Sausage Types

Sausages come in many shapes and different combinations of meat and spices. In some countries they are classified by the degree of comminution, ie. coarse grind or fine grind sausages which adds only to confusion. The following American system is very simple and practical:

sausage types

Not Ready to Eat Sausages

These are fresh sausages that are made normally from pork, but sometimes also, beef or veal. The meat is not cured, sausages must be refrigerated and fully cooked before serving. Polish White Sausage is a fresh sausage that is boiled before serving. Another example is German Bratwurst that is grilled. The South American version, Spanish chorizo, is a fresh sausage that is fried with eggs for breakfast.

Ready to Eat Sausages

This is the main group of sausages that covers almost every sausage. With the exception of fermented and air dried sausages, all sausages that belong to this group are cooked either in hot water or baked in a smokehouse or in the oven. Some sausages are hot smoked and cooked, others are not smoked, only cooked.

Special Sausages

This group of sausages covers the following products:

What makes them unique is that meats are cooked in water, then stuffed into a casing and cooked again. Their production is more time consuming as it requires additional cooking. Liver sausages may be an exception as the liver is added raw or only scalded. This secondary cooking is not performed for the safety of the product as the meats were already cooked. Take head cheese as an example: cold meats were stuffed into the casing and the gelatin started to solidify. If left to itself, there might be little binding between meat pieces and gelatin. The secondary heating of the sausage creates a proper bond between meat and gelatin.

These products are very popular in Europe and anywhere in the world except the USA where only liver sausages can be found in large supermarkets. To purchase head cheese or blood sausage one must shop in ethnic butcher shops be it German, Polish, Russian, Irish and others. These sausages were always made on the farm when the pig was slaughtered and any meat cuts that would not be used for making regular sausages were incorporated in their production. This fact probably induced many people not to believe that those materials were inferior but nothing could be further from the fact. First of all those cuts such as pork head meat, snouts, skin, hocks, jowls, tongues, back fat, liver, kidneys, etc., are used for making emulsified sausages like hotdogs and frankfurters. Secondly they are good meats and for example, some of them like pork head meat are very flavorsome.

A feasible explanation for the lower popularity of these sausages is that manufacturers see less profit in their manufacture as they require cooking meats, separating them from bones, filtering stock, stuffing them in casings and cooking them again. It involves a lot of labor and the product has to be sold at the price that would justify the investment. That may be harder to accomplish when selling head cheese that is made from organ meats or blood sausage that incorporates blood plus pieces of fat and bread crumbs. These above conclusions do not negate the fact that these are delicious products to eat.

General considerations for making special sausages:

The manufacturing process

Meats are rinsed/soaked in cold water to eliminate traces of blood.

Fermented Sausages

Fermented sausages can be classified as:

Smoked Sausages

All sausages can be smoked or not. What was once an important preservation step has become a matter of personal preference. If you like the smoky flavor, smoke the sausage, it’s that simple.

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