
may be air dried for a short time. It has a softer texture
than dry and semi-dry sausages and must be refrigerated.
A ready-to-eat sausage
product. It is made from comminuted meats that are
seasoned and usually cooked or baked rather than smoked.
They are usually sliced and served cold. Included in this
- chopped ham loaf
- luncheon meat
- peppered loaf
- head cheese
- jellied corned beef
- ham and cheese loaf
- honey loaf
- old fashioned loaf
- olive loaf
- pickle and pimento
- veal loaf.
Dry sausages may or may
not be characterized by a bacterial fermentation. When
fermented, the intentional encouragement of a lactic acid
bacteria growth is useful as a meat preservative as well
as producing the typical tangy flavor. The ingredients are
mixed with spices and curing materials, stuffed into
casings, and put through a carefully controlled, long,
continuous air-drying process.
Dry sausages require more
production time than other types of sausages and results
in a concentrated form of meat. Medium-dry sausage is
about 70% of its "green" weight when sold. Green
weight is the weight of the raw article before addition of
added substances or before cooking. Less-dry and
fully-dried sausages range from 80% to 60% of original
weight at completion.
- chorizo (Spanish,
smoked, highly spiced)
- Frizzes (similar to
pepperoni but not smoked)
- pepperoni (not cooked,
- Lola or Lolita and
Lyons sausage (mildly seasoned pork with garlic)
- Genoa Salami (Italian,
usually made from pork but may have a small amount of beef;
it is moistened with wine or grape juice and seasoned
Semi-dry sausages are
usually heated in the smokehouse to fully cook the product
and partially dry it. Semi-dry sausages are semi-soft
sausages with good keeping qualities due to their lactic
acid fermentation. "Summer Sausage" (another
word for cervelat) is the general classification for
mildly seasoned, smoked, semi-dry sausages like Mortadella
and Lebanon bologna.
Because dry sausages are
not cooked, people "at risk" (the elderly, very
young children, pregnant women and those with weakened
immune systems) might want to avoid eating them. The
bacterium E. coli O157:H7 can survive the process of dry
fermenting, and recently some children became ill after
eating dry cured salami containing the bacteria.