Sausage 101

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Sausage originated from a long-standing method of preserving meat as a means to get the most out of animal parts that might otherwise be less than appetizing. Every country has dozens of sausage varieties made with meat, fat, and fillers; Germany alone has over 1200 varieties and it comes in many shapes, flavors, and forms.

Following is a partial list of major types:

Cooked sausages – fully cooked and usually poached. They need refrigeration and can be served hot or cold.

  • Blood sausage (black pudding/boudin noir) – pig, cow, duck, goat, sheep blood cooked with meat, fat, potato, or other fillers.
  • Bockwurst – ground veal and pork flavored with white pepper, paprika, chives, or parsley; may include milk and eggs.
  • Bratwurst – pork or veal with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and lemon zest; usually served grilled.
  • Hot dogs (frankfurters) – pork, beef, chicken or turkey seasoned with salt and paprika.
  • Knockwurst (knackwurst) – ground veal, ground pork, beef, and/or garlic in hog casings.
  • Morcilla – blood sausage, salted with rice or onion as filler.
  • Weisswurst – white in color, minced veal and bacon and may be seasoned with parsley, lemon, mace, onions, ginger, or cardamom.

Cooked smoked sausages – cooked and then smoked, or slow cooked while smoking. They are served hot or cold, and need refrigeration.

  • Braunschweiger – beef, veal, or pork liver, usually smoked.
  • Kielbasa – lean pork with pepper, allspice, coriander, and garlic.
  • Liverwurst – at least 30 percent pork liver mixed with other meats; black pepper, marjoram, allspice, thyme, mustard seed, or nutmeg; usually spreadable.
  • Mettwurst – similar to liverwurst and ready to eat.
  • Mortadella – heat-cured pork, seasonings may include black pepper, myrtle berries, nutmeg, pistachios, jalapenos, or olives.

Raw sausages – made from ground spiced meats, comes in bulk or link, and must be cooked before eating.

  • Breakfast sausage – fresh, usually pork; beef, poultry, or vegetarian now available; often smoked, bulk or links.
  • Merguez – beef or lamb stuffed in lamb casings flavored with harissa, sumac, fennel, and garlic.
  • Mexican Chorizo – fresh pork with chiles, cinnamon, and oregano.
  • Pork sausage – fresh pork ground with salt, sugar, pepper, sage; may be smoked.

Dry sausages – made from raw meats, cured, fermented, air-dried, and formed in a casing. They are eaten cold and when unsliced kept at cool room temperature.

  • Guanciale – unsmoked bacon made with pig jowls and cheeks, and rubbed with salt, sugar, pepper, thyme, fennel, and sometimes garlic; aged for three weeks.
  • Lap Cheong – sweet dried pork.
  • Linguica – pork, smoked, garlic, spicy, must be cooked to serve.
  • Pepperoni – pork, hard and chewy.

¢Salami – pork or beef, less commonly goose, venison, poultry, and, in Japan, shark.

  • Spanish Chorizo – pork, pork fat, red pepper, smoked paprika, and salt.
  • Teewurst – beef, pork, and bacon, smoked, mild and a little sour in flavor.
  • Weisswurst or white sausage – veal sausage, served warm.

Do you have a favorite? We’d love to hear.