All About Sausage

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Specific Types of Sausage | Cooking Sausage

Sausage
Sausage is a meat product generally consisting of pork, but also made of beef, veal, lamb, poultry, or a combination of several of these meats. Sausage meat is generally ground, mixed with other ingredients, such as rice, cereal, soybean flour, or dried milk solids, and seasoned with herbs and spices. The meat is preserved with additives and made into fresh sausage to be processed for bulk use in the form of patties or molded into a casing to be sold as sausage links, sticks, and rings. The casing can be a natural casing made of animal intestines or an artificial casing. The meat is then cured, air-dried, or precooked.

There are two basic types of sausages: uncooked and ready to eat. Uncooked sausages include fresh and smoked sausages. Ready to eat sausages include cooked, semi-dry, and dry sausages. The following descriptions further explain some of the sausages that are available.

Uncooked Sausage
Ready to Eat Sausage
Uncooked fresh sausage: meat that has not been cured or smoked and must be cooked prior to serving, which is sold as bulk, patties, or links. Uncooked fresh sausages include fresh Bockwurst, Bratwurst, fresh Pork Sausage, Italian-style fresh Pork Sausage, Salsiccia, Weisswurst, and fresh Thuringer.

Uncooked smoked sausage: meat that has been cured or smoked, that requires cooking prior to serving. Country style smoked pork sausage, Linguica, Mettwurst, and Polish sausage are included in this category.

Cooked Sausage: meat that has not been cured or smoked, but has been precooked. Blood sausage, cooked Bockwurst, Braunschweiger, cooked Bratwurst, Liver sausage, and cooked Thuringer are included in this group of sausages.

Cooked smoked sausage: meat that has been cured, lightly smoked, and precooked. Bologna, Boterhamworst, Bratwurst, Frankfurters, Knackwurst, precooked varieties of Polish sausage, and Berliner or New England style sausage, Smokies, Vienna sausages, and Wieners are examples of this type of sausage.


Dry Sausage
Specialty Sausage

Dry sausage: meat that has been cured and air-dried, making it ready to serve either cold or warm. There are semi-dry and dry sausage categories. Semi-dry sausages are generally partially dried, but sufficiently heated to cook the sausage. Semi-dry sausages include Cervelat, Lebanon Bologna, Mortadella, and Vienna. Dry sausages can be smoked, unsmoked, or cooked, and include Chorizo, Frizzes, Lyons, Pepperoni, Salami, and Soppressata.

There are also specialty sausage meats available, which are meats that have been cooked and processed into sticks or loaves for slicing, such as Beef Loaf, Goetta, Headcheese, Pickle and Pimento Loaf, and Scrapple.

Types of Sausage

Abruzzese Sausage | Andouille Sausage | Bauerwurst Sausage | Blood Sausage
Blutwurst Sausage | Bockwurst Sausage | Boudin Blanc Sausage
Bratwurst Sausage | Chaurice Sausage | Chipolata Sausage
Chorizo Sausage | Cotechino Sausage | Kielbasa Sausage
Polish Sausage | Turkey Bratwurst | Turkey Sausage

Abruzzese Sausage

A dry Italian sausage made from choice cuts of fresh pork that are combined with natural seasonings and cured with smoke and chili pepper. This meat can be served as a topping on pizzas, as meat for main dishes, or as an appetizer.

Abruzzese Sausage

Andouille Sausage

A course-grained smoked meat made with pork, chitterlings, pepper, wine, onions, and seasonings. French in origin, but brought to Louisiana by German and French immigrants, this sausage is most often associated with Cajun cooking. It is produced in two main varieties: a mild sausage (French in origin) and a spicier, Cajun version (derived from French influence) that is used as an ingredient for various Cajun foods such as soups, stews and meat dishes. There are a number of versions produced that generally provide a spicy, smoky, rich, earthy flavor, which may also have a slightly sweet taste. Andouille, which has a noticeable flavor of herbs and garlic, is used as an ingredient in meat dishes, as an appetizer, and is especially well suited for jambalaya or gumbo. Tasso, also known as Cajun ham, can sometimes be substituted for Andouille, but if combined in a main dish, it may not offer the distinct flavors of Andouille and may also add too much of a smoky flavor to the food. Andouilettes, which are generally 1 inch or less in diameter, are smaller versions of Andouille sausage.

