Fresh Sausages

Fresh sausages are embarrassingly simple to make and the procedure resembles preparing a meal. A fresh sausage is not cooked nor smoked and that explains the ease of its production. Everybody knows how to make a hamburger and if you stuff ground and spiced hamburger meat into a casing it becomes a sausage. Somehow this classical definition has been twisted in recent years and many ordinary meat dishes such as meat patties are also called sausages. The best example is McDonald’s® Sausage Mc Muffin which is a meat patty served on a bun.

Whether you chop meat with a knife or use a grinder is of lesser importance. The same applies to the stuffing process, you may use grinder with a stuffing tube, a self-contained piston grinder, or stuff the mixture with your fingers through a suitable funnel. Once the sausage is finished it goes into the refrigerator where it will remain a day or two. Then it will be fried, barbecued, boiled in water, steamed or whatever. Providing that fresh meat was selected and basic safety rules were obeyed, the sausage will turn out great. Of course it has to be fully cooked before consumption.

The taste of the sausage will depend on meats that were selected and spices which were added to the mix. If you want to make Italian sausage use fennel which is the dominant spice in the recipe. To create a medium hot or hot version of the sausage add more or less of red pepper or cayenne. Polish white sausage requires garlic and marjoram (optional), other sausages call for different dominant spice combinations. The best advice is to use spices that you like, after all you are the one that will eat the sausage.

The Internet is loaded with millions of recipes which were invented by creative cooks. You will find sausages with apples, arugula, pineapples, and other ingredients. Many large recipe oriented web sites must provide new content on a continuous basis to stay alive. They employ people with writing skills on a paid by article or recipe basis and those creative persons look everywhere to find an original or rather unusual recipe. In our opinion this has little in common with serious sausage making and rather fits into the general cooking category, which makes sense as many recipes are written by restaurant chefs who always think in terms of cooking a meal. A fresh sausage will end up on a breakfast plate with fries and ketchup or on a grill in the back yard.

Providing that fresh meat is obtained and the safety practices are implemented, there is little to worry about Salmonella, E.coli or Clostridium botulinum as high heat during cooking takes care of those pathogens. Store fresh sausages in a refrigerator for 2-3 days or up to 2-3 months in the freezer. They must be fully cooked before serving.

Fresh sausages contain much fat which is shown in the table that follows. The data comes from U.S. CFR 319. 140.

Name Max Fat in % Max Water in %
Fresh Pork 50 3
Fresh Beef 30 3
Breakfast 50 3
Italian 35 3

Manufacturing Process

Making of a fresh sausage follows the basic steps described in the making sausage

There is no need to cure meat, unless pink color in the finished product is desired. Although making fresh sausages is easier it is still a great introduction into the art of sausage making.

More on Fresh Sausages can be found in theCode of Federal Regulations, § 319.140:

Code of Federal Regulations
Title 9: Animals and Animal Products
PART 319 - DEFINITIONS AND STANDARDS OF IDENTITY OR COMPOSITION

Subpart E—Sausage Generally: Fresh Sausage
§ 319.140 Sausage.

Except as otherwise provided in this section, or under the Poultry Products Inspection Act with respect to products consisting partly of poultry, sausage is the coarse or finely comminuted meat food product prepared from one or more kinds of meat or meat and meat byproducts, containing various amounts of water as provided for elsewhere in this part, and usually seasoned with condimented proportions of condimental substances, and frequently cured. Certain sausage as provided for elsewhere in this part may contain binders and extenders as provided in a regulation permitting that use in this subchapter or in 9 CFR Chapter III, Subchapter E, or in 21 CFR Chapter I, Subchapter A or Subchapter B. In addition to the binders and extenders referred to in the preceding sentence, the following two substances may also be used as binders in those sausages in which the use of such class of substances is permitted: pork collagen at up to 3.5% of the product formulation and transglutaminase enzyme at up to 65 ppm of the product formulation. Sausage may not contain phosphates except that phosphates listed in a regulation permitting that use in this subchapter or in 9 CFR Chapter III, Subchapter E, or in 21 CFR Chapter I, Subchapter A or Subchapter B may be used in cooked sausage. To facilitate chopping or mixing or to dissolve the usual curing ingredients, water or ice may be used in the preparation of sausage which is not cooked in an amount not to exceed 3 percent of the total ingredients in the formula. Cooked sausages such as Polish sausage, cotto salami, braunschweiger, liver sausage, and similar cooked sausage products may contain no more than 10 percent of added water in the finished product. Sausage may contain Mechanically Separated (Species) used in accordance with §319.6.

§ 319.141 Fresh pork sausage.

“Fresh Pork Sausage” is sausage prepared with fresh pork or frozen pork or both, but not including pork byproducts, and may contain Mechanically Separated (Species) in accordance with §319.6, and may be seasoned with condimental substances as permitted under part 318 of this subchapter. The finished product shall not contain more than 50 percent fat. To facilitate chopping or mixing, water or ice may be used in an amount not to exceed 3 percent of the total ingredients used.

