Sausage Recipes

Variety of meats and sausages

Variety of meats and sausages.

A sausage recipe is just the first step for making quality sausage. The manufacturing process consists of certain rules which must be strictly followed, otherwise the best recipe and most expensive spices will not produce a good sausage. Changing parameters of the manufacturing process will produce a different type of the sausage even if the sausage recipe remains basically the same.
Keep in mind that different types of sausages originate from the same region or a city and may carry the same name, but are made using a different manufacturing process. Moscow sausage does not mean much unless it is followed by its type: Moscow Smoked Sausage, Moscow Dry Sausage, Moscow Blood Sausage etc. It is impossible to define a sausage by saying it is Polish, German or Russian sausage unless the name is followed by the sausage type or the place of its origin. Saying "kielbasa" means that a sausage recipe originated in Poland, but there are over a hundred Polish sausages and they all can be called "kielbasa" so which one we are talking about? However, Kielbasa Krakowska signifies that the sausage was made in the city of Krakow and Kielbasa Jalowcowa implies that the sausage recipe includes juniper. And this is how most countries describe their sausages.
There isn't one standardized recipe for any of the sausages. The best meat science books, written by the foremost experts, list different ingredients for the same sausage, but don't tell you how to make a great product. Once, you know the basic rules, you will transform any sausage recipe into a wonderful product. The most important rules for making quality sausages are listed below with enclosed links to more information on the subject.

Meat selection. Good quality meats make good sausages, that simple. However, before being processed, the meat must be cold, especially fat which should be partially frozen, otherwise the cuts will not be clean.
Curing meat for sausages. This step separates great smoked meats and sausages from low-quality mass-produced supermarket variety which are produced too fast in order to develop the curing flavor which creates a superior smoked ham or sausage.
Grinding. Manual knives and grinder knives must be sharp to produce clean cuts, however, if meat and fat is not cold, the cuts will be smeared.
Mixing. Mix (forcefully knead) meat well with salt, sodium nitrite (cure #1) adding a little water (water is not added to fermented/dry sausages). This allows meat particles to produce exudate (release proteins which are soluble in water and salt solution). Meat becomes sticky and can be easily formed into balls.
Stuffing. Casings should be filled without any visible air pockets. If they occur, they should be pricked with a needle. Most sausage types are firmly stuffed except liver and blood sausages which might expand during cooking.
Conditioning. This, usually neglected process, is very important for smoked sausages. After filling, depending on the diameter of the casing and the speed of the stuffing process, the sausages should hang (rest) for 60-120 minutes. This dries the surface of the casing, allows spices to release more flavor and provides additional time for sodium nitrite (cure #1) to develop a strong red color as in most cases the meat is not properly cured.
Smoking. Not all sausages are smoked, besides, smoked products are more popular in some countries than others. There is a great confusion here about smoking temperatures, wood and smokehouses. To make it very simple-do not apply smoke when sausages are still moist and do not smoke at too high temperature.
Cooking. Sausages are cooked in water at 80° C (176° F) or lower, or baked (usually without smoke) in smokehouse what follows the smoking step.
Cooling. After cooking the sausages are cooled in cold water or air. They should cross the danger zone (60°C/140°F → 6°C/40°F) as fast as possible. Then they are consumed or refrigerated. Cooling also prevents shriveling of the sausage so it remains plump.
Storing. All uncooked meats or sausages should be treated as fresh meat. We can keep on hand an amount that will be consumed within a few days but the rest should be frozen. A ready to eat product (cooked) should not be stored for more than 7 days if held at 41° F, or 4 days at 45° F.
Note: fermented/dry sausages (salami type) are governed by much stricter rules.

Not ready to eat (Uncooked)

Fresh Sausage Recipes

fresh sausages

Fresh sausages.

Fresh sausages are not-ready-to-eat sausages which are the easiest to make. The manufacturing process ends with stuffing spiced meat or meat with other materials into a casing. They are either consumed within hours or kept for a few days in refrigerator. For longer storage they must be frozen. Before serving they must be fully cooked. If a freshly stuffed sausage is fully cooked it becomes cooked sausage.

Ready to Eat (Cooked or Fermented) Sausage Recipes

cooked sausages

Cooked sausages.

Cooked sausages are ready-to-eat sausages regardless of whether they are heated or consumed cold. This huge group of sausages can be further subdivided by the method of cooking: smoked sausages baked in a smokehouse or cooked in water, unsmoked sausages cooked in water, emulsified sausages like hot dogs or bologna and even special sausages such as head cheeses, liver and blood sausages. They are fully cooked and will last longer than a fresh sausage, however, they still need to be refrigerated or frozen.

Cooked

Regular

Liver Sausage Recipes

liver sausages

Liver sausages.