Andouille Sausage
Bauerwurst Sausage

A plump, mildly flavored sausage that is often served like a hot dog sandwich. Since the sausage is German in origin, it is also a popular accompaniment to sauerkraut.

Blood Sausage

A large link sausage that is typically made of pork, seasoned pork blood, suet, breadcrumbs, and oatmeal, although other ingredients may be added. It is generally precooked, somewhat open textured and dark crimson to black in color. This type of sausage may also be referred to as blood pudding or black pudding as it is in Ireland; however a true blood sausage will have less cereal as an additive, less seasoning, and will always be made with pork blood as an ingredient. Blood sausage can be eaten raw, since it is precooked, or fried, or added to soups, stews, and main dishes.
Blood sausage is produced in a number of different varieties in numerous regions of the world. Germany produces blutwurst, which is made of pig's lungs, chopped bacon, and various seasonings. In Spain, morcilla is a typical blood sausage that contains pig's blood, suet, and seasonings. It is produced as a heavily smoked meat or as a somewhat sweet and spicy meat. A Polish-American version of blood sausage is referred to as kishka, which is made with blood, beef and barley to be served as a breakfast sausage. Other names for this sausage that may be used are kiska, kiske, kishke, kiszka, der ma, and stuffed derma. Since each region has their own version of blood sausage, there will be a wide variety of ingredients used for making the sausage, which will cause it to vary in taste and texture.

Blood Sausage or Kishka
Blutwurst Sausage

A German sausage that is made with ground bits of pork, beef, beef blood, and seasonings. It is a spicy precooked sausage, but it is usually heated again before serving to provide optimum flavor.

Bockwurst Sausage

A type of sausage traditionally made from ground veal and pork (usually more veal than pork), with milk and eggs added, that may be seasoned with chives and parsley. The mixture is finely ground and packed into a thin sheep's casing. German in origin, this sausage is pale in color before being cooked and becomes tan colored after being cooked. Indicative of its light coloring when made fresh, bockwurst is also known as Weisswurst, translated to mean white sausage. Although sold as a partially cooked or smoked sausage, it is typically sold raw or fresh, so it is important that it be thoroughly cooked or smoked before it is eaten. To prepare, heat the sausage in water that is boiling lightly until it is thoroughly cooked, which is typically 10 or 15 minutes. In addition to boiling, it can be fried or grilled, cooking it on all sides until golden brown. If fried or grilled, slit the casing in several locations to allow the casing to expand as it cooks without breaking apart.
To store, keep the fresh sausage refrigerated and use within several days as it is highly perishable and will spoil easily. It is a sausage that goes well with cabbage, sauerkraut, fried potatoes, dark heavy breads, seasoned mustard, and beer.

Bockwurst

Boudin Blanc Sausage

A mildly flavored sausage that can be made with pork, veal, or chicken with the addition of rice as a filler, giving the sausage a pale color. The French version of the sausage includes milk as an ingredient, while a Louisiana version uses additional rice.

Bratwurst Sausage

A type of German sausage made of pork or a combination of pork and veal with spices and herbs. It is usually purchased fresh, so it must be thoroughly cooked before it can be eaten. It is popular when grilled, fried, or broiled.

Bratwurst Sausage
Chaurice Sausage

A type of pork sausage that is Creole/Cajun in origin and has a hot and spicy flavor. Chaurice is popular in Creole/Cajun cooking both as a main dish and as an ingredient in dishes such as gumbo and jambalaya.

Chipolata Sausage

A small highly seasoned pork sausage native to Mexico.

Chorizo Sausage

A coarsely ground dry pork sausage that is heavily seasoned, smoked, and produced into links that range in size from small to jumbo frank. When produced in Mexico, this spicy sausage is uncooked and made from fresh pork. The Spanish product, which is also very spicy, is produced from smoked pork that is dry-cured.