§ 319.142 Fresh beef sausage.

“Fresh Beef Sausage” is sausage prepared with fresh beef or frozen beef, or both, but not including beef byproducts, and may contain Mechanically Separated (Species) used in accordance with §319.6, and may be seasoned with condimental substances as permitted under part 318 of this subchapter. The finished product shall not contain more than 30 percent fat. To facilitate chopping or mixing, water or ice may be used in an amount not to exceed 3 percent of the total ingredients used.

§ 319.143 Breakfast sausage.

“Breakfast sausage” is sausage prepared with fresh and/or frozen meat; or fresh and/or frozen meat and meat byproducts, and may contain Mechanically Separated (Species) in accordance with §319.6, and may be seasoned with condimental substances as permitted in part 318 of this subchapter. The finished product shall not contain more than 50 percent fat. To facilitate chopping or mixing, water or ice may be used in an amount not to exceed 3 percent of the total ingredients used. Binders or extenders may be added as provided in §319.140 of this part.

§ 319.144 Whole hog sausage.

“Whole Hog Sausage” is sausage prepared with fresh and/or frozen meat from swine in such proportions as are normal to a single animal, and may include any Mechanically Separated (Species) produced from the animal and used in accordance with §319.6, and may be seasoned with condimental substances as permitted under part 318 of this subchapter. The finished product shall not contain more than 50 percent fat. To facilitate chopping or mixing, water or ice may be used in an amount not to exceed 3 percent of the total ingredients used.

§ 319.145 Italian sausage products.

(a) Italian sausage products are cured or uncured sausages containing at least 85 percent meat, or combination of meat and fat, with the total fat content constituting not more than 35 percent of the finished product. Such products shall be prepared in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (a) (1), (2) or (3) of this section, and shall contain salt, pepper, and either fennel or anise, or a combination of fennel and anise. Such products may contain any or all of the optional ingredients listed in paragraph (b) of this section.
(1) “Italian Sausage” shall be prepared with fresh or frozen pork, or pork and pork fat, and may contain Mechanically Separated (Species) in accordance with §319.6.
(2) “Italian Sausage with Beef,” “Italian Sausage with Veal,” or “Italian Sausage with Beef and Veal,” shall be prepared so that fresh or frozen pork constitutes the major portion of the meat content requirement of this paragraph. Mechanically Separated (Species) may be used in accordance with §319.6. When pork muscle tissue is combined with beef or veal, or both, in the preparation of bulk-packed products, or patties, it shall be treated for the destruction of possible live trichinae in accordance with §318.10 of this subchapter.
(3) “Italian Beef Sausage” or “Kosher Italian Beef Sausage” shall be prepared with fresh or frozen beef or beef and beef fat. “Italian Veal Sausage” or “Kosher Italian Veal Sausage” shall be prepared with fresh or frozen veal or veal and veal fat. Mechanically Separated (Species) may be used in accordance with §319.6.
(4) Italian sausage products made in conformance with the provisions of paragraphs (a) (1), (2), and (3) of this section, and with paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section, may contain sodium nitrite or potassium nitrite in amounts not to exceed those allowed in a regulation permitting that use in this subchapter or in 9 CFR Chapter III, Subchapter E, or in 21 CFR Chapter I, Subchapter A or Subchapter B, provided that such products are labeled with the word “cured” in the product name, such as “Cured Italian Sausage.” The word “cured” shall be displayed on the product label in the same size and style of lettering as other words in the product name.
(b) Optional ingredients permitted in Italian sausage products include:
(1) Spices (including paprika) and flavorings.
(2) Water or ice to facilitate chopping or mixing, but not to exceed 3 percent of the total weight of all ingredients including the water.
(3) Red or green peppers, or both.
(4) Dehydrated or fresh onions, garlic, and parsley.
(5) Sugar, dextrose, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, and glucose syrup.
(6) Monosodium glutamate and antioxidants in accordance with the chart of substances a regulation permitting that use in this subchapter or in 9 CFR Chapter III, Subchapter E, or in 21 CFR Chapter I, Subchapter A or Subchapter B.
(c) If Italian sausage products are cooked or smoked, determination of compliance with the provisions of paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section shall be based on the uncooked or unsmoked product. The product before cooking or smoking shall contain no more than 3 percent water as specified in paragraph (b)(2) of this section. Product which is cooked shall be labeled with the word “cooked” in the product name, such as “Cooked Italian Sausage” or “Cooked Cured Italian Sausage.” Product which is smoked shall be labeled with the word “smoked” in the product name, such as “Smoked Italian Sausage” or “Smoked Cured Italian Sausage.” The words “cooked” and “smoked” shall be displayed on the product label in the same size and style of lettering as other words in the product name.

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