HOW TO MAKE SAUSAGES
FRESH AND FERMENTED
A wide variety of sausages are produced in countries throughout the world. Most are produced
from meat (especially pork and beef) but in some countries, fish sausages are also popular.
Vegetarian and vegan sausages are available in some countries, made from tofu, nuts, pulses,
mycoprotein, soya protein, vegetables or combinations of these ingredients. Some are shaped,
coloured and flavoured to resemble the taste and texture of meat, whereas others have the
flavour of the spices and vegetables and do not attempt to imitate meat. Sausage meat is
ground, often spiced, meat usually sold without a casing. It may be formed into patties,
stuffed into poultry, sold as slices cut from a block of pressed meat and fried, or used for
wrapping foods such as Scotch eggs. It is also encased in puff pastry to make sausage rolls.
This technical brief focuses on meat sausages.
Sausages are ground seasoned meats, stuffed into casings. They are made from any edible
part of a veterinary-inspected animal, together with a variety of non-meat ingredients. Changes
to the formulation of ingredients, particle size of the meat, processing methods and processing
conditions produce the wide variety of sausages that are found. Different types of sausages
may be grouped into fresh and fermented (or ‘cured’) sausages. Fresh sausages have a
relatively short shelf life and must be kept under refrigeration (by chilling or freezing) until
they are cooked by the consumer by frying, boiling or baking immediately before consumption.
Fermented sausages are made from cured meats that are not heat processed, and they are
divided into semidry and dry sausages. The use of curing salts, the increased acidity from the
fermentation, plus for some types, additional preservation due to drying and/or smoking,
enable these sausages to be stored without refrigeration and they may be consumed without
Production of fresh sausages
Examples of fresh sausages include braunschweiger, liver sausage, siskonmakkara, cervelat,
blood sausage (or ‘black pudding’), saveloy, wuerstel, jagdwurst, weißwurst and breakfast
sausage. ‘Hot dogs’ are very finely ground meat paste that may also be smoked or boiled in
brine. Precooked sausages such as Kochwurst, Saumagen and Blutwurst are made with cooked
meat but may also include raw organ meat. They have a shelf life of a few days at refrigerator
temperatures. There are also sausages that are named after the region in which they have been
traditionally produced (e.g. Morteau in France, Cumberland and Lincolnshire in UK, morcilla
de Ronda in Spain, toruńska (from Toruń) in Poland, and Sremski kulen (after the region of
Srem in Serbia). Some of these areas are seeking Protected Designation of Origin for their
sausages so that they can only be made in that region to an attested recipe and quality
standards. In Latin and South America there are many types of sausages, with slight regional
variations of each recipe: for example, morcilla or relleno (blood sausage) and salchichas
(similar to hot dogs). In North Africa, Merguez is made with beef flavoured with a wide range
of spices, such as paprika, Cayenne pepper, or hot chilli that gives it a red colour. It is stuffed
into lamb casings, and grilled or sun-dried and used to add flavour to other dishes. In South
Africa, traditional sausages are known as boerewors (farmer’s sausage), made from game
animals and beef, mixed with pork or lamb and with a high fat content. They can be either
fresh or dry-cured.
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