Chorizo Sausage
Cotechino Sausage

An Italian fresh pork sausage that has a creamy, mild flavor. It is usually produced in links under a foot long with a diameter of nearly three inches. Clove and nutmeg seasonings give the sausage a unique flavor. It is often boiled and served with potatoes and beans or added to soups and stews.

Kielbasa Sausage

Often referred to as Polish sausage (which is uncooked), Kielbasa is a precooked smoked sausage that is highly seasoned with ingredients such as garlic and then produced in links or rings that are approximately 1" to 2" in diameter. The traditional kielbasa was most often made only of pork, but it is now produced as a combination of both lean pork and beef or with turkey.

Kielbasa Sausage
Polish Sausage

A type of sausage that is made with processes and ingredients typical of those used to make Poland's "kielbasa" (sausage). It may consist of coarsely chopped pork or a combination of coarsely chopped pork and finely chopped beef, seasoned with garlic, pepper, nutmeg, and possibly mace. The ingredients are mixed thoroughly, packed in a casing, dried, and then smoke-cured. The Polish sausage available in many food stores today may range from bratwurst that is 7 inches long to a ring of sausage that is almost 24 inches long. Precooked Polish sausage can be served as an appetizer or mixed into other food ingredients, while other non-cooked varieties require cooking on a grill or in an oven before serving.

Kolbase Polish Sausage

Kielbasa Polska Sausage

Turkey Bratwurst

A sausage made with ground turkey and a combination of several spices, such as caraway, nutmeg, and ginger. Traditional bratwurst, which is German in origin, is made with pork and veal. Turkey bratwurst is a popular alternative to traditional bratwurst because of its low fat content. It is most often available fresh, so it must be well cooked before it is served. Turkey bratwurst is best when it is grilled, fried, broiled, or baked.

Turkey Bratwurst
Turkey Sausage

A variety of lean sausage made from turkey meat and a mixture of fat, salt, and seasonings. A variety of sizes are available ranging from small link size portions to rings of sausage measuring approximately 12 inches in length. Turkey sausage is produced in various flavors, such as smoked, Italian, or hot and spicy, and may be available as cooked or uncooked meat. It can be served in sandwiches, soups, chili, on pizza, with pasta, in stratas, or with a variety of other types of foods.

Turkey Sausage

Cooking Sausage

Poaching | Pan Frying | Grilling

If cooking fresh sausages, it is best to poach them for a few minutes before cooking to ensure that they will get fully cooked without the outer layer becoming over done. Once they have been poached, cook them in the same manner as the precooked sausages. Do not pierce the sausages until after they have been poached, too much of the fat may escape while poaching, causing the sausages to be dry.

Poaching
Poaching is a good method to use to precook fresh sausages before finishing the cooking process with another method, such as frying, grilling or broiling.
To poach fresh sausage, bring water in a sauce pan to a boil and then add the uncooked sausages.
Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cover. Cook for approximately 10 minutes and then finish cooking and browning them by frying, grilling or broiling.


Pan Frying
Sausages can be cooked using the pan-frying method. If they are precooked sausages, they can be placed in an unheated frying pan and cooked until nicely browned and heated to an internal temperature of 140°F.
Place sausages in an unheated frying pan. Add a small amount of oil or pierce the casing of the sausage to allow the sausages to release some of their own fat while they are cooking.
Fry sausages on medium low heat until all sides are evenly browned. If sausages were not pierced when cooking began, pierce the casing while frying to prevent casings from splitting open.
If they are fresh sausages, it is best to poach them for a few minutes before frying to ensure that they will get fully cooked without the outer layer becoming over done. Once they have been poached, fry them in the same manner as the precooked sausages. Do not pierce the sausages until after they have been poached and are in the frying pan, otherwise too much of the fat may escape while poaching, causing the sausages to be dry.

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Grilling Sausage
Sausage requires direct heat to seal the outside and indirect heat to allow the sausage to cook thoroughly to the center. Sear with Direct heating, continue with Indirect fire until done. To be safe, poach uncooked sausage before placing on grill.