Liver sausages contain a large proportion of liver, usually about 30%. The quality and color of the sausage is largely determined by choosing the liver. The way the liver, fat and meats are processed will have the biggest impact on the quality of the sausage. A careful selection of spices will give the sausage its final character. Best liver sausages are made from livers of young animals. Liver must not be cooked as it will lose its emulsifying properties. Occasionally, liver is cooked briefly (blanched) hot water for up to 5 min to remove any leftover blood, however soaking liver in water will accomplish the same.

Blood Sausage Recipes

blood sausage

Blood sausage.

Blood sausages were originally made from inexpensive raw materials such as pork head meat, jowls, tongues, groins, skins, pork or veal lungs, pork liver, beef and lamb liver, pork snouts, beef and liver lips, udders, beef and lamb tripe, veal casings, pork stomachs, pork heart, boiled bone meat and of course blood. This way every part of the animal was utilized and a highly nutritional product was made. In times of war and other hard times when meat was scarce, fillers were added to increase the volume of the sausage. The majority of blood sausage recipes contain chopped onion and filler material such as oatmeal, barley, bread crumbs, rice, cornmeal, buckwheat groats, semolina, flour etc. The addition of filler material makes a sausage very economical. Filler material such as rice, barley or buckwheat groats must be pre-cooked. Blood sausages like highly aromatic spices such as pepper, thyme, marjoram, caraway, pimento, cloves, nutmeg, allspice and coriander. Often apples, pine nuts, chestnuts, raisins and cream are added.

Head Cheese Recipes

Head cheese

Head cheese.

Head cheese, brawn, or souse are not cheeses, but rather jellied loaves or sausages that may or may not be stuffed into the large diameter casing. In English, the name head cheese doesn’t sound appealing which prevents many people from trying the product. In other languages it is called in a friendlier manner, without the word “head” being part of the name. When vinegar is added, it is called “souse” and this already sounds much better. The manufacturing process for meat jelly and head cheese is very similar the difference is packing the product; the head cheese is stuffed into a large diameter casing and meat jelly is poured into a bowl. Meat jelly contains more of meat stock. Head cheeses can be easily found in places that cater to Central Europeans, Eastern Europeans, Italians or people of Spanish origin.

Fermented and Dry Sausage Recipes

Fermented sausages - salami

Fermented sausages - salami.

Fermented and dry sausages are more difficult to make and require better understanding of the sausage making process. Many sausage recipes call for starter cultures, in addition parameters such as temperature, humidity and time must be carefully controlled. Traditionally made salami is the best example of a slightly fermented dry sausage. Summer sausage is a deeply fermented semi-dry sausage. Fermented sausages can be smoked or not, for example Italian or Spanish salami will not be smoked, but Hungarian, Polish or Russian will be.

Dry

Dry and cold smoked sausages are closely related to traditionally made salami.

Semi-Dry

Spreadable

Low Fat

Low fat sausage recipes make it possible to produce sausages with a much lower fat content. This is accomplished by replacing animal fats with oil emulsion, filler materials, adding more water or using fat replacers.

Extended Value

Value added sausages are nutritious, yet inexpensive sausages. These sausages are made with filler material such as rusk, bread crumbs, dry rolls, rice, flours, barley or buckwheat groats or textured vegetable protein. They are healthier sausages because they contain less fat and less calories. Natural gums such as potato starch, gelatin, carrageenan, xanthan gum and konjac flour are usually added to create a unified texture.

Fish Sausage Recipes

fish sausage

Fish sausage.

Fish sausages bring a new flavor which might satisfy those who claim that all fish taste the same. Another argument for making fish sausages is that fish sausages are much healthier as they contain less fat and cholesterol. Fish is a high-protein, low-fat food that provides the gamut of health benefits. White-fleshed fish, in particular, is lower in fat than any other source of animal meat, and oily fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, or the good fats. It is impossible to eliminate completely the “fishy” flavor, however, adding pork fat or semi-fat pork will improve the flavor. For people who object to eating pork on religious grounds, adding vegetable oil will do.

Vegetarian and Vegan Sausage Recipes

vegetarian sausage

Vegetarian sausage.

Vegetarian and vegan sausage recipes conform to similar processing rules that govern making of extended value sausages. Animal protein is replaced with beans, soy protein concentrate/isolate or textured vegetable protein (TVP). Because they do not contain meat obtaining a good texture may sometimes be difficult to achieve. For this reason, the recipes usually include natural gums, starch, flour or other binding agents.

Sausages by Country

Additional sausage recipes grouped by their country of origin.

Hams and Other Meats

Here are some additional recipes for hams and other meats.

Available from Amazon

Make Sausages Great Again

Make Sausages Great Again packs an incredible amount of sausage making knowledge into just 160 pages. Rules, tips, standards, sausage types, smoking methods, and many other topics are covered in detail. It also contains 65 popular recipes. Official standards and professional processing techniques are used to explain how to create custom new recipes, and produce any type of quality sausage at home.

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